I’ve asked the lovely Hayley West to write a guest blog this month. Hayley and…
It happens to us all. Facebook flashes up one of your photos from a few years ago and it takes you straight back to that moment in time. Most of the time, for me, those moments are happy ones but the cute, innocent photo of my daughter at 10 months in April 2011 made me gasp for air.
The photo, taken by me, of her smiling in a cute sun hat looked angelic, but it hid the depths of depression I was battling with at that time. The photo brought up those long months of numbness which consumed me, starting when she was 12 weeks old.
This was my second pregnancy and my first one to get to full-term – a real reason to celebrate in our family. Our much longed-for daughter was born. Sister to our son who was 2 at the time. To say I was euphoric was an understatement. Within 3 days I was literally as high as a kite. I was barely sleeping at all, not because our new baby was awake but because I was busy. Busy being creative, writing, doing jobs, writing lists and copious notes about anything and everything. I was diagnosed with Puerperal Psychosis and given strong medication to bring me back to earth. I was told to give up breastfeeding and didn’t have the fight in me to find out if this was the only option. I was gutted. The medication helped and I returned to ‘normal’ for a few weeks and then, after 3 months, the sinking feelings began.
I remember sitting outside in our garden with my case worker. I began to describe the start of the slow draw of the black hole and the numbness which was gradually becoming my reality. My zest for life was being taken away. I was still under a psychiatrist and we spent months trying different doses of medication. I remember one friend saying “You need to be prepared for this to last a year”. She was right. It took 12 months to get my depression under control with medication and CBT sessions. I began to see the black turning to grey and gradually more and more light came back in to my world at that time.
I have very few memories of that 12 month period, but I do have photographs. Those photographs record perfectly my daughter’s first year. I treasure them, but I feel I was never really present in them.
And once I felt better, I still needed to regain my confidence and build my self-esteem. I returned to work, I started exercising regularly, my eating improved and I cooked more nutritious meals. I started to meet with friends again and took care of myself. Since then I’ve had some ups and downs but never sunk to those depths. I’ve used my story to come alongside other mums who have struggled after giving birth and my coaching practice enables me to support women on their individual journeys to regaining their zest for life and bossing the mum juggle.
Future Path Life Coaching
Tel: 07774 216750
I am an ACC qualified coach with the International Coaching Federation. I set up my coaching business in 2016 to come alongside mums to help them access their capable self. You can work with me on a 1:1 basis, either face to face, socially distanced walking, or online. You can also join one of my group coaching programmes, The Mum Boardroom, meeting monthly. To read my blog, click here.