How postnatal depression has affected my decision to stop at 2.

January 27, 2018

With the dreaded return of menstruation, my body is starting to send out the clucky hormones once again.  It's telling me "Come on Mama, time's-a-ticking! Let's get on with making another baby!" And for the first time since I had our second child, I've given it some serious thought. 


Packing away our son's newborn baby clothes - the select few we have decided to keep - as my ovaries start to tingle, I can't help but think "Maybe it would be ok.  Maybe it wasn't that bad?"  But then I remember, with painful clarity, how distant I felt from my son when he was tiny enough to fit any those clothes... and I thought "Yes it was."


The thing about postnatal depression is that despite recovery (for me that meant counselling and medication), it never leaves your life completely.  Even years later - and I imagine for the rest of my life - it will play a big part in some


decisions I make.  One of those decisions is to not have any more kids.


There are 2 main thoughts that have lead to my postnatal depression affecting my decision to stop at 2.


1. There's no way I'm putting myself through that again!

The reality is, there's no way for sure I would go through it again.  Depression does not discriminate and can haunt anyone, regardless to how much they have been haunted by it in the past.  Likewise, even if I've had postnatal depression (twice), it doesn't necessarily make me any more likely to get it again.  However, those few months were the darkest and loneliest of my life... and if there's even a micro-chance I could experience it again, I'm not interested.


I hate that my postnatal depression has - and always will - have this hold of me.  


2. I'm not strong enough.

Even though I've recovered and feel well again... I am still full of doubt.  I can be on the best medication and be supported by the best medical professionals in the world, and I somehow still manage to convince myself, I'm simply not strong enough.  I get angry too quickly.  I can't handle change, stress, chaos... I'm a nightmare when I'm sleep deprived.  I find it impossible to stay calm.  I'm weak.


All of these thoughts are completely irrational, I know.  I completely believe I am doing a superb job of looking after our two young children right now, despite the times I get angry and frustrated... but a newborn?  All I remember from those days is feeling miserable and hating being a mum... so why on earth would I test myself again with another one?  No thank you.


I hate that my postnatal depression has - and always will - have this hold of me.


As I fold the last of the tiny baby clothes and put it in the box with the others, I can't help but feel a little sad that I won't be holding a baby so small in my arms again.  I often wonder what we would do if I didn't have postnatal depression.  Would we try again for number 3 or would we just be happy with the 2 wonderful children we have now?  


PND robbed me of an experience I will never know.  Despite being the mother of 2 kids, I will never really experience what it's like to enjoy being the mother of a newborn... and that's incredibly sad and unfair.  It stops me from having the courage to try again... which I hate.  


I could dwell on this reality... or I could focus on the fact that a decision has been made (regardless of the reason) and enjoy being the best mum I can be to the two fabulous little people we already have.


Yeah... I think I'll do that.  Recovery looks like this.


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Furaha Mamas Incorporated is a volunteer based support group for mothers who suffer from anxiety and/or depression. Our purpose is to share experiences and what has and/or hasn’t been helpful. We do not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and do not replace the role of medical or other health professionals. Furaha Mamas Incorporated does not take responsibility for comments or advice given by any participant that may be acted upon by another.

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