Sunday, 6 August 2017

Health | Let's Talk Postnatal Depression

I've always had a bit of an issue with my mental health ever since I was a teenager, but it was always something I deemed manageable. There was a point in my life, which I admit, I felt I was at an all time low. I was out of work, I was living miles away from my family and I was so lonely and fed up. but I pulled through it. Then I became a mother. George was born and everything I'd ever felt before felt a million times worse. I never wanted to admit I had a problem, who does? We all like to put on a front that we're coping and when you're a first time mum that can be incredibly overwhelming. Despite having the best support team around me, that first year of George's life was extremely difficult for me. So lets talk postnatal depression. 

George came into the world on the 10th September 2014 and I was besotted, it felt like we had been awaiting him for such a long time (read about my PCOS story here). I fell in love instantly. It's true what they say, it's a love like no other. The sleepless nights and endless visitors were worth it, I was exhausted but I loved being a mum, I loved newborn snuggles and whilst I struggled to adapt to the 3 hourly feeds, it didn't last long and he was sleeping through from 8 weeks old. 

Then the anxiety crept in. I was terrified something would happen to him, to Pete or I. What would happen if we were in an accident? What would happen if we were to be bombed (crazy I know seeing as we live in one of the safest countries in the world - apparentl) but even now I get anxious when a plane flies over head. It's so irrational. I knew I was being irrational but these thoughts would creep in on a daily basis. 

There was this one day when he was about 3 months old, George just cried for 20 minutes and for the love of god I just didn't know what was wrong with him. He had me so stressed out that I left him in his pram to cry, took myself to the top of the stairs and just cried it out. I felt worthless that I couldn't console my own baby. My nan came round to visit and I just cried on her (this happens a lot, I'm emotional, what can I say? Mother, if you're reading, I blame you!) She told me not to ever think I was a bad mum because I was doing a good job and sometimes that's all you need to hear. She told me a story about a similar experience she had when my uncle was a baby and in that moment I knew I wasn't alone. 

When George was 5 months we got him christened and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. My hair was a mess, Pete lost his only pair of smart shoes, we were late for the church, the DJ did't turn up. It was a nightmare! An absolute nightmare. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for this day, I was a mess. There was a point when Pete was queuing for the buffet and I just screamed at him in front of all our guests, something that I am still ashamed of to this day! My behaviour was out of control and I knew I had to do something about it. I've said before I don't deal with stress but this was on another level.

After a good old heart to heart with my mum (have I mentioned she's the absolute best?) I went to the doctors where I was diagnosed with PND and prescribed  antidepressants. My mood improved and I became a lot calmer over the course when I eventually came off them on my own. Not even gradually, I just decided I didn't need them anymore and came off them. 

When Henry was born, the stress came back, I was awful, I was miserable so I didn't even see a doctor, I just went straight back on my medication. Even now I notice the difference on a day when I don't take them. I'm horrible, the stress becomes too much and I get myself really worked up. I had an episode on Wednesday where I did not want to go out, Henry's flask was broken (my fault) and I couldn't do my hair properly. To some this may seem like a really silly thing to get so upset about, but this is how my brain works. If something doesn't go the way I want it to I get really anxious. In this moment, Pete just calmed me down, hugged me and helped me work it out. There was a point in our lives when he didn't really understand what I needed when I was in this mood but I think he's got it sussed, he's a good egg.

PND can manifester in a number of different ways, I thought because I had bonded with my baby that there was nothing wrong with me and I was fine. It nearly cost me my relationship. If you are suffering in any way, please get help!

Rachael xo

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Family | Stop Asking Me If I Will Try For A Girl


As a mum of two boys, the one question that often creeps up is "are you going to try again for a girl?" and out of everything, it pisses me off the absolute most! You can give me unsolicted advice, doesn't bother me one bit, you can ask me if I want another baby, also doesn't bother me, but asking me if I will "try for a girl" gets on my nerves and I'll tell you why. 

I spoke about my PCOS journey here but for those of you who don't know, I have a hormonal imbalance which affects my periods making it difficult for me to conceive. It was agonising wanting a baby and knowing your body was failing you so when we finally got pregnant with George, Pete and I were over the moon. It was exciting, we were lucky it happened relatively quickly for us too as we thought I'd have to start a fertility drug had the first set of drugs not worked for us. 

19 months after George arrived into the world, we fell pregnant again with baby number two. Our little surprise was conceived completely naturally, despite my PCOS and although there were a lot of tears at first (from me - I was in shock) we bere excited to have a squishy newborn again. I knew I was extremely lucky to have fallen pregnant again so easily after all the trying with George. 

This time round, I wanted to know the sex of the baby, one thing we never found during the first pregnancy, but I thought it would make the transition easier for George, to be able to tell him he was getting a brother or sister. We booked an early gender scan, and I think part of me did wish for a girl as it would be nice to have one of each as they say. The baby was in a funny position, the sonographers made me wiggle my bum, empty my bladder, jump on the spot and eventually they saw it, a little willy. They confirmed it was a boy, Pete and I didn't speak for a minute then my mum shouted "wahey! Another boy!" I remember saying with a smile "I told you it would be another boy didn't I?" Gender disappointment is real, but although part of me did wish for a girl, I was still happy regardless. I wasn't going to love my child any less because he was a boy and I'm a bit biased because we're mainly males in our family anyway. I was happy to be giving George a little brother and the bond they share now is just incredible, it actually melts my icy heart (even though George has been asking me for a sister recently.. not happening pal). 

So here's why it annoys me when people ask "are you going to try again for a girl?" I think it is really presumptuious that you'd think I was unsatisfied with having two boys, and newsflash, I'm not! I love having two boys, they are both loving and affectionate, handsome and clever. That makes me beam with pride. I also love how easy they are to dress, literally just grab a little shirt and shorts/ jeans and they instantly look adorable, plus I don't have to do anything with their hair. Bonus! Another reason I hate this question is because people don't realise how lucky I am to actually have conceived the two children I have, which I understand is through no fault of their own, and I understand it probably seems a little bit silly since I don't really mind being asked if I'll have another. If at some point in the future, Pete and I did decide to have another child, it wouldn't be to try for a girl, it would be simply because we want to expand our family. 

Disclaimer: we are 100% not having another baby any time soon for any family reading this!

Rachael xo