Being honest and open is one thing I try to stay true to as a blogger. I write with my heart on my sleeve which is why you have read about the hardships of my pregnancy, the pregnancy scare we had, the tough days we have as Momma and Papa Bear and my recent spiralling descent into the maddening world of anxiety. If you follow me on social media you’ll know that my honesty is not only on the blog but also on my Facebook page, my Instagram and wholeheartedly on twitter which has become my favourite social media platform. A twitter friend named my anxiety and it’s stuck so let’s talk about this Frickin’ Flamingo and how social media has had an effect on it.
A is three years old. Almost four. She’s strong. She’s passionate. She’s opinionated. She knows what she likes. She makes her own choices. There is not a lot we can do to steer her away from what she chooses. Not that we would want to. She makes eclectic choices and amazes us when something obscure becomes her favourite. She is passionate and loyal to what she chooses and does not forget something she once loved. I sometimes wonder why she makes the decisions she does.
When D was born I was obviously in no condition to do any household cleaning, tidying or sprucing up. My recovery was long and tedious and I struggled with even the basic of tasks like pulling myself up to get out of bed. But if you know me, you will know how ridiculously stubborn I am. And how much I yearn for a tidy home. It doesn’t necessarily have to be clean, but I do need tidiness. And while I know that sounds ridiculous to some, it’s simply something my brain has to have, otherwise it won’t shut off and I’ll be agitated until the house is back to my standard. Even through the pain, tiredness and frustration of just having had a baby, I had to tidy and clean. Yes, I gave my orders to B and he obliged as much as he could but still I couldn’t stop myself. I need order amongst chaos. And along came Dyson…
Myself and B have been told on a few separate occasions on Twitter that we are #RelationshipGoals which is a pretty damn nice thing to see and hear. Basically, some people out there seem to see us as having a relationship that others should aspire too. I guess we come across quite well on Twitter but more often than not, one or both of us will respond to the tweet by bringing that kudos down a peg or two. We effectively deliberately knock oursleves off that pedestal. We tend to try to reiterate the point that we’re human and have our ups and downs like anybody else. And while this is true, it sort of got me thinking about our relationship and you know what I thought? Well, damn, yes, we are #RelationshipGoals but for one reason and one reason only…
First of all, have you had a baby recently? How are you doing? You? Not your baby, you, Momma Bear. I want to ask about you because I want you to know that you have not been forgotten. In fact, a beautiful woman who would often comment on my Facebook posts, Kathryn, had a baby around the same time as me and I often think about her and wonder how she is doing. You see, when A was born, the reason I missed being pregnant was because, in such a short space of time, everyone stopped asking how I was and focused on the baby. I felt, in a way, left behind as I tried to catch up to this world who graciously accepted and loved my baby into their arms. But it’s normal. Your bump is gone, the pain is no longer written on your face. But it’s still there, nestled in amongst the scars and quiet sighs. But still, we’re somewhat forgotten once the baby starts to hit their milestones and your pregnancy becomes a distant memory.
Lately, my anxiety levels have lessened. Since accepting that I’m suffering from either postnatal depression or anxiety or both since the birth of D – or if I’m honest a little before that – I’ve uncovered a few coping mechanisms that have truly helped. One being, baby wearing. I have recently been using an AmaWrap baby sling and I didn’t realise, but baby wearing has been pivotal in helping me cope with anxiety. Let me tell you how.
It’s taken me until motherhood to realise how important certain friendships are. I can count my friends on my two hands and still have a few fingers left over. But that doesn’t matter. I don’t need a dozen friends around me, I need the ones I have. The ones who matter and the ones I know will always be there. No matter what kind of shit happens in my life, no matter what temporary distance comes between us, no matter how quickly life takes over. There’s still always a place in my life for the friends that matter.
When I started writing Over Heaven’s Hill over a year ago, my aim was to write about how parenthood changed me. Changed my personality, my outlook on life, and my ordinary routines. Over the year, my focus has changed a little and I now write, more freely, about the difficult days, the hardships and the worries we all seem to have when it comes to parenting and how the changes that have occurred in my life are not always welcome. Of course, I write about the good days too, but being honest about how drastic life changes when adding children to the mix is important for me. And hopefully you appreciate my honesty.
Six weeks in to having two children and the pressure of being officially outnumbered has caught up. In one way, being pulled from either side by a toddler who has become increasingly clingy and won’t leave me out of her sight, and a newborn who will cry incessantly until her needs are met, has meant my body and brain has struggled to keep up.
I’ve been blogging somewhat sporadically the last few weeks. Gone is my focus, my routine and my schedule. It’s less to do with the fact that we have a five week old baby and more to do with that fact that a little over two weeks ago I accepted the fact that I was suffering from either anxiety or Postnatal Depression. D was only two weeks old and it had hit me hard. In the beginning I questioned whether it was the baby blues as the pregnancy hormones began to leave my body and sent me into a spiral. But now that I am five weeks postpartum and I’m still experiencing the painful pang of what feels like depression mixed with anxiety and confusion, I realise that I need help. I was nervous about publishing this post because it’s incredibly personal, probably the most personal I’ve written on the blog as it leaves me somewhat vulnerable, but if even one person relates to this post and realises that they too are suffering which then leads them to get help, then this post has been worth publishing.