The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide To Not Being 'OK'

When we fall pregnant I think most of us, after the initial excitement and fear, have this image of how motherhood is going to be. We see ourselves in instagram filtered scenes. Us lovingly gazing into our babies eyes. Our baby is probably dressed impeccably in a Cath Kidston babygro and our husband looks on with utter admiration. And whilst all this is going on our hair looks f*cking amazing and our make up is smashing it. And for some people? This dream becomes a reality. But for others. This dream is far removed from what actually happens in that first year of being a Mum.

For some Mums they can feel sad. Like really sad. They can feel alone. They can feel that they will never be good enough for their beautiful little baby. They are not feeling 'OK' in fact they are feeling pretty bloody terrible. The media shouts out to them "THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE SO YOU MUST BE HAPPY" but no matter what they do? They just can't be. You may think that this is a tiny percentage of new Mums but it is a staggering 1 in 10. So in your baby group of 20 Mums it is quite possible that two of them are finding it pretty bloody hard going.

No really I'm fine! This is easy! (sobs into bed)

When I started my blog I never imagined that my words would impact on people. I never imagined that me showing that it is OK to be a bit crap would mean that I get messages on a daily basis from women with some form of perinatel mental illness (or PND as you may know it). They tell me how they felt alone. How they struggled and how me showing my son having tantrums, or me feeling really cross with husband about his inability to do the tumble drying makes them realise that it is OK to not be OK.

Whilst I never suffered from PND I did (and still do) at times feel totally and utterly unworthy and unable to complete my role as a Mother. It is getting easier but there were some moments after my second was born where I used to lie flat down on my bed, in the dark, and silently cry. I would phone my husband screaming that "I WAS RUBBISH" and would walk the streets with a beautiful new born baby in a buggy feeling totally and utterly alone. So I turned to writing. I turned to shouting into the black void of the internet and discovered? I wasn't alone. That most of us struggle some of the time. It doesn't mean we don't love our children. It doesn't mean that they feel unloved. It just means that being a Mother (or Father as they too can suffer with depression) is f*cking hard and we are struggling a bit. And that's OK.

It gets the bit where my husband can't tumble dry

This week is PND Awareness Week. This is the week that you may read this post and think "YES I AM NOT ALONE EMMA WAS A BIT CRAP AND FELT A BIT SAD TOO!".  This is the week you can go and do something about it. You can visit the PANDAS Foundation UK Site and find the help that you need. You can speak to someone who can offer you advice. Who can comfort you and inform you that it really is OK not to be OK, you're not alone and together you will beat this. This could be the week where you gain control and take the baby steps to being that Mum you thought you could be. I'm afraid though that for the first three years at least your hair will look a mess, you will be exhausted and more than likely your husband will be a bit rubbish sometimes. That's normal. And that's OK too.

If you would like to donate to PANDAS (Pre & Post Natal Depression Advice and Support) to help them support sufferers of perinatal mental illnesses please text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660 or visit their website for further information and support. (Texts cost donation amount plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer's permission. Customer care 01691 664275 Charity No 1149485.)

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