This post contains affiliate links but is an open and honest account of my own experiences with anxiety and depression.
At 12 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child, with a 2yo and a 1 yo already I found myself sobbing on the bathroom floor that I just couldn’t do “This” anymore. By this I meant my life. I was so overwhelmed, 2 toddlers, hormones and knowing that life would change again dramatically. I had just been made redundant, which though I knew was coming threw me into a tailspin. I was about to become a fulltime stay at home Mum with 3 kids under 4. While I had always wanted to do exactly that the reality was far from how I imagined it and I was having a hard time. I went and saw my Doctor and was diagnosed with perinatal depression. I struggled through the next 12 months trying to find the answers, while pretending I had it all together,
Then in 2014 I found an online program called the Happy Mum Handbook. It was run by Jackie Hall at The Parental Stress Centre of Australia and it got me out of my rut. It got me moving forward again and not only that by the end of the year I was working for Jackie supporting other parents. I had found my passion and drive. Helping other parents through those tough years of parenting. I learnt so much from those programs and even more from the parents involved. The more they shared the more I realised that we all put up a front, we all pretend to have it all together but behind closed doors we fear failure, or judgement or that we are not good enough.
For 2 years I walked my talk, I practiced what I had learnt and resettled into my role as a Mum without feeling like I had to let go of being me. At the end of 2016 however I felt myself slipping back into old patterns or feeling and reacting (over reacting) to my kids. I started to feel that old treasure Mummy Guilt again and I felt myself slipping back towards my depression again. By day I was supporting other parents, helping them break free of their own anxieties, reconnect with their kids and find the joy in everyday but by night I was a mess, feeling like I was not only a failure but a fraud. I knew the techniques, I had the tools but I had simply lost my will to try. Each day I would promise myself tomorrow would be different as I sat on the couch eating chocolate and binge watching reality TV.
I knew it was time to stop saying “Tomorrow” and make my own mental health a priority. I talked to Jackie and decided that it was time to immerse myself in the lessons again as a participant. Anxiety and depression take a hold of your thoughts and pull you into a pattern of reactivity and I knew that I needed to be proactive to break that pattern before I slid all the way back into depression.
The Happy Mum Handbook Program is available anytime as a 9 week self paced program or as a 10 week “Live” program. I have joined the 10 week Live program with a group of Mums all working through the weekly material together. We access to support from Jackie in live webinars and can connect with each other as well as Jackie in a closed support group. Each week I will have weekly videos and readings and homework activities to complete. Each week I will share my experience here, openly and honestly.
As a Mum I want to be the best I can be for my kids. I know I have not been that Mum for the past 6 months. Its not about perfection, it’s about moving forward and I am ready to get moving.
If you are experiencing postnatal depression you do not have to face it alone. In Australia Postnatal Depression (PND) effects 1 in 7 new Mums and 1 in 10 new Dads (ref. PANDA). These are only the reported cases, many parents still do not reach out for help.
If you feel you are experiencing Anxiety or depression speak to your Doctor or contact Beyond Blue on: 1300 224 636
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