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One year on - weird cocktail of feelings

(16 Posts)
natsyloo Sat 06-Aug-11 19:02:13


I'm a regular on here and had pretty severe PND after the birth of my DS one year ago. It's taken a long time, support from good friends and family and CBT and ADs to get me back on track. I've felt pretty good for the last 4 months or so.

We celebrated my son's first bday today with lots of family and friends at a teddy bears' picnic in the park. Although I generally feel tons better, and have also set up a group for other mums with PND, I've felt a bit wobbly these past couple of days.

I think the fact it's an anniversary has made me really reflect on the past year, particularly the contrast of feelings I've felt, and the sadness for not feeling how I expected to feel for the first 6 months of motherhood - which were, quite frankly, pretty awful.

This, coupled with the fact my mum has had a big fall out with me and refused to attend my baby's birthday party today has left me feeling a bit low post-event.

Is this normal? Just having a silly irrational fear that it's going to come back. I know as I write this that my CBT will say it's just a panic etc etc but was just looking for reassurance from other mums who've been there :-)

madmouse Sat 06-Aug-11 19:08:01

It's quite a momentous occassion, this first birthday. You have come so far, but you have also lost out on a lot and this is the kind of time when you feel that keenly. This is not how you expected motherhood to start. I've had similar feelings at times and also some fear when looking back how bad I had been (although according to a friend who supported me a lot at the time I have forgotten how bad things were).

I would think that it will all settle down again in a few days. You probably worked yourself up a bit in preparation for the event and may have felt very determined to make it all a really special occassion, making a bit of a downer now very likely. Be gentle with yourself smile

racingmind Sat 06-Aug-11 20:41:30

Its normal to feel sad that your experience of motherhood has been so bittersweet. My son is 9 months, I also have horrible PND and look back over the time since his birth with a lot of regret and know his birthday will be like this for me too. But you sound like you have done brilliantly and you must keep looking forward. None of us asked for depression. How did you set up a support group if you dont mind me asking?

Chocattack Sat 06-Aug-11 22:35:37

I've no experience of PND but do find anniversaries of painful things triggering (death, divorce etc). I think it's normal that a year on from a horrific experience you are reflecting on it. It'll pass. Just congratulate yourself on how far you've come and your achievements.

natsyloo Sun 07-Aug-11 09:23:29

Thank you - makes me feel better.

racingmind - sorry you're going through PND. It's a nasty business. I set a group up working with my local Surestart centre (who provide the venue) and Health Visiting also helped but have now pulled out due to resources :-( I'm pretty resilient when it comes to lobbying (it's part of my job) so I've now got therapy services on board and they're considering supporting with a MH worker.

We have about 6 regulars to the group - it's a real sanctuary...not in any way 'depressing' - we just chill out, chat about our week and drink tea. I'm looking into more longterm funding eventually so we can provide complementary therapies just for treat time for mums - like massage, reiki etc.

Hope you're feeling a bit better racingmind, pm me if you ever need a chat. x

racingmind Sun 07-Aug-11 09:42:15

What an amazing achievement especially when depressed. Silly question- do you bring the babies to the group? I think something like this would help me a lot. I was in a mother and baby unit for a few weeks and one of the only therapeutic things about it was meeting other people who are struggling too. With everyone else I have put on a huge act which is so incredibly exhausting. I have been in a state of anxiety and depression since I got pregnant and the stigma is huge, everyone expects you to be happy or they think you don't want or haven't bonded with your child and all that kind of stuff which really has nothing to do with it.

Anyway i don't want to hijack your thread. You have turned your situation round to do something positive for yourself and others and thats really inspirational.

CharlieBoo Sun 07-Aug-11 21:18:38

Hey Natsyloo, how you feeling today? I remember ds' first birthday, it was a real mix of emotions. So happy to have gotten through the first year, the marvelling at how much he'd developed in a year and the sadness at how I felt when he was born. All of that mixed with falling out with your mum I'm not surprised you feel a bit mixed. You sound like such an amazing lady with all you've been through and a support group! You go girl... Hope you feel better today x

natsyloo Mon 08-Aug-11 13:32:37

Thanks Charlieboo, feeling brighter today thank goodness. Had no sleep at all as baba was up most of the night with a bad cough so am beyond shattered and off work today on mum duty.

Hope you're doing ok too x

Lottieloulou Mon 08-Aug-11 20:18:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

natsyloo Tue 09-Aug-11 09:36:12

Thanks LLL - you're right but it's so hard to be rational when you feel a bit rubbish.

I think it's definitely a wobble but the fact I ddin't sleep at all on Sunday has also magnified it. I also started talking myself into insomnia as I was so worried about not sleeping last night...then ended up getting full blown anxiety in the night and zilch sleep.

The issue with my mum has definitely really affected me. She's very controlling and judgemental and I grew up as a 'people-pleasing yes girl'. Since I've got married and had my own family I've become more assertive and I've paid the price for standing up for myself. We didn't even fall out about anything in particular, I behaved with dignity and was told she was ashamed of me and wouldn't come to her grandson's party.

All very irrational and far too tedious and complex to document here!

Thanks again for your reassuring responses x

Lottieloulou Tue 09-Aug-11 13:31:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

natsyloo Tue 09-Aug-11 14:21:52

Thanks LLL - that's really helpful. Will try and ride that wave rather than panic and paddle against it. Hope you're ok x

madmouse Tue 09-Aug-11 17:32:48

Natsyloo not sure this makes any sense but try not to overthink things. I'm sure you or people close to you have lost loved ones. You fully expect them to be sad, down and thoughtful around special days like anniversaries and birthdays, sometimes for a long time. It's no different when you are remembering a very difficult time in your life, a happy start to motherhood that you never had (I know how that one feels, no PND, PTSD not obvious until ds was 1 year old, but traumatic birth and 3 weeks in NICU/SCBU plus difficult diagnosis) - try to accept how you feel without panicking that this is how you are going to be from now on, because you won't be.

natsyloo Tue 09-Aug-11 19:57:56

Thanks madmouse-you speak a lot of sense. I think the sleep deprivation is exacerbating things and I'll feel better when I'm rested. Thanks for your advice.

scarecrow22 Wed 10-Aug-11 21:56:18

Hi, wobbles as I also call them are very much part of the recovery. I used to worry so much: one day you are getting on with life and have almost forgotten you were depressed, a few minutes later you are teetering over a chasm. It helped me hugely when a friend said that sharper but progressively shorter dips are very much part of recovery; i don't have the doctor's word on this but it has been my experience too. The reassuring bit is (this is my own very in-scientific way of thinking about them) you can think you are able to see and feel the dip because you have so much more positive time to compare it to, unlike perhaps the previous fog of horrible feelings you might have got so used to.

I now use these wobbles to stop and re evaluate what is up. As many have said anniversaries are a very natural time to have memories and anxieties stirred. Also consider have you taken on too much, are you getting enough sleep and fresh air, and are you eating well and making time for yourself occasionally? Meanwhile keep reminding yourself it will pass (CBT), and as you have tell people, talk about your feelings and that will help ride it out. You are brave and wise for the experience, but my heart goes out to you for being in the middle of it.

Take care.

natsyloo Thu 11-Aug-11 09:50:26

Thanks scarecrow22 - you're absolutely right. I'm feeling better after two consecutive nights of good sleep (hurrah). I think sleep deprivation is an acute trigger for all the negative feelings of not being able to cope.

I also remember writing in my little book of heart wearming phrases that recovery is not a smooth ride, but it's the direction of travel that counts. Most reassuring.

Thanks again for all your kind words everyone - it really makes things so much easier to deal with :-)

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