I realised that I was experiencing PND around five months after the birth of my twins. Due to my relationship, extreme sleep deprivation and limited help, I could only assume my feelings were rational. Parenting at the best of times can be tough, and being alone with twins, with no help and unsupportive doctors left me feeling remarkably isolated. Depression isn't alien to me, but PND was on a whole new level and was petrifying. Postnatal Depression can feel like an attack on the mind, and whilst this traumatic experience took effect, feelings of loneliness became all-consuming, but I did what many women do every day, I masked the signs with constant smiles and repeatedly telling anyone who asked that everything is fine…
The stigma that surrounds postnatal depression can indicate rejection of the child, but that’s not what I encountered. I was engulfed in high anxiety and paranoia, to the point that I didn’t want to be away from my children. If they went out of my sight for one second, I would flip and freak out.
Separation anxiety was a beast and something I had to try and resolve. The children were around fifteen months old and had never left my side. I felt smothered, like I was slowly losing my mind and in desperate need of some space. The distant and unloving relationship their father had with me was on its knees. I just wasn't strong enough to deal with it, and I needed to get my head straight.
One Friday afternoon when the girl's dad arrived home early from work, I took the opportunity to give myself that space and went to the local coffee shop. As I sat alone with my hot chocolate, I documented the moment on Instagram. Messages of encouragement came through from followers which instantly lifted me. I vowed that day I would make it my mission, to do something that was just for me at least once a week.
Since then, I have gone on to recover from Postnatal Depression and guide others in a similar situation. I feel very fortunate that I can communicate my experience via my blog and my business, both of which highlight the importance and urgency of self-care for women.
One of the most effective ways I can motivate others is by practising what I preach. Over the past eighteen months, I have made taking care of my mind and body a top priority. Also in this time, I started a new blog, a business, quit alcohol, and went vegan. By sharing my message and experience, it has encouraged women to share their own self-care moments. This has been truly wonderful, and hearing how I have inspired others inspires me to keep sharing this crucial message.
Self Care can be carried out in numerous ways and can range from having a candlelit bubble bath, exercising, mindfulness, or meditation. In addition, quitting bad habits such as smoking, drinking and over consuming refined sugar; making further positive lifestyle changes through the power of self-care. You can go as big or small as you need to go, it's a case of making sure you incorporate it into your everyday plans. Self-Care is a wonderful supplement to conventional therapies, and remember: Postnatal Depression will differ from person to person, so it is important that you seek medical advice if you suspect you have PND.