Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Spite Of Me.

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.

Emma xx


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...


Ozziethriftmumma said...

Amazing post. As a fellow PND battler i can relate to alot of this. Congrats on such a beautiful and healthy little cherub:)

Jenn@Fox in the City said...

I am beginning to suspect that a great majority of mums, particulary those who have battled PPD/PND, worry that they have somehow damaged their children. Lord knows I look at my little guy and think that there is no way he could have escaped being affected by my damaged brain.

I am also beginnin to suspect that we mums are so far wrong when it comes to this worry. Our kids are strong, loving and understanding because they have seen their mums battle as hard as possible to be strong and healthy and they just know that this is for them.

Madam Bipolar said...

You have not damaged her. She is a perceptive little darling. Sensitive and caring. Those are good things in my book.
I know what the flash backs are like. They are the worst but congratulate yourself on coming so far and for inspiring others, like me, who are still in their hole.
You'll always be my bomber.

Kellie said...

I often wonder the same thing about my little man, he is so independent and I think that it's because he had to be. In reality, he's just more like me than I realise. Took a lot of work to get to that realisation though.

You're a wonderful Mumma x

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

This hits too close to home for me to leave any semblance of a good comment.
The flip side, which I can think of when I'm in a good place, is that we are teaching our kids resilience... one of the best traits to have.

Anonymous said...

Maybe part of the problem with PND is that so much is internalised and mothers worry that their feelings are somehow passed on. Lets face it for most kids their major needs are food, drink and sometimes a cuddle, which I know Miss 3 got plenty of. I can only remember you as being a caring loving interested and participating mother.

Miss Pink said...

Sometimes I think that the reason for some of the greatest parts about my kids is how my issues leave me somewhat distanced. But also that having them has connected me to myself more.

You went through a dark time, and you disconnected, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing. I don't think that you have ruined her in any way at all, and having been through what you have maybe helps you be a better parent to her now than those who haven't gone through that dark time?

I look at my kids, Bluey who is so independant, and kind, loving, and intelligent, but emotional, quick to worry.
Are those emotional problems because of me? Because I don't know how to handle my own feelings much less teach him how to handle his.

Greenie who is shy, reserved and can be clingy, is it because when I had him I was in the height of my social anxiety, did he somehow catch it?
It's scary to wonder. To assume.
Best to hope. xx

Anonymous said...

A very brave and honest post Emma! Any form of mental illness needs to be spoken about! I have PTSD and you have your good and bad, but anniversaries and certain things take me back. Good on you for sharing this personal post!

Natalie said...

Wonderful post, thankyou!

Anonymous said...

Children learn from watching us as their parents and mentors, and just as she mirrored your sadness on her birthday, her loving actions toward her 'babies' is a learned response that can only come from one place! From you, Emm! As women and mothers we all fuss and worry over the things that are not right; our hair, weight, fashion, skin, and of course our kids, in this fast paced society it is all too easy to fall into concentrating on the negatives and completely overlooking the positives because after all, who wants to be seen as conceited, right! Self confidence has been given a bit of a bashing over the past couple of decades, those women who have it, are frowned upon by others who prefer the path of self doubt, whispering things along the lines of "OMFG, she is sooo up herself"...Anyway before I get carried away, I guess what I am trying to say is you are not alone xxxx, as a PTSD/PND sufferer myself, and a Psychology student, driven to do so after the birth of my babies and recognizing the HUGE need for essential care for mothers and their mental well being after childbirth!!!!! I really do understand the in spite of me thing, because I am EXACTLY the same with the way I think.....However through my studies I have learnt that our thought patterns are changeable so instead of thinking she is a wonderful girl who will grow into an incredible mother in spite of me, actively change your thoughts to; she will be all these things BECAUSE of me as her Mum (the only Mum she has ever known or LOVED) it is both your right and your privilege to be confident in your mothering abilities......... We all waver in our skills from day to day! Nobody is perfect all the time! thanks for sharing your inner thoughts on such a heart wrenching topic! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Oh just a little clue as to who just wrote this hugely boring comment - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Haha, it says I choo choo choose you, and it has a picture of a train on it (LOL! you just read that in Ralph's voice didn't you)

Becky from said...

This is a beautiful post, one that I can relate to. And you're so right, the silence is such an enabler. Thank you for sharing.