So it happened. I’ve gone completely around the bend. Had a nervous breakdown, got post natal depression, had a meltdown, chucked a wobbly, got myself in a tizzy, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been a bit of a cow and I’m mad. I’ve evidently got mad cow’s disease. So I’m currently in the nut house. Or should I say, “I’m convalescing in a supportive environment whilst I recoup from exhaustion.”
And who wouldn’t be exhausted with newborn twins and a toddler? Who wouldn’t need help under these circumstances? Well, one of my cousins for one managed not to turn into a jibbering mess when she had a two year old plus newborn twins. And in my mind everyone else in these circumstances sailed right on through but not me. At three months I cracked it. I just cried and cried and cried and cried a bit more. My body hurt from trying to settle premi twins that never wanted to sleep. My brain hurt from trying to juggle my three babies. And my heart hurt from feeling like I was failing all three of my children simultaneously. I couldn’t get my twins to settle so I was spending so much time with them that my toddler was missing out. On top of that if one twin had been crying for ninety minutes straight I was so exhausted from dealing with him that I didn’t have time for his brother when he inevitably started his round of crying.
So what did I do? Kept telling the husband that I was exhausted. That I couldn’t cope that I needed help. That I couldn’t do it. He told me to “crack on,” as it was only a tough phase, in a years time it’d all settle down and I just needed to ride the wave. Turns out I don’t know how to surf. Not even body board, or boogie board as it used to be called. Heck I can’t even body surf. To be perfectly honest I don’t even know if I can swim at this stage. (I know what you’re thinking, can she stretch this metaphor any further, surely not, let dead horses lie, don’t whip sleeping dogs, but oh I can stretch it further.) It was like I’d been paddling in a kids wading pool and all of a sudden had been thrown into the middle of the ocean, during a storm at night, with only one oar and nothing else to help me. Sure an oar is useful when there is also a row boat and another oar but when it’s by itself it just drags you down. So my husband’s pep talks, his attempts at blind optimism simply dragged me down further rather than helping me to rise to the occasion. With added support I may very well have been able to rise to the occasion with his encouragement.
But there wasn’t any and I just sank deeper and deeper into depression until when all three of my children got sick (joys of having a toddler in childcare, they bring every plague going home) and I ended up in hospital with my little boys who had developed bronchiolitis from their sister’s cold after I’d just gotten out of hospital myself for Pancreatitis I lost it. I couldn’t cope. I was just sobbing uncontrollably in the hospital room when the paediatricians began their rounds. By coincidence one of the doctors was Dr Rowel who had been my daughter’s paediatrician through reflux and operations for hip dysplasia. He saw me, could see how bad I had gotten and immediately referred me to the hospital social worker, who referred me to the phychiatric team. So in turn I got referred to a mothers and baby unit at a psychiatric hospital to get my bearings, physically recover a bit and try to sort through some stuff in my head.
So how’s it all going? Well I can tell you inside my head is a terrifying place to be but I’ll keep you updated with my progress through more Confessions of a Mad Mooer.
If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:
- Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
- PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
- PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
- Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
- Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/
So glad you are finally getting help and rest. Reading what you wrote took me back to the exhaustion of my early parenting years – it can be so overwhelming, especially when a spouse doesn’t really understand what is going on inside your head. And oh the guilt … keep on writing! I know so many women can relate and I applaud your honesty.
Thanks for your support.
Thank you for coming by my blog. I only had one child to deal with, but I was on the edge of my sanity for almost 5 years. No support and a kid with issues who had a very tough time sleeping. I was depressed for at least a few years, and by the time I brought it up to my regular doctor, she blew me off. She’s no longer my doctor. I was able to find my way back out of the worst of it quite by accident when I was using hypnotherapy. It’s been an awesome tool in my life and has helped me heal and change quite a bit. As CJ said above, I’m very glad you’re getting help and rest. Take care of yourself so you’ll be able to take care of those kids.
A good GP is worth their weight in gold. When my daughter was 4 months I switched GPs and so glad I did.
My heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best on your journey. You are a very courageous woman to share this experience, and I feel that your ability to be honest with yourself about your emotions will do much to help you and your children in the years to come. I look forward to seeing more as you continue share your recovery.
You should not compare yourself to others in such situations. Everyone handles stress differently, and on top of the regular majorly high stressload of caring for 3 babies, postpartum depression is no joke. And I mean that seriously. It is absolutely nothing to take lightly. I know you feel like you’ve failed in some way, or don’t measure up, but there’s no shame at all in what you went through and you needed the help and support long before you received it. Many women go through similar struggles with only one child, with a spouse who cheerily tells them to just keep running ragged and everything will smooth out, or the spouse even being irritated or resentful that the new mother is struggling so. The new mother, meanwhile, is having some serious biochemical disturbances from their pregnancy, coupled with lack of sleep and the stress of caring for a new infant virtually on their own, and they just snap like a twig.
I hope you got/are getting the rest and assistance you so desperately needed. Please do not be embarrassed or fault yourself. You did nothing wrong. You had waaay too much on your plate and I can tell you straight up within a few days, maybe a week, of trying to maintain such a situation, I’d be checking MYSELF into the mental health hospital! Hehe You’re a very strong lady, and a super loving mother. You will get through this.
Thanks for the support
Pingback: Writers with Vagingos: #pitchbitch | Write or Wrong
Pingback: Confessions of a Mad Mooer: I Didn’t Know I Had Postnatal Depression | Write or Wrong
Pingback: Confessions of a Mad Mooer: What Would Robin Do? | Write or Wrong
Pingback: Another Baby Is Dead, Let’s Not Demonise People With Postnatal Depression | Write or Wrong
Your honest account of the pressures mothers undergo with young children and babies is such a relief. So many women try to hold it together when their hormones are shot and the hubby has emotionally shut down. No wonder PND affects so many of us. Rest and heal, and keep healing. I’m so glad my daughter is old enough to toilet and feed and dress and take herself to school.
Thanks so much. It can be so exhausting at times.
Pingback: Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Awareness Week #LunchOutLoud #PNDAawarenessweek #StartTheConversation | Write or Wrong
Pingback: Confessions of a Mad Mooer: the musical ( #bePNDaware ) | Write or Wrong
Pingback: Author Robin Elizabeth joins Bookends Publishing – Bookends Publishing
Pingback: Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Let’s #StartTheConversation and Have a Virtual #LunchOutLoud | Write or Wrong
I had an extremely premature baby and a 2 year old and I nearly died during the birth (from sepsis) – I think you can get postnatal PTSD as well as depression. It takes a long time to recover, decades to process. I’m probably still mooing but from a happier distance. Your books sound great, I’ll look out for them.
Thanks. The twins are four years old now and everything is much easier.
Pingback: I Have ADHD | Write or Wrong