I never ever thought I would struggle with mental health. I don’t know why I thought I was immune to it. Maybe my ignorance and thinking I was stronger than that (I now know strength has nothing to do with it. Sometimes this stuff is just hard) Or I sailed through my first year as a Mum. I was never phased by much. Then I got pregnant again when Nathan was 1. That was tough but I still didn’t really feel like I wasn’t coping. I had days were I felt a bit stir crazy but it was never something I viewed as a struggle. I put it down to spending all day talking to a babbling baby.
Anyway this time around it has been so much more difficult. For a variety of reasons and I think because I have been evaluating things over the past couple of months that I have been able to see why and be honest about it.
Firstly, the Diastasis Recti was having a bigger impact on me during my pregnancy. I was in a lot more pain quicker because of it. Then I found out I had a condition and it was worrying. The doctors were great and they gave me the information I needed so I am grateful for that but it was scary. To be told not to be alone with your children and if my waters broke, which was a higher risk, that I had to get down on my hands and knees and phone an ambulance, it just knocked my confidence. I was set up on a path of fear. I was terrified to let anyone take my children anywhere because I was convinced that they would be in an accident and only I could keep them safe. Then I had to make the decision about whether to have Harley by c-section or wait to see if she turned, risking an emergency c-section. Then at 7 weeks old she couldn’t breath properly and we were admitted and she was put on oxygen. Too be honest when I look at that I am so proud of how I coped with all that.
Then when I look at my professional life throughout the pregnancies and first year with the 1st two and my last one. I can see how my whole world had changed. I no longer had other older mums to talk to about my time as a Mum or through pregnancy. I didn’t have other women there supporting me through it all. Helping me stay calm or just being there to chat about stuff that wasn’t babies with my last pregnancy.
With the first 2 I had my own gym. I had 6-7 staff working for me and a lot of members relying on me keeping the place running. I felt accomplished and never got the lonely feeling very often.
Fast forward to this time. I had just qualified as a personal trainer when I found out I was pregnant. And with all the issues I had during pregnancy I wasn’t able to build the business. I couldn’t commit to coaching anyone and then the first 6-8 months were just about the baby and getting myself back to where I wanted to be. I lost the part of myself that had defined so much of my 20s.
During my 3rd pregnancy and 1st year post natal I haven’t had as much support from my mum as I had the before and while I know that is no one’s fault it has been hard.
And as much as I love my baby girl she has been a lot harder than the boys. She barely sleeps and when she does it is mostly on me. I am so sleep deprived (but who isn’t ) She is a strong minded girl and while that will be great when she is older, part of me wishes I could dial it down a little until she is past the first few years.
And here comes the common thread that we all feel.
The gut wrenching feeling you get when you think you should have your baby attached to you all the time and you should be overjoyed at the wonder and beauty of your children continuously because so many families don’t have that privilege.
But here I am coming to realisation again that my mental health is much more important than I allow myself to believe and let’s be honest, society pushes the idea of being a selfless, perfect mother on us so much that it is hard to escape.
So I am vowing to not feel guilty about the fact that I don’t enjoy every minute with my children. Sometimes they are hard work.
I am not going to feel guilty that I am looking forward to my daughter starting nursery because I want to build my career again. I love working and i love Fitness, I love working with women. She will benefit from it too. My boys are so good with other people and I want her to feel that too. And I deserve to be something other than someone’s mum. To be multifaceted and live a full life. Being a Mum and partner will always be the most important part but my work is a very close second, as are my friends.
I am also not going to feel guilty about struggling even though I know I have a pretty good life. Great marriage, no money worries. No major health concerns and surrounded by the people who love me but I think when we refuse to acknowledge our own struggles because others have it harder then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and those who need our support.
So if you are having a hard time then know you are not alone. Seek support from those around you. Talk about what is hard. I can guarantee you some other Mum is feeling the same and you might just help each other. And as always I will be there if you need a judgement free ear to bend.