Baby blues, seeing red and being green with envy. It's interesting how something as dark and bleak as postnatal depression can actually present itself with so many colours. As a mum who has been affected by it... twice, I've experienced them all.
After my son was born, my 'happy hormones' were going crazy. Wowsers, did I feel good?! The labour was short and since it was my second time around, my recovery physically was super speedy. Once I'd showered, got dressed and devoured a massive breakfast, the midwife asked me if I needed a wheelchair to help me go to the postnatal ward. "Heck no!" I answered with enthusiasm. "I'm fine to walk!"
As the day progressed I was in awe of our little man, the boy I didn't know I desperately wanted (we already had a girl). He was perfect and I was in heaven. I felt good, I had heaps of energy, I was happy and was in a state of constant bliss.
I remember warning my husband that at any moment, the dreaded 'baby blues' would soon kick in and all my happiness would start crashing down around me. I would say to him "Don't get too excited... I feel good now but we know what's coming. Pretty soon there's no doubt I'm going to feel like total crap. Be ready!"
Days went by... they turned into weeks... I still felt good. How could this be? Maybe I won't get the 'baby blues' I thought. Nice!
As it turned out... I didn't get the baby blues. Calm down, don't get excited. There's no need to celebrate because instead I went from blissfully happy to overwhelmingly miserable almost overnight and somehow managed to bypass the 'baby blues' stage altogether. Talk about crashing back down to Earth!
And so began my second journey with postnatal depression.
Wow - see ya later anger management! The first thing I noticed was how totally crazy angry I got when tiny insignificant things happened. I remember yelling at the top of my lungs (sorry neighbours) "I HATE THIS!", speaking of being a mum. If the baby cried, I'd get angry. If he pooped outside of his nappy, I'd get angry. If his big sister did just about anything (poor girl), I'd get angry. I would yell, I would scream, I would be grumpy all the time. I had turned into a monster.
Even now, if I miss a day of my anti-depression medication, I feel my anger management skills disappear and every tiny, little thing starts to annoy me. Someone coughing too loudly, me dropping something on the floor, the kids being... kids. My patience goes AWOL too... it isn't pretty.
Green with Envy
So this is where I'm at now. Do you have any idea how hard it is to see or hear about mums who are having babies and LOVING it? Isn't that an awful thing to say?! While of course I would never wish what I experienced on anyone, I am insanely jealous (and also human so I can't help it) when I see a happy mum with their perfect baby, enjoying a stage of their life I was robbed of, completely, by mental health issues.
I will never have that time back. The 'early weeks and months' of both of my kid's lives were so tainted by misery and I have never, and sadly will never experience what these happy (and mentally healthy) mums are experiencing. Why me? What did I do to deserve that? What makes them so special?
*crying as I write this now*
Now I'm on the road to recovery, at least I am able to identify the colours that have been a part of my journey. I am able to start accepting the blues, reds and greens. I still look out for the other colours because I know they're there. I heard a great quote once... I can't take credit for it - I don't know who said it first, but it wasn't me.
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.
As part of my recovery, I am trying to accept that the colours I use to describe my journey, are a part of who I am. Without clouds, a sunset isn't as colourful. Without those colours in my life, it would be very bland... and boring. (Doesn't make it any easier to accept, of course).