I recently celebrated my daughters third birthday, with a back yard birthday party, cake, balloons and an old fashioned pass the parcel.
I spent the day in awe of just how amazing she really is, what a great little person she was growing into.
I spent the evening crying, that this was in spite of me.
My daughters birthday also marked the anniversary of my battle with PND. A battle I am very fortunate to say that I have won, but it doesn't mean that I don't occasionally stop and think of that battle, and weep at the fight, the destruction and the loss.
Sometimes it can swallow me whole... Moments like her birthday.
The third birthday meant the arrival of many "Babies" to our house, her favorite toy.
She mothers them so well, changing nappies, gently cooing and rocking, clumsily shoving dummies into small plastic mouths.
I had tears of joy at the excitement on her little face when she unwrapped each plastic baby, it's accompanying dummy, bottle and nappy and finally a pink dolls pram to push them around in.
Then it will come, the tears sting the back of my eyes, my face burns hot and I can't help but think that her obsession with these babies is because she missed that from me, that I may have damaged her in that way ..... she will make a great mum one day,
In spite of me.
I watch her play with the dolls from the door way to her room, as quietly as I can to observe her playing as though no one is watching... I feel so proud that she plays so well by herself, that she is content in her own company, and so imaginative.
Then it will come, a pang in the pit of my stomach when I remember it is because she had to be. She is strong and independent because she had to be,
she is imaginative and happy in her own company in spite of me.
Bed time nears and it is spent flicking through photographs of the last three years, such is the birthday tradition.
I sure did take a lot of photos when I was ill. I am grateful for that now, not that it was a conscious choice to take so many snaps, it was a bit of an accidental blessing.
It is easier to hang about behind the scenes when you have a camera in your hand, and no one would ever know.
My daughter chirps happily next to me, poking tiny little fingers at various snaps and says "that's me!"
I gaze at the chubby little cheeks in the photo's, and something huge wells in my throat, and I nod because I am to scared to speak in case the dam bursts.
I don't remember her ever looking like that, so chubby and happy.
Then it comes, conformation that she knows, proof that I may have damaged her, she turns to me and asked.. "Are you sad mummy?"
Her face is so sorrowful and it's mine, she mirrored my mannerisms, my tone, a face she had seen far too often for her three years.
I kiss her and say swallow hard and reply "Mummy's not sad, it's your birthday!!" and I say it in a sing song voice just in case I didn't push the tears far enough back down my chest. I tickle her to distract her from the moment.
I lay next to her and I pat her to sleep, a habit I am reluctant to break.
Then to distract myself, I breathe in the sweet and sour sweaty child smell and write her 21st Birthday speech in my head, and it is filled with all of the great stuff we will do and see, and enough time has passed and enough memories are made that these last few years won't seem so significant.
I tell myself that it is the now that matters, and just because It still hurts sometimes, doesn't mean I am ever going back there.
I will be me again.
In spite of me.
Thought I would include a happy snap, just so you all know I am OK!!! No sympathy please, I don't need any help to feel sorry for myself, But half the Battle of PND is the silence.
Shout it from the rooftops people, There may be some one out there who really needs to read it today, Or tomorrow or next year... so on and so forth...