Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

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Looking at the picture of me as a brand new mum, with my eldest as a one-day old newborn, emotion floods right back in, like an unexpectedly large wave.

My eyes well up because I see that (obviously) inexperienced one day old mum with a teeny tiny brand new baby, and I remember her numbness alongside the love.

I’m still not fully reconciled with the state of my mental health post birth. I never really worked out where I fell. I felt empty and robotic much of the time, but similarly I could find happiness and joy in things.

I cried oceans, but I never felt like I couldn’t get out of bed, I simply got on with the day, loaded the dishwasher, crying. I was never worried that I would harm my baby or myself, or anxious that bad things would happen.

But being a new mum didn’t in and of itself bring me joy.

I would stare at my baby and feel an overwhelming love, but not joy. It kind of felt like her and I against the world. (Despite having an amazing husband, and loving family and friends all round, supporting me.) This was something she and I had to ‘get through’. I would look at the way other mums would look at and giggle with their babies and gush about them, and I just didn’t have that inside me. It felt more like those intense, desperate teenage love-affairs, rather than an uplifting, energising romance, if you know what I mean?
Maybe, definitely, I needed more support in those early days, weeks, months. But I think the problem was (& for other new mums) that I didn’t know what support / help I needed. I didn’t know how I felt. I’m very good at coping. At least on the surface, doing the motions. I am strong. I can cope. I WAS coping.

Except I wasn’t. Not emotionally, not mentally. I needed more support. But even now, I’m not sure how those around me who love me could have given more...? I don’t have the answers, but it’s good ask the questions.

I’m not sure how my journey to recovery began or the route it took. I think that it probably started when my youngest was about two and I started taking Omega 3 oil supplements. Adding these oils into my diet gave me the ability to feel more grounded and able to tackle the extra difficult parts of motherhood.

And I also think managing to carve out some time for me and start yoga and meditation had a hugely positive impact on my mental well being.

I still struggle. This year has been TOUGH hasn’t it? But for me time has helped and I don’t feel that same numbness (mostly) that I felt so frequently as a new mum.

As always, with all my love from our family to yours, especially this week and especially to any new or old mummies out there who are struggling.

Stay safe and keep well,

Elena x


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