Mental illness is a huge part of my life – a powerful force at times – and I know many of you are in the same situation. Although I’m comfortable talking about depression and anxiety there are some conditions that I don’t know anything about.
I was recently sent a box of I Can Cards from Amy, the creator of the amazing project which aims to help people feel better about their mental illness through positive affirmations. Since then I’ve got to know Amy, and she’s written this beautiful letter about postnatal depression. I just had to share it with you:
I have had a cloud over me all week, and I have had a complete barrier up getting ready for my son’s birthday. He is a character, very funny, the cutest thing on earth and has a huge heart that I am so proud of.
So why was I refusing to acknowledge this very important milestone of his 2nd birthday? I only realised when I sat down, the night before, to write in his birthday card, that’s when it hit me, I was feeling so guilty. Not the usual Mum guilt, but a disgusting resentful and deep seeded guilt.
I became overwhelmed by the fact that I can’t remember the first 9 months of my son’s life, I had post natal depression, and this completely robbed me of a lot of things, but mostly the first 9 months of my child’s life. Which I know is so precious, people who have lost children, including a close friend, would do anything for these memories, people with fertility issues would cherish those 9 months, and most other humans, but not me, I couldn’t see anything through my fog of PND.
I wanted to wake up my lovely, almost 2 year old, and apologise for the first nine months, for stopping breastfeeding because I couldn’t be bothered, for not taking you out much because I physically couldn’t, for thinking that you were annoying and difficult, for so many things, I am whole heartedly sorry.
I have made a promise to cherish and worship every moment that we have, and to more than make up for those 9 months. I have a deeper gratitude and love for my children because I had PND, because I came out the other side and because I can’t imagine my life without them.
So the guilt turned into this weird epiphany that I’m glad I had PND, I’m glad for this crazy love I have for my children, being brave to leave a failing relationship, starting a social enterprise and business. AND for giving me a fresh start that I look back on and take a deep breath about, and above all reminds me how lucky I am.
My thoughts then turned to Mums going through it now. I’m right with you, it’s a painful journey, but I swear it is so worth it. All these dark thoughts and feelings you have right now, they won’t last, but what you will be left with is a new kick arse approach to life which is here to stay.
Check out Amy’s online store where she sells positive affirmation cards to help sufferers of PND, depression, anxiety and break ups as well as single parents. I’ve been using the depression and anxiety pack for weeks now and it’s had such a positive impact on my day. I actually talk through a card from the box every morning on my Instagram stories and it sets the tone for my day. I love them!