I wanted to touch on the subject of parenting while suffering with mental health, and what that can feel like and also entail on a daily basis.
I have had episodes of thinking that because I’ve suffered (and still have my odd moments) with mental health, that I would never make it as a parent. Not only that, but the fact I’m covered in scars doesn’t show the greatest of pictures. I’ve been told by so many people not to worry about what other people think, but I really can’t help it. It took me so many years to get used to having my scars on show. I literally put myself in the most vulnerable of positions by seeing people stare and listening to people’s comments. It’s difficult. I do sometimes feel as if I can’t wear short sleeved t-shirts in case someone can see my past on my arms, and then I feel let down by myself for doing those things. I know that no matter how low I feel, all I have to do is look at Harlow, and everything kind of disappears. If I do feel low, I also have to remind myself that it isn’t just me anymore, and I do have someone else to think of, and so, I can’t have these negative feelings, and it works. I know I have to allow myself to feel sad sometimes, because I’m only human, but I can’t allow myself to feel or think that I’m a bad parent just because I have these moments or have these scars! I can some days wake up feeling anxious, or even depressed. Yet that doesn’t take away the fact that I’m a mum and I have things to do. I have only felt this way twice, and once the baby is awake and she’s gurgling in her cot, I can’t help but feel okay. I can understand why people (men and women) don’t speak up when they feel down after having a baby. So much can run through a person’s head ‘Will my baby get taken off me?’, ‘I’ll get labelled as a bad parent’, ‘What if people don’t think I’m capable of looking after my child?’ It’s all so real when you put someone so vulnerable in the situation. There are also times when the baby might be crying continuously, and you have no idea what else you can do. They’ve been changed, fed, winded, cuddled, and nothing seems to work. It might cross your mind that you can’t cope with it, and then you also feel like a rubbish parent because you can’t even console your baby. You’re wrong. Unfortunately, baby’s cry, and sometimes it can be for no reason other than the fact that’s all they know. You need to place your baby in his/her cot, and walk away. Just give yourself five minutes. Have a cuppa, do some cleaning, and just breathe. Remember that your baby is okay, safe and warm. Mental health does not even slightly make someone a bad person or parent. Letting a baby cry when you’ve tried everything also doesn’t make you a bad person or parent. Also, never be afraid of asking a question, or following your instinct. Mental health is difficult, and putting a baby in the mix can make it extra overwhelming, but you’ll be okay, and I completely believe in you.