I didn’t get dressed today. In fact, I didn’t do much at all. My little boy stayed in his pyjamas too, although, he doesn’t have much choice as, at the grand old age of 21 months he hasn’t quite mastered the art of dressing himself.
I didn’t get dressed today. To be honest, I didn’t do much at all. And do you know what? That IS okay. A few months ago, I would have felt this unbearable guilt and anxiety that by doing this, I was failing and failing my boy in the process. That I was the worst Mama ever because we hadn’t been to some pointless fucking playgroup and pretended to play nicely with other people's kids whilst they smashed Jensen over the head with plastic building bricks as I stood drinking coffee with the other mumwankers, masking my anxiety with a big fake smile and false bravado, whilst inwardly trying resist snatching up my child and marching us both home to watch Pawpatrol in the safe haven of Mama’s bed.
So, yeah, the fact that I can now have a pretty much guilt free day in pyjamas with my son? I would say that I have a come pretty long way! (I stole the phrase ‘mumwanker’ from a really, very good AMAZING friend that I actually met at one of the aforementioned baby groups, so it’s not all bad. She has been an absolute rock for me and I love this particular mumwanker too much! At my lowest points she has always been there with a supportive emoji to get me through!)
You see, I battle with depression. (Some may say postnatal depression, I say ‘my newborn baby being given a death sentence and I can’t fucking deal with it’ depression. My toddler was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 3 weeks old. This was the most horrific time in my life.) And as a result, I NEED the days in which we don’t do anything other than watch Cbeebies, and play, and eat biscuits and laugh and LOVE.
I need those days to soothe, and heal and help calm the anxiety that otherwise threatens my sanity! (Not that having a troublesome toddler doesn’t test my sanity in a number of different ways anyway, as much as I love him, some days my patience does run thin…) I now not only look forward to, but EMBRACE the days that I am mentally totally exhausted because we have been out of the house 3 days consecutively and did normal things like soft play, and dog walking and shopping! It is these days that make me think: ‘Fuck, I’m doing it! I’m normal!’
It took a long time for me to even come to terms with my depression. For so long I couldn’t/wouldn’t accept that anything was wrong. I had a beautiful baby boy and I was supposed to be the happiest that I had ever been. But I refused to believe that the tiny little human that I had grown, and nurtured, and loved from the moment that he had even been thought of had this fucking horrible disease that I couldn’t even protect him from.
I felt like a failure, my body had failed him, I had failed him. He was supposed to be perfect. Everything was supposed to be perfect. And instead it was a ridiculous amount of medicines and physio and hospital appointments and I was forced to watch my child go through the most horrific treatments, that no child should ever have to experience. I wanted to stop it. I wanted to fix him. I couldn’t.
So instead? I tried so hard to control everything else and built up a bubble for me and Jens that no one else could penetrate. Because he was MY boy and I had already failed him and I’d be damned if I was going to fail him again. I was in a dangerous mental position, hating myself for not being happy, yet refusing to be happy because I felt that I was the only person to blame. This caused a great deal of self loathing; I felt fat, I felt ugly, I actually felt like not a very nice person.
Of course, that’s all a load of bollocks. I just couldn’t see through the fog. I wouldn’t see through the fog, until I finally opened my bubble and accepted the support from those around me, instead of pushing everyone away. I was embarrassed. Mental health is embarrassing. Was I an attention seeker? Was it even real?
It had all spiralled way out of control, because I was too busy trying to control everything around me and I had forgotten about the most important factor: ME. In the end it was an absolute angel of health visitor that finally helped me realise that I was actually being a massive tosser and that there WAS help out there. That being ME again was an option. It took a few appointments with her before I agreed to see my doctor, as long as she came with me, where I was prescribed with what I had dreaded the whole time… Antidepressants. Now I HAD to admit that I had depression. And I HAD to deal with it. I won’t pretend that it was easy, it wasn’t. But it was the first step that I needed to take on the path of wellbeing.
Of course the medicine was a MASSIVE factor in my recovery, but, it was just a part of it. I started to take care of myself again, I would shave my legs, I threw out those big Mama knickers, put some lippy on. The little things, stupid little things that meant nothing to the single, carefree me from before motherhood, but were SO important now.
Before I even had time to realise it, the anxiety had calmed. I was leaving the house more often, I was laughing again, I was falling in love with my husband again… because I was falling back in love with myself! I accepted that my little boy had a battle to face and instead of making it harder by wallowing, I would show him how to be a warrior! A fighter! In reality, he probably showed me more about being strong in that first year of his life than I could have ever imagined. I just needed to open my eyes. And I fucking did! (Eventually!)
Not going to lie, some days are still hard. I feel exhausted, and I know I need to slow down so as not to undo any hard work that I have done in putting myself back together. It’s normal, I’d be more worried if any Mama didn’t have days like this, regardless of their mental state!
I’ve learnt to listen to my body, mentally and physically. If I want a nap, I nap. If I want to exercise, I exercise. (Okay, that’s rare!) If I want the wine, guess what? I have the fucking wine! (Yeah, the wine always wins!) I don’t hold on to this guilt that I should be doing anything differently, because I am doing the best that I can do. And do you know what? That makes me a fucking amazing Mama! This applies to everyone: if you’re doing YOUR best, YOU are a fucking amazing Mama! But just remember to take care of yourselves, because it really is true… A happy Mama is a happy baby! (Hey baby, Mama's got you! We got this!)
I didn’t get dressed today… and it IS okay! (That said, I’ll probably have to get dressed tomorrow, I’ve ran out of wine!)