Louisa Claire

2008 in review.

We had a baby this year, and we bought a house. I transitioned from being employed in a church and studying part time to being a full-time stay at home wife and mum. I went from a world of people to the world of an infant.

I’ve done my best to be honest with you about my experience of this but I guess it’s time for me to confess. No it’s not time for me to confess, it’s that I am now ready to confess. I haven’t been completely honest with you. I couldn’t. It was too hard to talk about, to hard to admit, to hard to really know how to deal with it.

I love my daughter to bits and am so incredibly thankful that I am able to be home with her to raise her but there was a time when I really struggled.

Before LP was born I was told by countless midwives that 80% of new mums experience some form of post-natal depression. Ok, the ‘some form of’ is my words. They just told me 80% get PND.

Not me I thought. I’m not the depressed type.

Though I did get depression last year when the beautiful Amy died and work was crap, and I did spend a few months seeing an psychologist, it was circumstances…not chemicals.

Well, hello? What’s having a baby if not ‘circumstances’!

Yes folks, this is my confession. I got a bit down during the year and struggled with reconciling my conflicting emotions – loving my baby, loving being a mum & being so thankful for the chance to be at home with my girl, at the same time as feeling completely isolated, lonely and sad. I found it very hard to acknowledge to any person (except the wonderful HH) but I did find my own form of therapy in writing it down.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to take a break from the blog-world and concentrate on having a holiday with my beautiful family. During that time I will be posting my reflections on this darker side of 2008 with you.

Please be kind to me, it’s just another part of this journey. A side I am now ready to share.

Happy New Year.
God Bless,

P.S. I have returned to these posts a few months after the fact and hesitated about posting them. This season was short lived for me but for the couple of months that I experienced it was very real. I don’t claim to have really suffered from PND though I do realise it rears its ugly head in many different forms. That said for the months of August, September and some of October I experienced feelings of lonliness, exhaustion and isolation like never before. It was a dark and scary place to be as it was so contrary to my normal disposition, such unfamiliar territory. To not share about it here would be to deny a very real part of becoming a Mum for many women. The very big upside is…I’m all good now!

Thoughts on “2008 in review.

  1. I’d just like to comment on “I don’t claim to have really suffered from PND though I do realise it rears its ugly head in many different forms.” I know what you’re trying to say, but depression is depression, whatever it looks like. To say (or suggest), “Yes, I was a bit depressed but I shouldn’t complain about it because other people were more depressed than me” is really unhelpful for you.

    I’ve been depressed; and I have friends who were much more severely depressed than me, and for longer periods of time. That doesn’t mean my experience wasn’t valid – not to mention downright horrible at the time. One of the reasons it took me so long to seek help was that my depression didn’t look like that of other people I know, and therefore I assumed it was nothing and I just needed to try harder and snap out of it. Surprise surprise, that didn’t work… but I think one of the reasons many people don’t seek help, or are ashamed of being depressed, is that we have this idea that severe, debilitating depression is the only REAL depression, and anything else means we’re just a big failure who can’t cope with real life. NOT TRUE!

    This is very much one of my soapbox subjects (as you may be able to tell). Depression is not a weakness, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it absolutely needs to be normalised.

  2. Your post really resonated with me. I went back to work after my first child was born, I told everyone it was because I loved working. Truthfully, it was because I couldn’t cope with caring for my child. I don’t think it was depression exactly, I think it was just such a shock.
    I now have three little ones and surrendered to motherhood when I found out I was pregnant with my third. I embrace (nearly) every moment I have with my children now, but it took a long time to adjust to.
    I work from home now which gives me a great balance.
    Thanks so much for your honesty. Because I know exactly what you mean. xxx

  3. Good on you Lou for beng so open as always. As im there right now, struggling with being a mum and feeling lonley, housebound and tired, i look forward to reading someone elses viewpoints on it.
    Bless you

  4. Thanks for your honesty, I will read what you have to say about 2008 with interest. There’ll be love coming at you from the blogosphere, many of us have grappled with things like this. For me, it was debilitating panic attacks from when I was 8 (yes, 8!) until 28, and it’s still snapping at my heels every now and then even these days.

  5. Oh Lou i am so sorry you felt so alone. I think most woman go through some sort of depression when they become Mom’s and give up their career’s to stay at home to do another equally rewarding career, that of being a nuturor.

    I went through something last year, not sure if it was depression, but where i wanted something of my own. I was jealous of Iain being able to have two lives…a work life and home life…and the fact that he didn’t have to deal with tired kids at the end of the day and do all the mundane stuff that goes with being a stay at home Mom. I felt like i didn’t have anything to show for all the work i was putting in.

    But all off a sudden Keira takes her first step or Nieve sings an entire nursery Rhyme and i think…I DID THAT…and although i’m not earning a salary doing this or getting through projects asigned to me etc i’ve realised that the rewards of seeing my children growing up happy, content and full of fun far outways my needs right now.

    That’s not to say i don’t have my moments when i just feel fed up and just want to scream. I plan to go back to work when both girls are at school, and right now 4 years doesn’t seem too far off.

    Lot’s of love angel

  6. Femina, Thanks for your comment. I think you are right in what you say but I guess I was also on a bit of a journey when I wrote this. I also wonder how much of what I felt was depression and how much was just normal becoming a mother stuff rather than full blown PND? Some of the comments and emails I’ve received since writing all this down is confirming my suspicion that there’s a fair amount of overlap!

    Sarah, thanks for stopping by and for commenting. We are so lucky to live in a time and world where working from home is possible and rewarding!! Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone!

    Em, it’s hard to talk about the struggles esp when having a baby is something so longed for (well that’s my experience anyway) but please don’t ever feel that you’ll be judged and if you ever want to talk…I’m here! When I’m back in town I’m so coming over to give you some time to yourself! (or whatever it is that you need!)

    Givinya, I guess we all have our crosses to bear but gee it’s wonderful to have friends walking the path with us – yay for blogland!

    Hey Lolls, i totally hear you! It’s sooo rewarding and exciting to see them develop and yet it can be so isolating too!! All these comments have really got me thinking, if we all feel like this and go through this…why don’t we feel we can talk about it?? Lots of love to you, you are a fantastic mum!!

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