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Can you have depression and be a good mother?

(48 Posts)
MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 19:34:35

Because I do and am not.

My baby has just screamed for 3 hours straight and refuses to sleep despite being exhausted. I changed her, fed her, changed her again, tried soothing her; nothing has worked.

I am exhausted. She's in her jumper right now playing quietly by herself while I contemplate jumping out the window. I have no energy and can't even talk to her I'm so upset.

She is a beautiful, bright, lovely little baby. She has so much love. I feel like she'll be better off without me. I know my Dh would have lots of family/friend support if I were to leave. He's an amazing dad. My MIL is awesome. I have an aunt and uncle who can't have children and they'd be amazing parents.

I am just not good enough for her.

KatyPeril Wed 27-Mar-13 19:37:24

I used to think that way too. Have you spoken to a doctor? It's completely normal to be exhausted with a tiny baby. Please don't be so hard on yourself. xxx

MsAkimbo I've had similar thoughts to these. Children can cope with a parent with depression. But kids who's parents jump out the window don't do well, even with lots of other family. You're the person she needs. You're her mother. You're clearly not well now, but depression is an illness that can be treated. Have you spoken to anyone about your depression? GP/HV/friend/DH. You can get better from this and be the kind of mother you want to be. Take care and be kind to yourself, and if these thoughts stay ring the Samaritans 08457 90 90 90. They're really good. I know cos I have spoken to them myself.

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 19:44:06

I have. Am currently on the waitlist for a counsellor.

She's 8mo, and I have yet to feel like I know what the fuck I'm doing as a parent. Every time she cries it feels like a knife in my heart. I lose it.

I used to work in childcare and was a crusty, mean old cunt. Now I'm a mother and I can't even care for my own baby. She deserves so much more than this.

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 19:46:59

Thank you Colouring.

Everyone keeps telling me it'll get better.

It probably will, once my husband leaves me and finds someone who will be the mother my baby deserves.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Wed 27-Mar-13 19:56:18

It is very hard coping with depression.

To sme extent all parents have to fake it at times.

If you hold her and cuddle her and sing, that will be ok for today.

It is so so easy to compare ourselves unfavourably to a perfect image, but think about those babies with mothers who don't care at all about whether they are doing a good job. You are carng enough to post, to ask, to see your doctor, to try.

You are doing all the practical things too like nappies and feeding and Trying to soothe her.

Can you call someone now to offload your feelings? Or get our DH to come and help?

Your baby loves you x

Pozzled Wed 27-Mar-13 19:59:42

Yes, you can be a good mother. You ARE a good mother. I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but she adores you.

I had a hard time with pnd when DD2 was about 8 or 9 months, I wanted to just walk out on my family and not come back, I thought I was a failure as a mother and as a person. A year on, I am in a much, much better place.

The things that really helped me were counselling, antidepressants (is that an option for you?I ) and talking to friends who had been through similar.

Please do keep talking, here or to people IRL. Have you told your GP that you've thought about suicide?

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:06:41

I did call my Dh.

"It'll be fine" is his theme song.

He's such a great dad. My baby lights up when she sees him come home.

I wouldn't be shocked or blame my Dd if she hated me. I am the worst mother.

It's hard work being a mother - there's no getting away from that. Are you able to be open with your DH about how you're feeling? When did you last see your GP if it was more than 2 weeks ago maybe its worth going back?

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:08:20

I seem to be a step late even on here. Sorry.

I am on antidepressants. I have been since I was 12.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Wed 27-Mar-13 20:10:36

Are you being looked after by the MH team? I think if you are having suicidal thoughts it would be good to call them. If not them perhaps your GP.

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:13:18

I have called. I have an appointment soon.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Wed 27-Mar-13 20:19:25

Is your DH going to be home soon?

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:22:11

He's on his way.

Thank you all for the replies. It's appreciated to know I'm not alone.

That's great Mrs you're taking action to get help - and as yellowand says you do care - otherwise you wouldn't be posting here. That's a good start. Sorry to hear you've been on ADs since you were 12, you've obviously had some really tough times. But you can get better and you're already looking for help. Hang in there. Have you got long to wait for the appointment? Is there anyone in real life you can offload to before then?

Ah Mrs you're so not alone, sadly so many women suffer with PND/depression. And get better from it. But I know when you're in the middle of it it feels like it will never end. Those sort of thoughts are one of the horrible parts of this illness, but they're not to be believed. Glad to hear your DH is on his way.

Shakey1500 Wed 27-Mar-13 20:29:47

Oh you're SO not alone MsAkimbo. I know it feels like it a lot of the time but truly you are not. You simply ARE a good mother for already taking steps to get well. Try not to forget that it is an illness, not a choice. And sometimes the only thing we can do is get through the next second, the next minute, hour, day. And every time you do that, it is an achievement, a step nearer. And not only that, it's a bloody hard achievement. Yet you're doing it.

At THIS minute your DD is happy. That's brilliant. But you must be honest with your DH and everyone at the MH team.

I remember thinking my DH was utter pants when I was in the depths. It was the only way he could cope, by pretending that everything would "be fine".

Get through tonight, minute by minute, as best you can. I'm sending you lots of anonymous love.

I know these words may seem hollow but it can get so much better. Wishing you all the luck in the world thanks

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:29:50

It's about 2 weeks from now.

I do, sort of, have people to talk to. It's just hard to admit in RL that you're a bad mother and wish you were dead.

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 20:32:52

Ah Shakey Thank you so much. x

You can just say you're feeling really low, you're finding things really tough at the moment and take it from there. Just wondered if your GP adjusted your meds at all when you went, or felt that counselling would be more helpful. I have just started counselling and its definately helping. Hang in there. As shakey says keep going and be honest. Take care.

clippityclop Wed 27-Mar-13 20:54:39

The fact that you had the guts to come here and share is fantastic. I've been in a very similar place and one of the things that helped most was a very matter of fact doctor drawing a diagram explaining that this PND stuff is just chemicals, nothing to do with your personality or any choice you've made. There are some practical things you can do to help you feel more in control - get out in the fresh air for a walk, keep hydrated, eat well even if you don't feel like it, B complex supplements. It'll pass, it really will, and you'll be stronger for it. Keep posting here, you're not alone.

MsAkimbo Wed 27-Mar-13 21:19:54

Thank you all again x

My Dr keeps telling me "I know myself best." I really don't feel I do.

Pumble Wed 27-Mar-13 22:13:13

You ARE a good mother. You wouldn't be on here if you weren't. You are the best thing for your daughter. I know it can seem so lonely but the fact that your daughter was happily bouncing away shows that she is happy and that is because of you.

In December, I was where you are now, but with amazing support from people on MN and 'Mr Pumble', I am enjoying my girls again. I'm not going to lie, there are still ups and downs but things are so, so much better.

I found (and still find) the thread I started so wonderful, and so helpful. Talking on here really helped me, as talking to friends in RL was a step too far. Keep talking, whether it's here or in RL.

Take each day, one minute at a time. I still do that now and when I get to the end of the day, as long as I have two girls asleep in bed at some point, it's a success!!

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 03:17:39

Thanks again all x

Got some good sleep last night. Hoping for a better day...

Shakey1500 Thu 28-Mar-13 06:33:24

Oh that's good,glad you got some decent sleep. A problem shared and all that. Hope today is a brighter one for you. How was Dh? Did you feel able to talk to him?

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 08:06:48

He was wonderful. We talked a lot; I said a lot of things I had never told him before that likely needed to be said.

He is a very logical, facts first thinker so having his perspective is often vastly different from mine.

We also made a mini "list" of things that trigger these feelings I have.

Pumble Thu 28-Mar-13 11:58:40

Glad you had some good sleep and had a good talk with your husband. His support will be invaluable. Keep talking. smile

clippityclop Thu 28-Mar-13 19:10:48

You and your husband sound like a great team. Really glad you had some good sleep, hope it's the same tonight. flowers

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 19:40:17

Sadly it's been horrible tonight. I'm beginning to see a patter at least...

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 19:41:23


Shakey1500 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:55:00

What pattern have you seen MsAkimbo? We're all still here for you if it helps.

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:01:35

It does thanks

She seems to be miserable...until Dad gets home.

Hi MsAkimbo I remember both my DCs being seriously grotty after around 5pm when they were very little. I would be counting down the minutes til DH would be home - when yes they would pick up. It's a dad thing confused. There's a good reason many mums call the hour around 6pm "the witching hour" and that's without PND thrown in. Try and be kind to yourself.

weegiemum Thu 28-Mar-13 20:13:58

I was treated for depression for approx 11 years.

I'm an awesome mum! (See, the therapy helped!!)

grin weegiemum!

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:16:40

Thank you for the replies. This really does help and I'm glad I posted the thread. I was really scared at first.

It also seems as though she's trying to crawl...could that contribute to fussing?

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:18:28

Weegiemum, did you have pre-existing depression before you had children?

Lucyellensmum95 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:30:06

So, there is a pattern - that means you can make a plan. Lets be logical, she is 8m old so is not crying because she wants daddy home now. She loves you, but is with you all day so when daddy comes in, maybe its the whole "change is as good as a rest" thing. So could it be that she is just getting over tired by this time? Could it be teething? Colic? I think its likely to be one of those things rather than her not wanting to be with you.

You sound like lots of other mums feel with a young baby - it is so so hard. What time does your DH come in? Does he take over - could you go and have a bath when he comes home - give yourself a break.

One thing i do know - you absolutely CAN be a good mother with depression (i know, im a good mother and i have depression) You are a good mother simply becaues you care. I have lost count of the times i have begged my DP to find my DD a new mum sad But I am her mum and she wants ME, just as your DD wants you. I have had a really shite couple of weeks (a sort of mini breakdown) and I have been shouty and withdrawn from my DD (she is 7), i felt like i wanted to leave (die even) Today, she said to me "mummy, i love you, you're the best mum in the world" Now i know i haven't been a great mum this week, but my DD still thinks im the best thing since sliced bread. One day, your little girl is going to say something like that to you.

Could you try those Nelsons teething powders? Just a thought, they used to really soothe my DD. You know, its OK to put a screaming baby down for a short time and distract yourself - a cold drink? Stand at the back door and get some air - wash your face, anything really.

It sounds like you are actually doing a really grand job.

Do you have a plan in place to protect yourself - if you feel really bad? Do you have a number for the CMHT? I have a 24 hour helpline number (on my phone - i think, dp put it on there for me) if i feel suicidal. Or there is the samaritans or A&E. I was told to ring any of those at any time.

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 20:46:48

Aw Lucyellen sad as awful as that is, thank you for sharing it. I often tell my Dh that he'd be better off without me, to take Dd to my MIL, or have said "Mr. and Mrs. X would be a great family for DD."

DH is awesome, when he's home, he takes her and I am free to have a break. The trouble is, he often works late and is about 45 mins away from home.

Currently we're in a flat and it feels as though all my neighbours are listening to her scream. I swear someone came and listened outside the door. Every time I hear a siren I think people are coming to take her away.

She is definitely teething. I tried the teething powder and she threw it up. She's been teething for months. First one in playgroup to start teething. All the babies have teeth but her sad

Shakey1500 Thu 28-Mar-13 21:17:41

ALL children do this. You are familiar to her, she spends most of her time with you. The minute they see someone different from who they've been with all day, their interest piques. It's everything to do with being a child (and yes, likely a teething child) and nothing to do with who you are OR your abilities as a mother.

I really struggled when DS was a baby/toddler. And as soon as Dad came home it was like a personality switch! I was very much "Ermmm excuse me? I've done everything for you today, he's done diddly. Yet I'm the one who gets the grizzles and he's the one who gets the cute smiles? WTF?"

But you know, it's great in a big way. It's because she loves you unconditionally and is so secure in your company that she feels able to express all her emotions, even the sad ones. And that proves to me that you are doing a fab job.

I also remember reading (lots!) the old phrases "It will get better" and thinking "Yes, that's all very well but WHEN? Give me a date please so that I have a light at the end of a tunnel". But it's true, it really does. The other thing that helped was understanding the "pick your battles" phrase. Once I'd let up on trying to be so bloody perfect and expecting DS to be the same, it was like a ton of bricks being taken from my shoulders.

For what it's worth, I suffered particularly bad depression before DS was born. Am 100% certain I had PND but for valid reasons I did not go to my GP (I'm not saying this is wise for everyone). Five years on I am in a happier place. I will never be the perfect Mum, no one ever is. But I can be the best mum I can be under changing circumstances.

If any of that makes sense?!

MsAkimbo Thu 28-Mar-13 22:07:16

Shakey That sounds just like me atm.

I wish more people were honest about their days with a baby. I have decided to stop going onto facebook because if I see another picture of a happy baby and a mum with make up doing a Pinterest craft in a clean house I may crawl into bed and hide until DD is about 8.

Oh MsAkimbo I'm completely with you on Facebook - it can be seriously unhelpful a LOT of the time wink Hope you're OK today.

MsAkimbo Fri 29-Mar-13 19:42:52

Doing a lot better today. We had a fun day with friends and Dh is cuddling with Dd smile Moments like these...

Thats great smile

Shakey1500 Tue 02-Apr-13 20:17:24

How are things MrsAK? Hope you had a good Easter smile

lagoonhaze Tue 02-Apr-13 20:20:46

"I know my Dh would have lots of family/friend support if I were to leave. He's an amazing dad. My MIL is awesome. I have an aunt and uncle who can't have children and they'd be amazing parents"

Use that support as your support. Let them help and care to you too.

MsAkimbo Tue 02-Apr-13 21:03:36

Hi all,

It was good! It was the Monday that everything went to hell. Her "schedule" if she ever had one has been all thrown off because we were visiting family and even though we told everyone she has a bedtime, it was constantly ignored. It doesn't help that my family is VERY overwhelming for an adult, so my poor little baby was knackered by the end of the night.

I've been up at 3 am twice in a row now. Dh has been helping me out when she wakes up in the middle of the night, but she gives him just as hard a time, if not worse, because he can't lactate. He went to work today absolutely miserable.

MsAkimbo Tue 02-Apr-13 21:42:22

Oh missed that last one lagoon

This will be a tough week as MIL is working FT hours this week and Aunt and Uncle are on holidays visiting family.

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