Tag Archives: parent

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: letter to a friend

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True, but I'll keep on trying to help regardless.

I have a friend who is doing it tough at the moment so I wanted to let her know that I thought she was great particularly after she was visibly upset after a mutual person we know made several insensitive remarks. I tried to put those remarks into a better context and wrote to her. At the end she said thank you and she was so glad that I understood her. Later, however, she did spiral downwards. So I’m putting up this letter for anyone else doing it tough. Hopefully it will touch someone and make them know they are not alone before the darkness becomes too much. With much love here is my letter to a friend.

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Your childhood was not awesome. I’m sure there were happy moments but what your parents did was just plain shit. You don’t give up on your own child. You do not ship them off for somebody else tp deal with. Now as adults we can realise that your parents didn’t give up on you they actually gave up on themselves and tried to put you with a better option. Clearly stupid and wrong to do and clearly a child is going to feel abandoned,  anxious, unloved and deeply worthless. Not something any healthy parent wants for their child. So clearly the wrong choice no matter how “right” the reason was. What your parents did would be considered unforgivable by many. But you are such a good person that you’re actually trying. Here’s the thing, reparations in “the circle of security” are the parents job, not the child’s. You don’t need to reach out,  they do. And for how long do they need to reach out? Until you feel it, until you’re 100% secure in your relationship with them. “I’ve tried for 10 years and that’s how long she was gone for,” does not even come close to cutting it. That upheaval was done when you were too young to have a voice so it’s deep and needs lots of effort on their behalf. So you don’t need to reach out to them they need to reach out to you. In fact reaching out to them only makes it worse every time they don’t reach back because it only reinforces that message of “I’m not worthy.” It’s like if you’re thirsty and you go to the tap and no water comes out. you feel worse each time it doesn’t come out. even worse than had you not gone. So put your parents on the back burner. No need to text message or Facebook or call trying to seek out their support or pride. They need to volunteer it willingly with open arms for it to matter. So don’t pursue them with a nice dinner or a lovely message or any of the millions of little things you do to try to make them see you. They’re the ones who fucked up, they need to do 100% of the pursuing. Sure welcome it but don’t pursue it back. This is not a fifty fifty street. So I think try to dull down any thoughts to do with them. let yourself off the hook and put them on it. Not with the odd angry word just calmly disengage and let them do all of the legwork. It’s their job. They’re your parents.

Now I am going somewhere with this. I know what X (removing the name) said was to do with your secure base for  your little girl.  That’s just the context for what I’m about to say. I haven’t totally lost the plot yet.

Because you did not have a secure base, your parents were evidently in an emotional tractor accident where they lost their metaphorical hands, you are super sensitive to suffering. You hear the crying and it doesn’t just make “shark music” it tears your soul apart

The idea of your kids, or anyone else feeling that kind of pain is too much. Hence I think she’s worried that you’ll unintentionally avoid the situation and cause some anxiety around the secure hands. Not like your parents caused. Definitely not! There’s no way she’s stupid enough to think that! I think she’s just worried that the pain will make you shut down.

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Now here’s the catch about your kids crying. They’re not you. They haven’t been abandoned. They are not suffering. You are there for them. You are a great mum who is doing her best.

But even though you are there for them and they aren’t suffering like you were it’s hard not to get that emotional response because it has been drummed into you. “You’re not worthy,  you’re not worth the effort. ” And your husband has just sent you that message again with his carry on with his “mate’s mum” bullshit. And the hospital cancelling and then giving you the wrong number just builds up in you. A very raw time for you. But you are worthy and you are worth the effort.

Put it in perspective. You were treated quite poorly by your parents (understatement of the century), but you’re such a good person you actually still talk to them. Your husband is being a prick at the moment and you haven’t kicked him out. And your kids, you’ve got a threenager and a reflux baby,  that’s fucking hard, and despite not having good roll models for sticking by when the going gets tough you hang in there. You haven’t left them. You’ve stayed in their lives, in their home, in their sights. Well done chicken! That’s beyond fucking amazing. I think it’s about time you said, “Fuck this shit, I’m amazing and I won’t carry your burdens any longer, I’m going to take care of me and the kids.” Let the people responsible for wronging you in your personal life come to you, forget about pursuing them as they continue to distance themselves. Time for you to distance and them pursue. Put that pain on hold and focus on cuddles with the kids. Bring them in close and hug them twice as much. Once for them and once for you as a little girl. Your parents make comments like “relax” or other stupid shit just ignore it, distance yourself,  stop talking to them and turn around and hug your kids/self. Because seriously,  chill/relax, how fucking chilled and relaxed were they to abandon their daughter,  fuck that, they don’t get to give advice until they’ve made amends. And that husband of yours… hmmmm… he’s an insecure, spoilt, brat who is wholly taking advantage of your insecurity and abandonment issues. There, I said it. He’s being a jerk because he can be. He knows you’ll keep pursuing him because you want a deep and loving connection. And you deserve one and it’s about time he gave you one. No more begging for attention by cleaning the way he likes or doing stuff that makes it harder for you just because he likes it. Next time he flips out about your whereabouts you very calmly and firmly say, “No, you don’t get to question my integrity. I have been a good and loyal wife and mother, I have not snap chatted my vag to a “mate’s mum” that was you, my integrity is not in question, you may not divert attention from what you have been up too by randomly blaming me for imaginary wrongs.” Then calmly walk away to another room or hang up. And if he flares up and gets aggressive or lays so much as a finger on you get those precious kids and pack up and leave next time he is at work. You do not want your daughter thinking it is ok for her husband to yell at her and you don’t want you bear cub thinking he can yell at his wife. Don’t return until he heals the rift he has caused… although if he lays a hand on you don’t return ever. Now that seems all very practical but of course emotionally it isn’t that easy. “But I’m not worthy he won’t make amends.” If he doesn’t it is because he is too small, it is a reflection on his character not yours. You’re great, you’re flaw is putting up with too much and not valuing yourself enough, not being a bad person. So what if he doesn’t make amends. What’s the worst that can happen? He bangs on about how he’ll take the kids but he won’t actually be able too and you’ll get free accommodation at your parents house… let’s face it they owe you at the very least 10 years rent free plus all the add ons for emotional suffering. So the worst that could happen is that you gather up money whilst your parents get a chance to really make it up to you through taking care of you and your kids. And the best is that you break this negative cycle with your husband and he finally comes out of his shell and reaches out and steps up to be the husband and father that he deep down wants to be but has had it so easy and so good that he’s just become a spoilt little boy who acts on every whim he has because he’s been living in a consequence free world. At the very least he needs to never invite that woman who shipped her son off because he was “too hard” into your house again. Granted she’s obviously as nuts as us with huge issues but her issues are going to traumatise you so you need to look after yourself before you can look after others. She can be cared for by her loved ones, Lord knows she needs it.

So the new world order is you, then the kids, then the husband,  then the parents. I’d actually insert then the friends in front of hubby and parents for a while so we can energise you and bolster you up a bit so that you can feel confident enough to love you. Now you take care of your beautiful self and those beautiful kids.

You have a good heart. Granted your “picker” is broken but that’s understandable. You’ve surrounded yourself with selfish bastards who don’t appreciate you not because you’re a bad or unworthy person who deserves shit but because you didn’t have someone model to you what a true connection is. Now you’ve got to flip flop around and learn it all yourself which is bloody hard. But never think that you have arseholes surrounding you because you have a character defect because that’s not true. Your character is fine, just a bit shaky for obvious reasons,  they have the character defect. The reason they’re with you is because everybody else told them to fuck off before they got too close. Unfortunately with your broken “picker” you didn’t. Never too late to say now is the day I get respect. Quietly and calmly distance yourself from the arseholes and embrace all good things openly. You deserve it.

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Trust me, I'm crazy.

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: that’s what she said

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I’ve been let out! After four weeks in the nut house I’ve been thrust back into society with all you good folk. I’ve been rubber stamped sane… well not so much sane as ready to take the long journey required to heal, reflect and become a more positive person. I of course miss the new friends that I made but am glad to be home. My fellow inmates truly were a bunch of fantastic mums with beautiful, all be it fragile, spirits.

Fantastic mums??? I hear some of you question. How can mums with postnatal depression be fantastic mums. Aren’t they all a bunch of baby hating, self indulgent cows? Aren’t they all bad mothers? The answer is quite simply – nope. And it has got me to thinking about some of the thoughts people have regarding postnatal depression and why there is such a stigma attached to it. So I’d like to take this time to address the black dog in the room and comment about some of the things people have said to me on finding out I had and yet again have postnatal depression.

You can’t have postnatal depression, you like your baby?
The vast majority of the women I have met who are battling postnatal depression, both in and out of the chicken coup, absolutely love their kids. They sing to their children, they hug them, they praise them, they play with them, they pick them up, they do everything a ‘normal’ loving mother would do. Despite all this love they still struggle with anxiety and coping. When your baby is unsettled that’s stressful for anyone. Few people simply don’t care if their baby screams however, once the crisis is over most mums can start to calm down also. It is tough, it is unpleasant, they look forward to when this phase will pass and their tension can ease. With a mum with PND their thoughts spiral out of control ~ I’ve done something to upset the baby, it’s my fault the baby is upset, I’ll never be able to sooth my baby, I’m a terrible mother, I’m ruining my precious baby’s life and causing permanent damage because I can’t work out what is wrong, I’m a terrible person, I’m useless, I’m worthless, the baby would be better off without me so that they could get a better mother. The crisis is over but the thoughts keep churning around in our heads. With every unsettled period and every perceived mistake we make the thoughts we have regarding ourselves and our fitness to parent our beautiful child become darker. Tears come, screams escape, zoning out happens. As a result of this seemingly uncontrollable negative thinking many mums like myself become paralysed by guilt. We love their baby so much that they drive their body’s and minds to ruin making super human efforts to be perfect. Our bodies breakdown and we can no longer function. For others they become so lost in the nightmare in their head that they start to retreat and zone out. They are physically present but not mentally. They can have some bonding issues simply because they checked out of reality because it was too painful rather than disliking their babies. And yes their are a few that start to resent their baby for dredging up all these feelings and this resentment can start to spiral into anger and hate. It can seriously affect the mother child bond. But from my experience angst ridden, tearful, making yourself sick, kind of postnatal depression seems far more prevalent. Regardless of how it manifests it is highly treatable and people do get better with help. They can shed these negative thoughts and become the happy, positive, parents that they want to be.

Oh my god! Have you been thinking about hurting your baby?
No! Not everyone with PND wants to hurt their baby. Left untreated and unsupported it could get to these extreme levels but generally no. Women with PND are far more likely to hate themselves than their babies. They feel hopeless and useless and like the baby and the world would be better off without them. But of course not all women with PND have suicidal idealisations. It isn’t a stereotypical, one size fits all condition. And there is a world of difference between Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis. Suffering from depression does not make you psychotic or dissociative. It’s actually quite offensive to treat someone active getting treatment like they’re completely unhinged and are on the verge of murder suicide at any moment. And treating people like they can’t be trusted actually holds up treatment and makes people unwilling to communicate because they’ll have to put up with a whole host of bullshit assumptions.

You still have your sense of humour so everything must be ok.
When I was being catered away in the ambulance with full blown Pancreatitis I was still making jokes. The mask of humour in public stays firmly in place lest we turn into gibbering messes in public and become social outcasts.

You look good so you must be okay.
Thank you. I’m one sexy bitch.

Everybody feels like that.
True. Every mother has moments like this but the feelings don’t last as long. Minimising these long term, pervasive feelings only holds up a woman getting help. It doesn’t help.

Some people are just more anxious than others, you don’t need treatment.
You do not have to live with anxiety. You deserve a better life and so do your kids. Some people may be happy to live as a shaking anxious mess and have those they love suffer through this but that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help. Anxiety is very treatable.

Other people have it tougher than you so why aren’t you coping.
Hooray for them. Seriously good on them. BUT if you’re going to compare do it properly. Do they have your history, have they had your health complaints, do they get more help??? And even if they are this amazing super human who can juggle 17 kids without breaking a sweat, whilst working fulltime, without any babysitting and have perfectly well adjusted children that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for not coping. Everybody is different. We all have different skills and have had different role models. It’s okay to struggle with things and for others to find it easy. We aren’t all scientific geniuses, we aren’t all amazing singers. It’s okay to have your own skills and your own struggles and it’s okay to get help with areas you struggle with.

You’re a selfish mother and just want to do your own thing and not tend your baby.
My response to this is simple… fuck off.

Just keep going and it will get better.
Sure… and if you just keep walking on a broken leg it will get better too… sure it will…

Just needed to get that off my chest. I’ll keep you updated on my progress with more Confessions of a Mad Mooer.

Confessions of a Mad Mooer: hi, I’m a mad mooer

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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:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/