I’m struggling.

May 5, 2017

I’m struggling. There, I said it. I’ve been bottling it up for the past few days because I felt like I shouldn’t write about it on the blog or social media. Who wants to listen to someone moaning? Then I realised that it’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness week and that this is exactly the reason people become overwhelmed by their problems. This idea that we have to present only one facet of our lives, the positive moments; keeping a stiff upper lip and pretending that everything is fine.

Before falling pregnant with Little M I had issues with mild depression and anxiety. My hormones played havoc with my emotions and every month I would turn into an anxious, insecure wreck. The littlest things would leave me feeling completely worthless. I’d have to hope that I could get through ‘that time of the month’ without anything even remotely negative happening, to try to avoid spiraling into feelings of despair.

Eventually, these feelings had an overwhelming impact on my teaching career and I took the decision to resign. I saw my GP, and she recognised that these negative feelings were heightened around the time of my period and was incredibly supportive. My doctor is fantastic and doesn’t mince her words. She knew that we were planning to try for a baby in the near future and gave the option of medication (which I declined) but assured me that pregnancy would ‘sort me out’ hormonally.

Boy, was she right! Honestly, I felt so…balanced while pregnant. I put it down to just being so happy to be starting a family, being a newlywed and just generally being content in life. After Little M was born, obviously the initial hormone dip was hard (that’s an understatement!) but things evened out and I’ve been pretty okay…until my periods got going again.

I’ve realised that these feelings are arising not because of anything that may or may not be happening with my life (although when I am generally feeling low, there is usually something which triggers a meltdown), but because hormones are affecting the way I think and feel about myself and situations. It’s incredible the change in mood that it can bring about; when I say meltdown I really mean it. I’ll find myself sobbing over the smallest of things.

Then comes the guilt of feeling and behaving this way in front of my daughter. “Don’t let M see you’re upset,” said my husband the other night. Cue more sobbing for feeling as though I’m damaging our child by being upset. For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for Little M to see that I’m upset. There’s a good chance that she’ll go through similar one day and it’s important for her to know that even strong-minded, kind-hearted, independent women go through these feelings sometimes. Although to be honest, I don’t feel strong-minded in the least at the moment.

It’s temporary, though. In a couple of days (or maybe even by the time I’ve clicked publish on this post) I’ll feel completely fine, and wonder what on earth the fuss was about. I just have to remind myself of this and try to rationalise it as best I can, until it passes. Getting out for a walk, taking Little M to a baby class or watching a film while scoffing copious amounts of chocolate can all help.

Maternal mental health awareness week, mental health, talking about mental healt, low mood, hormones

But there’s no substitute for talking to someone. Yesterday I took a deep breath and mentioned how I was feeling on social media. I was overwhelmed by the kind responses from other people. I also spoke to a couple of my mummy friends on Whatsapp and they were lovely. No judgement over how I was feeling, just support. I wish I’d said something sooner as I’d already spent two days feeling terrible.

Anyway, I’m not writing this to have a moan. I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not suicidal or suffering from PND. Little M is perfectly safe and loved and well cared for. I just want you to know that if you’re reading this and nodding along, or feeling similar feelings to the ones I’ve described, then you’re not alone, and it will pass.

19 responses to “I’m struggling.”

  1. It is totally fine not to be ok lovely. This is a rough patch but it will get easier. Here if you need to talk xxxx

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. I know. I feel better already today and tomorrow I’ll probably wonder what on earth I was getting upset about! xx

  2. It is totally fine not to be ok lovely. This is a rough patch but it will get easier. Here if you need to talk xxxx

  3. Sarah says:

    Well done, for writing about how you feel. You’re right that we definitely don’t talk about this stuff enough. I wouldn’t say I ever felt depressed before I had children but I have struggled emotionally ever since Toby was born nearly 4 years ago. I’ve never been formally diagnosed with PND but I’m pretty sure I’ve had (have?) it. The only person who has even a vague idea of how much I struggle is my husband because I never wanted to admit I wasn’t coping. I hope talking about this has helped you feel a bit better x

    • Jules says:

      I think the majority of people suffer with mental health issues on some level, but most don’t dare to admit it. My GP has been fabulous so I’d recommend seeing yours. It doesn’t have to mean medication, mine helped me to get some CBT and it really helped x

  4. Amie peers says:

    I’m so glad you shared this post. It’s literally like reading my own life. I’ve spent years feeling this way every time of the month and it took me a really long time to notice the connection so it’s so good to hear I’m not alone! Im not feeling as balanced in this pregnancy as I did last time, but definitely less fluctuations in feelings. Keep us updated with how things are going and if you find anything that helps. Big hugs xxx

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. I’m glad it’s helped you, even if it’s just to know that you’re not alone. I’m hoping to have another pregnancy in the not too distant future so will just ride it out for now. Thank you for your words of support xx

  5. I could have written this myself, especially today…but there are people in my life who read my blog who already feel I overshare and it probably would have made matters worse for me taking on the criticism. Thanks for sharing this though, it’s def how I feel – and I’m totally aware it will pass, it’s like a little rollercoaster sometimes x

    • Jules says:

      Big hugs to you. If you ever want to talk, just ping me a message on social media. Fortunately my family have been supportive in what I’ve written. It’s so difficult when you have people expecting you to behave a certain way, when all you want to do is shout out how you’re feeling. I hope it passes for you quickly xx

  6. Al says:

    It’s so important not to keep it bottled up and to share your feelings with others. I hope you’re feeling better today. 🙂

  7. Well done for writing this lovely, it’s important and you’re amazing. Sending loads of love and I am always here for you, any time of the day or night xx

  8. I’m glad that this seems to be a monthly thing rather than something that is there constantly. It’s great that you’ve addressed it on here as I’m sure there are lots of others in the same boat.

  9. Kay says:

    It’s amazing how good it feels to open up about how you’re feeling. It definitely helps me when my anxiety is bad xxx

  10. Alyssa says:

    I’m sorry you are struggling. I think everyone struggles to some degree.

  11. Mrs H says:

    Oh lovely, I hate to think of you feeling this way. But you should be proud of yourself for writing this. And I am pleased to hear that you’ve got a good doctor. I also want you to know that although it is horrible to have those feelings it is okay to feel this way. No one thinks you are a bad mother or that you would hurt Little M. And I am often upset in front of my children. I think it is right that they know I am only human. That Mummy gets upset and cries too. I’m here if you ever need to chat. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  12. Well done for writing this. I am having a bit of a wobble at the moment but finding it hard to write it down as it will all just come spilling! But like you it will pass and I will probably be feeling fine by tomorrow 🙂 ox

    • Jules says:

      Oh bless you. Write it, even if you don’t publish. Hopefully the very act of getting it out there will make you feel better. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you x

  13. Lucy At Home says:

    Aaah well done for being brave and talking about it. I have struggled with these sorts of feelings in the past (although thankfully it seems to be under control at the moment). I think it’s important to remember that these feelings are to do with hormones and difficult circumstances, so don’t start blaming yourself. Also, this post obviously meant a lot to someone because they added it to the blogcrush linky. #blogcrush

    • Jules says:

      Thank you. Yes it’s definitely related to my hormones and as I’ve said, I recognise that and use it to try and rationalise my feelings. Glad to hear that things are going well for you at the moment.

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