Have you ever felt that everybody is talking about you?
Have you ever felt your child is not going to wake up after putting them to bed?
Have you ever stopped your child doing something for fear they might hurt themselves?
Have you ever felt that your baby is going to choke on the pureed food you’re feeding them?
Have you ever felt that everyone is judging the way you parent?
Have you ever felt you will be criticised for the way you feed your baby?
Have you ever felt that every choice you make for your child is under scrutiny?
Have you ever felt that people think there is nothing wrong with you?
Have you ever felt guilty for not enjoying your child?
Have you ever had the fear of being left alone with your baby?
Have you ever felt that you are not good enough?
Have you ever felt you you were judged because you take medication for your mental illness?
Paranoia is something that affects me daily, sometimes to the point I cannot function to do simple daily tasks. My paranoid thoughts are fuelled by my anxiety and fears. These thoughts can become irrational and have caused me to suffer panic attacks and several sleepless nights. They have led me to jump to false accusations. They have knocked my confidence as a mother, nurse, wife,sister, daughter, friend. They have changed me as a person.
I am working on managing this symptom of my Post Natal Depression but it is easier said than done.
I am trying to accept fact that something might happen to Oisín. Something awful and life shattering could happen. However, all I can do is my best to protect him. Shield him from any potential hazards and accept accidents do happen. I can’t control everything that happens in the world we live. This irrational fear can prevent me from leaving the house. So, a few weeks ago I gave myself a challenge to do something fun every day with Oisín. I need to live in the now and appreciate the time we have together. Some days it might be a ten a minute walk to the swings or building blocks together, other days it might be going to soft play or making a mess at painting. (Let me know if you would like a blog post on messy play) I am enjoying taking this time that we spend together and seeing him laugh and smile makes me love him more each day.
It is human nature to seek the approval of those around us. This approval is how many people value themselves. I am one of those people, but I am working on letting go of what other people think and lowering my expectations. It might be a challenge but before having Oisín I was confident and always spoke out for what I believed in. So that Bróna is in there somewhere.
Breastfeeding and Formula feeding is still a taboo subject and no mother should be ashamed about the way they feed their child. When I switched to formula milk I was embarrassed to give him a bottle in public for fear what others would think. Then starting solids is another ball game. People giving their opinions on when to start wheening, on what to give and what not to give. I began wheening Oisín a little early as he was hungry! Looking back I was so anxious about doing it and feared something bad would happen to him. I also feared people would think I was bad mother but I trusted my gut and now Oisín loves his food and is now a happy healthy baby. I am not recommending starting wheening early. HSE guidelines are 17 weeks. Many parents wait till six months, which is what I had planned.The moral of this story is that you know your baby best. When we let go of caring what other people think our minds are clear of others opinions. Therefore we are free to make our own decisions.
One of my biggest fears is that people are talking about me. Some of these paranoid thoughts would be; “She has a smile on her face she must be happy”, “Sure she is out in soft play isn’t well for her”, “Shes off on holidays she must be grand” “She’s being a bit dramatic” “Who does she think she is” “Shes giving her baby that!” “She can’t go to work but she can go to a party” “Shes her make up and hair done musn’t be anything wrong with her” “She has a baby, a husband,a house above her head a good job what has she got to feel sad about”. In reality I am sure most people are busy with their daily lives and not concerning themselves with what is going on in mine. That being said I have written this blog and put myself out in a world that people do judge and just cause you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not all talking about you but my own opinion is the only one that matters. Documenting this journey is making it easier to break the barrier of caring what other people think or say. My last blog post has been very therapeutic, knowing there are so many other mothers that have or are going through something similar . I want to thank you all for reading and sharing. I appreciate every single comment and message. I am so glad that I have been able to comfort some of you and encouraged a few seek medical advice/counselling.
When someone is sick, I feel society has created an idealism that they should be house bound or in bed . If your head isn’t hanging off then you should be able to work and continue day to day tasks. When suffering with post natal depression, anxiety or any mental illness for that matter things can change from hour to hour. When I was prescribed medication I was so reluctant to take it, I felt people would think I was “crazy” and a failing as a parent. However, now that I am on triple the dose I have come to terms with the fact I need them to regain a normal life. Some days are still tough and the smallest task can feel like I am about to climb the highest mountain peak in Ireland. I accepting that I need to take each day at a time. This patch in my life is only a hump in the road. I’ve managed to climb Carrauntoohil before and I can do it again!
I would love if you joined my #endpndstigma campaign on instagram use the Hashtag, share what PND means to you and tag me in your post. ❤️
Snap Happy Mammy