While writing my next post about my day in London, I was also online when I came across a post about the risks of Postpartum Depression. Stop! I feel like I need to react.
First of all, I do agree with One Messy Mama: it’s great that some celebrities honestly talk about their struggle after having given birth. Being a mum is far from being easy. I am experiencing it for the first time and what a change of life! When it was only Grumpy Boyfriend and I in the picture, life was different. I was successful in my job and had it all: travel, theatre, eating out, going out with friends, nice clothes… God how much I missed those days sometimes…
Now it’s far from being as glamorous: I am a mummy at home. I am not complaining. I agreed to take a year off work so that I can look after our little babe. But doubts are in my mind when I am having a bad day. Did I make the right decision? Am I a good mother?
Here are the signs and symptoms of PPD (Postpartum Depression): irritation, anger, feeling overwhelmed, sleep problems, sadness, anxiety, lack of concentration, lack of connection… Am I a mad woman to say that probably all new mothers will feel like that at some point?! However, I am not depressed! I am just a human being who is going through a new journey in her life. It’s all brand new for me and obviously, I will come across those feelings at some point. But do I need to book an appointment with my GP ASAP and get a prescription for Valium?
Yes, I sometimes feel angry. I am in a bad mood, I am frustrated. Who would blame me? Yes, I will transform myself into Mumzilla, especially when Grumpy Boyfriend doesn’t find the dishwasher to put his dirty cup, but leaves it on the kitchen surface for the fourth time in two days. Seriously?!
Do I feel overwhelmed? Let me see. The laundry basket is never reaching level zero for a start. Let’s read this blog. ‘Beep Beep’, it’s time to empty the washing machine. You get a text. ‘Hurrah, I still have some friends’. No, wait, Grumpy Boyfriend is telling me that Belle-Maman will pop in tonight. Your flat is like a champ de bataille and you haven’t brushed your hair yet? Come on Frenchie Mummy, it’s nearly 1pm. Make an effort, would you? At least, you (eventually!) managed to put Baba to sleep. Are the neighbours drilling in the wall right next to Baba’s room now? Here we go, he just woke up. Overwhelmed you said? Moi, jamais.
Talking about sleeping, when was the last time you had a good night? More than 4 months ago? Someone had to feed Baba at 3am and then change him at 6.30am. Tired, you’re therefore more likely to feel a bit Bof.
I mean seriously, look at yourself in the mirror. With your old leggings and this dirty T-shirt on, you are far from being a totty anymore. Your Mummy tummy is still not gone despite all your hard work and your boobs are not feeling the same anymore. So you sometimes feel like a rag. The whole world has an opinion about what you should do with your baby. No wonder why you feel anxious. Am I implementing a good sleeping routine? Am I using the wrong teat? You are puzzled and yes, you might go 5 minutes in the bathroom. Just a little cry. Here we go, you feel way better now it’s done.
Who has never felt this way? Up and down. Yes, sometimes you think you are turning mad. You even feel like slapping whoever is in the room right now. But you put your favourite song on, dance a bit with Baba in your arms (he loves it when Maman is being silly) and you already feel better. Or you might have some of this lemon cheesecake, just a little piece.
Let’s be clear: I am not saying that we should overlook PPD signs and ignore them. Au contraire, if you feel the symptoms are increasing, ask for help from a professional or your family. But let’s not be alarmist. Experiencing anger, sadness or even anxiety during motherhood doesn’t mean you are depressed. It’s just a bad day, like anyone else can experience.
Non Merci, I don’t need any antidepressant or some kind of therapy. I am just being me: a moody cow who sometimes struggles to cope with changes in her life. It’s far from being easy, but I will get through it. If I feel down some day, I will just have a catch up with a friend who had children before me. Her anecdotes will make me laugh and reassure me: I am doing a great job. Probably the most difficult, yet most rewarding (well said One Messy Mama). One day, I will look back at my blog with Baba. ‘Mum, you’re so embarrassing, sérieusement!’ He will roll his eyes. I am smiling just imagining it…
Finding happiness, it’s what it’s about when you enter motherhood. ‘It’s a long way to happiness, a long way but I’m gonna get there’. So pas de panique if you feel down from time to time. It will get better.