Note: This post contains reference to suicidal thoughts and may be triggering for some people so please proceed with caution
It’s difficult to admit this but there was a time when I thought I would never see my son start school. I was convinced I would be either dead, in a psychiatric ward or Caterpillar would have been taken away from me since I was unfit.
When he was a tiny baby I was so unwell, and the future seemed so immense, I simply couldn’t see how I could survive the next few years, or the next few minutes. The responsibility of having a child crushed me and made me feel breathless and panicked. Even an hour felt like a week so the idea of looking three or four years ahead was unbareable.
This is the nature of postnatal anxiety. In reality, I was taking care of him just fine. He was clean, fed, healthy and smiley. He had no idea about the thoughts wreaking havoc in my tired mind. Almost all thoughts triggered by clinical depression & anxiety are false, or exaggerated. Our normal thinking patterns and coping mechanisms are skewed because the part of our brain that creates the feeling of fear, a natural and essential human response, has become unbalanced. When you think of it in these terms; simply as an excess of adrenaline and intrusive thoughts that aren’t real, anxiety seems really quite benign. But when it has you in it’s needy grasp you cannot hold this logic inside you, you only believe the fear you feel.
I got help and began to learn how to manage the anxiety. But even then, during that painfully long recovery period, I began to long for the time when Caterpillar would go to school and be off my hands for several hours a day. When I would have time to breathe, when I wouldn’t have to question how much I was enjoying motherhood constantly. Realising you’re wishing your son’s babyhood away is a painful and guilt-ridden experience. Walking past the school he would one day attend and dreaming of when I could drop him there made me feel utterly terrible. But I still wasn’t quite well, I hadn’t completed my journey.
In three weeks time my son will begin preschool. Despite my fears, time has passed and he is now ready to spend three hours a day in a teacher’s care instead of mine. Sometimes that time seems to have rushed by but often I feel every single moment. Although I’m not one of those mums who wants to keep her child at home with her forever (I am definitely ready for this transition and so is he) I am certainly a different mum from the one who walked passed that school pushing a nine week old baby in his pram and wishing the years away. I have balance now. Yes, sometimes he pushes my buttons to such a degree I look joyfully towards September but other times we have so much fun and share so much love I want to snuggle him in my arms and keep him just this size.
He grows more independent every day and as the beginning of school looms this fact becomes clearer and clearer. Experiencing the miscarriage, and therefore no longer having the cushion of the knowledge that another small baby is on it’s way, only exasperates this feeling of Caterpillar growing away from me. Will I cry at the gate? Maybe. Will I get home and sob for the end of this stage of his life and his early months that I lost? Probably.
But mostly I feel jubilant. Not to have some time back (okay, maybe a little) but because we have reached a day I never thought I’d see. Despite my worries about being a terrible mother, my son is funny, clever and ready to start this new stage of his life. I did that. With an amazing husband and supportive family, I made this awesome boy from scratch. I survived, in the literal sense, I didn’t give into those dark thoughts and he is the proof. And if that doesn’t deserve some celebrating I don’t know what does.
Never give up hope. If the days seem so very long and you can’t fathom how you are going to raise this tiny baby into a functioning child. If your head is full of anxiety’s lies, just hold on. Take life day by day, or minute by minute, and soon those minutes will add up and you’ll realise that you are well, and happy and your child is strong and absolutely fine.
The school gate beckons and we’re both ready, in the best way.
41 comments on “A New Era I Never Thought I’d See”
Thanks for an honest account of your feelings on wanting a few hours to yourself. This is something that I struggle with on a regular basis with my 8 month old and I often wonder if I will last until she goes to school. I am then met with overwhelming guilt for having these thoughts.
I actually wrote a blog about my experience of having Bipolar as a mother and needing time to myself, I hope you don’t mind if I share the link below.
Keep up the good work.
Of course not, link away. Bipolar must be incredibly tough to manage alongside motherhood. Thanks for reading, stay well xxx
I relate to the guilt of wishing time away. It is very hard to admit to yourself just how much of a failure it makes you feel. Thanks for sharing xx #stayclassymama
Mum Guilt is the worst, thanks for reading x
Well done to you and your boy! I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better ; I hear you on time flying by, but also feeling every minute . It’s ok not to enjoy it all the time. I hope you both thrive in this new phase #stayclassymama
Thanks so much
This is such a sad post for me – its like you have taken all my inner feelings from when Pie was born and written them down. I wished time away, consumed with guilt for wishing him away and anxiety about how I was raising him. Now as he starts school in September, I dread him being gone. I was so desperate for him to go to school, to give me a break and now I know I will be weeping at the gate. Missing his little voice and his hand in mine #ablogginggoodtime
I understand completely. I think just try to focus on the positives and savour the time you do have together. Thanks for reading and your kind words xxx
I know I was definitely guilty of wishing away those early days – they just seemed to stretch endlessly in front of me. But now my son is my little companion, we go everywhere together, and I can hardly remember not having my little partner in crime by my side. He’ll start pre-school next year and it feels like a huge milestone. I think it’s that overwhelming sense of pride that makes every parent well up when it comes to starting school – I’m sure I’ll be in floods! Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove
Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…#SharingtheBlogLove #9
Exactly. The pride is immense and actually pride is the only emotion that never left me even when I was unwell. Thanks for reading x
Lovely and meaningful post and well done you for overcoming things that you thought you wouldn’t #PoCoLo
Chantelle Hazelden recently posted…My August Favourites
Thank you, lovely x
As someone who has battled on and off with depression for a number of years, I can really relate to this post. As you say, the thoughts are very exaggerated but they feel so intensely real at the time and no amount of logic from others can convince you otherwise. Congratulations on getting this far – you must’ve battled this illness really hard, and your little Caterpillar sounds lovely. #PoCoLo
Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) recently posted…Themed Activities: Farms, Trains & Unicorns!
Thank you so much, and I send you lots of positive thoughts for your own recovery xx
What a beautifully written post and I feel so delighted for you that this new phase awaits. I was a Samaritan for 6 years and spoke to many people during that time and whilst every case was different, the one overriding thought I was always left with was that this person is working through so much and asking for help and wants to carry on. Depression, anxiety, all of these things are just horrendous and each experience will be different, your words of hope and encouragement to everyone going through something no matter how big or small are so comforting X #PoCoLo
Thanks so much for your lovely comment – and for the work you did with the Samartians! I called them twice when I was at my lowest and it’s a vital service xx
A beautifully written post on such a hard subject that I know effects many mums in silence. You have come so far, I can not begin to understand how you must have felt, but you have done so well for you and your little man. Enjoy your time and please as i did do not pack in too much to do. This was one huge lesson I learnt the hard way #picknmix
Sarah – Mud Cakes and Wine recently posted…The New Garden Fence
Thank you for the advice and your kind words xx
You are so honest and I love reading this. Thanks for sharing. #ablogginggoodtime
Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) recently posted…Train To Backwell Lake
I can only imagine how hard this is, such a brave and honest post. You shouldn’t feel guilty, no one chooses to have anxiety or depression. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
A Cornish Mum recently posted…Scooter Tips and Tricks with Halfords
Good for you for recognizing that you needed help and getting it. Unfortunately there are all too many that are never able to take that first step #picnmix
jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…War of The Pets
I couldn’t agree more. I try to use this blog to help them. Thanks for reading and commenting
Congratulations to you both! Here’s to many more firsts! #pocolo
Charlene recently posted…Many rivers to cross or why the blog has gone a bit sh*t
A beautifully honest post and I can relate to this. I am guilty of wishing the time away, it can all feel too much at times and the calling of school sounds so appealing. But with Alice about to start school in a couple of weeks I now feel guilty for feeling that, because actually I will miss her so much and would keep her little forever if I could. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove Laura x
Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Peppa Pig World, Massages and Carfest…Happy Days #23
I was very fortunate to not suffer at all after the birth of both my girls and I’m so glad you managed to get help and are now doing really well.
You’ve come such a long way and this post will help so many that are struggling. My CBT trainer told me the same thing about anxiety, that most thought that trigger it are false. It helped me so much to realise I was “normal” and these things happen.
Notmyyearoff recently posted…The National Wallace Monument
This is such a lovely post, you are so honest about your feelings and I love how it comes full circle from you standing in front of the school with a 9 week old baby to now. This really makes me want to appreciate these moments with my son who is currently 8 months, although sometimes he does get on my nerves and I think, “do I have to like my child every day?” And then I feel guilty for these thoughts. Parents are always in a catch-22 : ). Thanks for this lovely post and sharing with #StayClassyMama!
The Mum Project recently posted…Stay Classy Mama Link Party No. 24
I think what I came to realise is even if you don’t feel like you like your child every day, or you don’t enjoy being a mother every day, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or that you aren’t doing the best job you can. Thanks for commenting xxx
Lovely post. Depression and anxiety, something I have personal experience of, can make everything seem unattainable because as you say, you never quite think you’ll make it. I’m glad you’ve now got some balance and I hope that you continue to receive any help you need and love yourself, even when you feel well.
Thanks for your supportive words
Sadly guilt, depression and anxiety sneak up on us and consume. They are not discriminatory in who they choose to rule and when they get their grip it’s a hard battle to escape. I’m so glad you got the help you needed and that you’re deal with all the transitions in life that he and you will experience.
The hardest thing I found with PND was that there was nothing physical, nothing with which I could show to reach out for help. Someone with an arm in a cast would warrant sympathy and people would see that they were in pain but with something so internal it’s easy to hide from others and equally they then can’t see your pain.
A hugely honest post, thank you so much. #stayclassymama
Oh wow what an honest post! I love reading honest posts. So sorry you had to go through this lovely but so glad you are still here and you’re so strong.
Life as Mum recently posted…#BestTimesCaptured
This is such an amazingly honest post. I see so much of myself here too, never thought we’d pull through to school… but we are doing well in Kindergarten. sending you hugs Laura. Thanks for putting this up.
“We are both ready, in the best way.”
Samoina (@Samoina) recently posted…First of many
wow thanks for sharing such an honest post – we do sometimes just need space and time to ourselves. Im sorry you went through this but glad you are on the other side too!
Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime
Mummy in a TuTu (@mummyinatutu) recently posted…#ABloggingGooodTime Week 14
Amazing, beautiful and honest post. I didn’t suffer with PND per se, but I do remember when F was only a few days old and the baby blues were hitting hard, I told myself over and over that O’s first two years had passed in the blink of an eye and we would be out of the exhausting baby stage soon. Now he’s almost two and I don’t know where that time has gone. Sometimes I wish I could freeze him at this age for just a little bit longer.
So although I have no real idea of the hell you went through inside your mind, I just want you to know that I don’t think you were terrible to wish that time away at all. I understand. Even for mums who don’t suffer with PND, this is a tough gig sometimes!
Sending so much love to you. X
Davina recently posted…Review: Baker Days Letterbox Cake
Wow, what a journey you’ve been through. You’re so brave for sharing this post and I’m so glad you’ve got to the positive place you are now. I’m going to be so so emotional when my little one starts preschool, ahh. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
Kaye recently posted…Baby Blue’s 1 Month Update with Cuddledry®
I feel all emotional after reading your post. It’s so true that time goes so quickly. Don’t feel guilty about wanting a bit of space, I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they don’t feel like this every now and again. We have another year before school. Wishing you both luck. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam xx
Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Are You Coming to BABY Born’s 25th Birthday Party at Toys R Us, London?
You’re very brave to share this post, I think it will help a lot of women cope with thoughts and feelings. I’m glad you recognised you needed help and got the help you need. It’s a tough time when your child goes to school, letting them go is hard but it is so exciting watching them grow and make new friends.
Thanks for linking to #pocolo (sorry for the late comment).
Morgan Prince recently posted…Cute anniversary gifts your Hubby will love