Through the lens of her motherhood .. as told through the eyes and heart of Bróna English…
… So I’m writing this post not sure why or what I plan to achieve from doing so but nothing ventured nothing gained…
My beautiful, and most wanted baby boy was born on the 30th of December 2016. Although, I did not enjoy pregnancy due to a million and one complications one thing I knew I was so excited to become a Mammy. So rumour has it if you have a tough pregnancy you’ll have an easy birth… well whoever said that to me you’re lucky I can’t remember. I had hoped for the “perfect natural vaginal birth” but things didn’t go to plan. Long story short after a 3 day induction Oisín was born at 15.56 by emergency c-section. Of course I loved him, sure I loved him the minute I heard his heart beat at his 6 week scan. Yes, I was emotional. However, this instant gush of love or bond I had expected didn’t happen. As I was being stitched back up my wonderful husband had Oisín all to himself. Bitter sweet as I believe those precious moments alone were the making of the best daddy he could ask for.
Once I was brought to the recovery room I was asked to feed Oisín but he didn’t want to latch. The nurses took his blood sugar levels and with a blink of an eye he was rushed off for close monitoring. I was brought back to my room and my family arrived. Apparently, my dad bounded up 2 steps at time but he just wanted to make sure I was ok. Finally, after what felt like an eternity my baby was brought to my beside and I got to count his fingers and toes! Not long after my family and husband left a nurse checked Oisín’s blood sugars and they had dropped again. She whisked him away, where he spent 2 nights in special care. Now, don’t get me wrong I know there are mothers and babies in worse situations than us. However, from the beginning I felt like a failure.
If I am honest the new born phase is a blur. I had the best baby fed 4 hourly, he barely cried and he brought joy to everyone around him except me. Unfortunately, my dream of breast feeding him never really became a reality. I had imagined having this amazing journey and a special bond but unfortunately he wouldn’t latch even after having his tongue tie rereleased. I exclusively pumped for 6 weeks until I decided I was too much of am emotional wreck to continue. For myself and my baby I needed to develop some kind of normality that wasn’t me feeling like a cow who couldn’t leave the barn for more than an hour!… Although ending this journey was my decision I still had doubts. I felt I was failing as the “perfect mother” and should have persevered for longer.
As the weeks went on things didn’t improve. I had and still have the most amazing support network (Will post about who they are another day) yet I still felt awful!… I would then feel guilty for feeling that way and beat myself up then feel even worse. I would cry at the smallest thing, snap or bite someone’s head off for no reason, say horrible and nasty things that I didn’t mean. I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore… and I am still trying to figure that one out. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I would get flashbacks and couldn’t sleep. I lacked confidence, self esteem and felt like a terrible mother. Enough was enough and with the encouragement and support of my husband and my mam I went to my G.P I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress and post natal depression. I was started on medication and with the help of family and friends a holiday to Spain I began to have a somewhat normal life. Things were good. I made new friends, met up with old friends, started crafting (never again!!!), went to playgroups. I began enjoying Oisín and life again!
￼After six months I was weened off the medication. I thought I felt good and was determined to back to work. I returned back to work working less hours. Things were manageable at first. My mam was minding Oisín and I told myself I just needed to develop a routine. However, as time went by my anxiety began to spiral, my confidence as a nurse had reached an all time low and I questioned my ability daily. I would put on a brave face but inside I was screaming. On the worst days/nights I would go cry in the bathroom. With over 10 years experience I knew this wasn’t me. At home I was panicking over silly things, loosing my patience, obsessing over cleaning but no energy or motivation to do it or anything, my flashbacks and nightmares (if I managed to sleep) came back with a bang, my confidence as a mother was shot, I had become that nasty short tempered person again. I felt so alone (sometimes I still do) but I would make excuses not to meet friends and stay in my pyjamas all day. I hated myself and felt the world was better off without me. At one point I walked out on my husband and baby and drove to the Blessington lakes. I came home that night and starred at a rake of tablets but I couldn’t bring myself to take them not because I am weak, because I AM STRONG, I AM NOT A FAILURE, I AM NOT POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND I WILL OVERCOME THIS.
I spoke with my husband and the next day we went to the doctor. I was re-started on medication and sleeping tablets. I was referred to a mental health team. I am under the care of a psychiatrist and a nurse comes out to my house twice a week. My medication dose has been trippled!! I go for counselling weekly, have joined a yoga class and I make myself get up and get out of the house every day. I have asked for help from family and friends. I might look like I am ok but I am scared, I am vulnerable, I feel I am failing as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, nurse and friend. I don’t know who I am anymore every day us a struggle. However, one thing is for sure I know Oisín needs his mammy and I won’t give up on him. I love him with all my heart. Our bond is growing and it needs nurturing.
If you got this far thanks for reading. I criticise and judge myself enough so please don’t comment negatively. There is enough stigma around mental health and PND. Although you can’t see my illness I am still hurting the same as someone with a visible scar. I am having a lot more good days and they say time is a healer so there is hope for me! I never in a million years thought I would suffer with Post natal depression but it affects 1 in 7 Irish women. So if you are going through or have gone through something similar and you would like to chat send me a message Ill always have an open ear. Don’t be ashamed and seek help.
Thanks again for reading.
Snap Happy Mammy