“The fourth trimester meant recovering and understanding more than the physical labour of birth and focusing on the emotional labour which is the ebb and flow of a new maternal life.” My words, from an article I wrote for the Irish Times in July. “Parenthood will change you. It’s almost an affliction that rewires the internal mechanisms of your body and brain. Like a sometimes-instant switch, automatically flicked, when your baby takes their first breath.
My recovery was a long eighteen months combining so many actions on a daily basis to keep my head flying higher than the flamingo. What did I do?
I was once asked, on the radio no less to thousands of listeners, to describe what anxiety feels like. Where do you start? Anxiety isn’t simply a nervousness that makes you indecisive. I’m sure I’ll list off how I was feeling and any woman who has suffered will nod in agreement. It’s painful, physically painful. There is nausea, headaches and dizzy spells aside from the mental overload. It feels hopeless and it can pass before it hits you hard again. The lull and low of anxiety didn’t affect me all the time but it sure did like to linger and attack quickly.
Something transpired out of motherhood, rising from the ashes like a giant pink flamingo. It probably began earlier than I care to admit, but a few weeks after Devin was born, my focus was gone, my routine and schedule, all fragmented and I suddenly felt this overwhelming urge to blow up. It was less to do with the fact that we had a five-week-old baby and more to do with the extreme possibility I was suffering from intense postnatal anxiety and depression.
I haven’t been the best blogger lately have I? I used to feel guilty over having 4+ weeks gap between posts but I’ve a new lease of life lately and my number one rule is to attempt to get rid of the guilt which likes to creep in and hover of my head and every decision I make. On top of that, I find I either haven’t had time or a good enough topic to write about and god forbid I start repeating myself. I have, however, found myself connecting with parents over on Instagram as we share the load of this miraculous and sometimes incredulous life that is parenthood. If you haven’t joined me in my very many random conversations then please do pop over but for today, lets talk about Momma Bear in all her bare naked glory.