Another Father’s day is here and for us, it’s the third one as a family. Wow, really?
This occasion (as well as many others) made me think about dads’ roles in the world of parenting.
Can’t help thinking as though dad’s role as such was often somewhat forgotten about… And what is even worse – as though it was normal this way! As if it was a mother alone who deserves all the credit.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not taking anything away from strong mothers who also work or mothers who have an extremely difficult job of parenting roles (Absolutely amazing by the way! Never forget that).
With Father’s day coming up, I want to point out to the subject of fathers and postnatal depression as I feel it is despite its significance often overlooked or even ignored.
Postpartum depression has typically been perceived as a problem limited to women with newborn babies and has not included men.
However, we cannot forget that fathers also experience significant changes with the arrival of their child. Fathers also have to adjust to an array of new and demanding roles and tasks during the early stages of parenthood.
I often talk about postnatal depression, but I have realised I have never written about what postnatal depression actually is.
Personally, I am familiar with everything that relates to postnatal depression, but I am aware that this is not the case for everyone. There are plenty of people who still have no clue what it actually is, or even perceive it as some kind of a whim on the part of the sufferer.
I had an entry into the 2006 London marathon but unfortunately suffered an injury so had to defer. I then realised that if I moved quickly there was a chance I could become pregnant with my second child and still be able to run in the 2007 marathon and not lose my deferred place.
I was incredibly fortunate that with both pregnancies I didn’t suffer with morning sickness or any pains. I managed to keep running through both pregnancies. With the second one, I managed a gentle 5 mile run in some light snow in the morning and then went into labour that evening.
Unfortunately, my daughter (like my son) has to be extracted immediately due to the monitors showing they were in distress so I had to have emergency sections for both.
Do you feel overwhelmed by your thoughts and/or feelings?
I believe it won’t be anything new for you when I advise you to talk about it. Especially when these thoughts/feelings can significantly impact your mental health. Especially when you are a new mum dealing with feelings of sadness, failure, overwhelm, loneliness, isolation… Talking is undoubtedly the best thing you can do.
The reason is simple. Talking can literally save you.
With the Mother’s day approaching, I cannot help thinking back to my first Mother’s day as a mum.
Our boys were about 11 months and I had just started to get back on track after a devastating experience of postnatal depression.
I remember being really excited about having to experience my first Mother’s day as a mum, however, the real experience wasn’t (as a lot of my other first experiences with motherhood) as special as I imagined it to be.
If you read my story, you know it took me a few months to develop a real bond with my children. My first year as a mother was the hardest year of my life and I cannot even start to explain how it feels when you are expected to be happy when all you want is to cry and turn back time.
I’ve been through a lot during my life. My childhood was tough, my parents got divorced when I was only five, I went through some bad relationships and through a divorce. I suffered major depression and anxiety (which still lasts), I lost a baby…
And yet, when I talk to other people and listen to their stories, it feels like mine is not very unique.
Do you know what I mean?
Every person on this planet has their story. And no one has a purely easy life.
If you are an expecting first-time mum, the contents of this post will probably take you by surprise (perhaps even shock you), but please bear in mind that the last thing I want to do is to freak you out.
All I want is to get you more prepared for what is to come.
Why would I want that?
Tell the truth, if you are more prepared, the less shocked you are when the time comes. And the less shocked you are, the better chance you have to avoid postnatal mental issues and other problems many first-time mums experience.
For, believe me, in most cases the reason for new mums suffering from postnatal mental problems is unrealistic expectations of motherhood and a shock that comes with the arrival of a baby.