When you’re in the grips of a Perinatal Mental Illness nothing exists except that terrible moment; that fear and that sadness. But a brighter future does exist…and recovery is possible.
Then, I was terrified of being a mum. I felt an unspeakable urge to run away. I wondered if my son would be better off without me….Now I can’t imagine my life without him.
Then, I couldn’t sleep a wink for nights on end. I imagined I’d be a lifelong insomniac…Now I could fall asleep standing up with a toddler hanging onto my foot (this has happened).
Then, I was having panic attacks several times a day….Now I can’t remember the last one.
Then, I had frightening, violent thoughts about hurting myself or my son…Now I’ve learnt to barely even notice my thoughts at all, weird or otherwise.
Then, cuddling my baby boy made me feel trapped, panicked and uncomfortable….Now I don’t let go until he does.
Then, the future stretched out like a terrible abyss and every new day felt like a chore…Now I look forward to tomorrow.
Then, I worried how I’d take care of my son and every upcoming milestone felt like a choking responsibility…Now I’ve weaned, potty trained and watched him grow, and I feel confident about raising him to be a good man.
Then, I wondered if I loved my baby…Now I tell him every ten minutes, and it’s the easy truth.
Then, I feared I wasn’t enjoying motherhood…Now I don’t really care if I am or not. Some moments are amazing and some are hard – but all are fine.
Then, I wanted to be the perfect mother…Now I just want to be me.
Then, I wanted to die…Now I’m really living.