I’d began to start my life as a hermit, and my family were starting to notice. They kept telling me to get out, even if it’s just a walk to the shop. This was the time that I decided, I wouldn’t let anyone see how bad I was feeling. It was time to start the show!
My mother had been taking my little girl for walks, as I made the excuse I had too much to do at home. There was washing – only the one load, but still. There were dishes to be cleaned – only the one dish from my breakfast cereal, but still. You get my point. I basically made work for myself, just so I wouldn’t have to go outside.
It absolutely killed me that my little girl was not with me, but my anxiety for leaving the house was far greater than my postnatal depression at this point. I felt like my day was a battle between the two.
I’ll give you a little breakdown of exactly how I was feeling at this point…
Postnatal depression – Could not leave my girl out of my sight. Am I doing something wrong? What if she doesn’t love me? Devastation that my body was not the same as it used to be. I found it very difficult to even get out of bed in the morning. As soon as I sit on the settee, I felt like I could live in that one spot for the rest of my life.
Anxiety – I couldn’t even put the bins by the front door, let alone go for a walk to the shop… with people! A rush of panic every single time there was a knock on the door that I wasn’t expecting. Every single time my girl whimpered or cried, I ran to her. In utter panic that something bad was going to happen.
You can see how much of a struggle these both were! Especially trying to hide them from my family and friends.
Talking of friends, this is what helped me leave the house. My best friend was home for a little while from travelling abroad, and she had organised a night out locally. Only 5 minutes up the road, I could have literally walked home after a few glasses of wine. There were only a few close friends, and it was a Sunday night. So I assumed it would be quite quiet. My mother had arranged to look after the baby at my home, as my partner was working. I couldn’t say no to this. If I had, then they would know there was something wrong. So, I got myself dolled up and put on my heels. I hadn’t wore make-up in months, so I felt confident. I was a little nervous, but I pushed through it.
Then I got to the front door. I couldn’t move the handle. I run back to the bathroom and looked in the mirror at myself. ‘You can do this’ I whispered at my reflection. Then, I decided I would drive. I couldn’t push myself to have a glass of wine, and if I had the car that would be my excuse. Yes, that’s it! Great. I have a plan. I love a plan.
I got to the pub, and it was quiet. Thank the lord! Everyone had been there around an hour by the time I got there. Stupid anxiety, making me late. They were all tipsy and asking me questions as I hadn’t been out in a very long time. My other friend was pregnant, and asking me questions about life after birth. Like I had always done, I painted a smile on my face and pretended everything was amazing. Gosh, I love my daughter. But it was everything else I was struggling with and I couldn’t tell them that. I was always the strong one of the group.
Then my friends asked about the emotions, and if I’d had any postnatal depression after my girl was born. What did I do… I lied! Painted a perfect picture of the darling housewife, taking my baby out on shopping trips with my other friends, days out as a family. This never happened. Like my previous blog, I was loving a routine life at home. No new experiences welcome.
I panicked, and pretended my phone was ringing. Explained I had to leave as the baby was unwell, and that was that. I was home in my pyjamas, with my baby girl in my arms within 20 minutes.
I spent the rest of the night looking on social media, seeing the amazing night my friends were having. I cried myself to sleep that night. Why did I feel like this? Just stop already. Snap out of it!
I didn’t leave the house for a while after that. But it did give me the confidence to walk to my local shop, and actually talk to a person.
This was my first step to getting back to normal, right? Well, I hoped it was. I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I was struggling.