After months of feeling lost, Christmas brought a turning point in my Post Natal Depression. The days were getting cold and dark, leaving me trapped in the house, but with Christmas events filling out diary, I suddenly found myself the busiest I had been in a long time.
As Christmas approached, I completed my course of CBT. It really helped me change the way I thought about myself. I wasn’t so hard on myself and realised that it was OK to find motherhood hard. I was also taking quite a high dose of antidepressants; I no longer felt like I was dragging myself through each minute of the day. It had taken a while to convince me that taking antidepressants was a good idea because I had a notion that they were bad (this lead to me stopping them cold turkey further down the road). However, I needed the high dose to help me claw my way out of the black pit of depression I’d fallen in to.
I actually found myself wanting to do things. It was doing stuff, getting out and about, that really helped. We signed up to a swimming class. We went to a baby group. I met with friends. I started to work out how to do the shopping with a baby. She still napped on me and her sleep was terrible, but somehow it was OK. I was used to it. I didn’t resent her for taking so much from me. I accepted that it was just what she needed at the moment.
But the thing that really started my recovery was preparing for Christmas. Choosing presents for Boo made me start to see how much I loved her. I was so excited and wanted to buy her EVERYTHING. I also started to feel proud of her – she was developing so much. And she was smiling!
The second reason was having a creative outlet. That year, funds were tight so I enlisted my mother and her kiln to make everybody a tree decoration as a present. We pressed Boo’s footprint onto hearts then glazed them in a festive red. Designing them was great fun! I also decided to make Christmas cards. We made 50! Poor Boo probably didn’t want to make 50 but I suddenly found something I was confident doing as a Mum. I got all set up and let Boo play with the paint. We made little footprint cards. My days were suddenly filled with activities that both of us enjoyed. I didn’t resent sitting and shaking a rattle and listening to an awful tune for the 100th time.
We also saw family a lot more. The girls of the family all met up to make wreaths. Mum and I hung out loads while we pressed them fired the decorations. My sister came with us to meet Santa. My diary was suddenly full again and I enjoyed it.
If it had been full of activities that were all baby focused, I would have gone mad. But because it was Christmas, there were naturally a lot of events that I could enjoy too. I found myself again. But not only that, I found myself as a mother. I found parts of motherhood that were enjoyable. I was less isolated and overwhelmed meaning that i found that I was coping with juggling daily life with parenthood.
Over the next few months, there were still days that I felt very low. There were days that I felt like a failure as a Mum. As a human, even. Recovery isn’t linear. But that first moment when you truly know that you will get better, you have the hope and courage to fight hard until you are well again.