Hi everyone. Welcome back! Hope you all had a wonderful Easter break and enjoyed the sunshine! (which is rare for Easter, it’s usually a bloody wash out!) I actually had a good couple of weeks with the kids. I often find school holidays hard keeping three kids occupied and still trying to run my business to an extent. However, with the weather being decent, they were happy outside, we had a few days out and they met up with their friends – so all was good. Let’s hope the summer holidays work out that well!

I'm A Mini

I'm A Mini

So, this month I want to share with you a personal story of mine regarding mental health in order to help raise awareness and to let other parents know, you are not alone. This week (April 29 – May 5) is Maternal Mental Health Week and I thought I’d share with you my story of my own battle with post-natal depression.

I have three children aged seven, five and three. After my first, I had the baby blues as most women do but apart from that I was okay (apart from not really having a clue what I was doing and no sleep) – I felt like I was coping. I went back to work after nine months and all was fine.

However in 2013, I had a miscarriage which I discussed in a previous blog back in October – this was an extremely difficult period for us but over time we got through and a few months later I found out I was pregnant again. I was petrified though but thankfully all was well until I went into labour nearly six weeks before my due date. My daughter was born prematurely with hyperthermia and hyperglycaemia and was taken to the neonatal unit. I then had to go into surgery to have my placenta removed and suffered severe blood loss – I was extremely ill for a few days and needed blood transfusions. I spent a week in hospital and my daughter was in for three weeks. It was such a difficult time for us as a family.

I was only able to get to the hospital once a day to see my daughter as I had my other daughter to look after and we were also in the process of relocating – so I was packing up our house! To be honest - how we got through January 2014 I do not know. Anyway, after we moved and things had settled down – in the September I made the decision not go back to work and to be a stay at home mum but also to go back to college. Since having my girls, I felt as though I needed to do something for me – so I began a Human Resources course at college and loved having that few hours a week for myself.

However, towards the end of the course in April 2015, I found out I was pregnant! Now, I’ll be honest I was in shock – we hadn’t planned to have another – so it was a surprise. I wasn’t ready to go through it all again. My pregnancies had never been kind to me – I was always sick! I didn’t ever have the glow! I generally looked grey.

Anyway, after the initial shock and the scans we found out we were having a boy – we were thrilled! However, then for me the reality started to set in – I was going to be a mum with three kids aged four and under – how the hell was I going to cope???!!! I felt as though I had completely derailed. My plan of college and going back to work was now on hold for at least the next two years. Everything had changed and with the past couple of years being difficult what with having the miscarriage and my daughter being premature, I felt I wasn’t strong enough to cope.

As I had predicted, this pregnancy was the worst of them all! I would sleep for three hours during the day if my husband was at home, I was constantly being sick, nothing would stay down. I eventually ended up in hospital on a drip because I hadn’t been able to keep anything down for a 5 days. It was just awful.

Anyway, on November 5, 2015 I went into labour on the school run (my eldest daughter had started school in the September) – that was an eventful day – he was nearly born in the car (my poor mum), he was born two minutes after arriving at the hospital and we were home that evening by 8pm having fish and chips! (as you do – just so you know I was in labour for longer with my other two).

So, that was it – we were now a family of five! Back to the sleepless nights, night feeds, crying, napping changing and so on. It was different this time as I now had my two girls to look after as well and the school run to do. If I’m honest I think I was on auto pilot for about 5 months – I just did what I had to do – feeling numb I think is the best way to describe it. I didn’t want to venture out, the world was too big to deal with. I felt safe yet trapped in my own home. I used to just sit an cry on the bathroom floor or I’d get mad over such small things. Until one day walking back from school, with my son crying in the pram which he had been doing all morning – I broke down crying! I cried all the way home! I remember thinking ‘I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t do it’.

I felt so alone, so lonely, so isolated! I just felt like a complete failure. I kept thinking ‘I should be able to cope, I’m an adult.’ I didn’t know who I was anymore – I felt like an empty shell – I no longer knew the person in the mirror – Who was I? Where had Rebecca gone? I didn’t know what to do. Even though I had a supportive family – asking for help was one of the hardest things to do because I felt as though I was being weak.

That day, I rang my mum and she came to see me after work and we talked about what I needed to do. I made an appointment at the doctors and they referred me to a counsellor. I also attended a maternal mental health course along with my son – which helped being around others feeling the same. I found that counselling did help me, because they didn’t have the emotional connection to me – they made me think differently. We talked about various things that could help me find ‘Rebecca’ again.

One of those things was my business, my idea for my business had began whilst being a stay at home mum. Since leaving work to look after my kids, I had lost confidence, self-belief and felt a complete loss of identity. My business was the one thing that was mine and mine only. It gave me opportunities to use my brain, to learn, to ask questions, to be creative. However, alongside this came the fear and the doubt in my capabilities. It meant I had to put myself out there, expose myself and put forward my business – which absolutely petrified me - and still does even though I’m 18 months into running my business.

I would say my business has been one of the things that has pulled me out the post-natal depression. I still gets days when I’m down and I’ve had enough but I know that during the week I will have time for myself and knowing that helps me through those hard days.

Now my three are that bit older, things are easier in some ways, harder in other ways, but because I do get a that break I feel better equipped to cope. I love my three children more than anything and I would not change what we have for the world. They are my life and will always be my priority but I remember when my health visitor came to see me and I explained how I was feeling. She said to me “You are like a bucket of water that’s overflowing and we need to make some holes in that bucket to stop it from doing so” – Basically, what she meant was that I needed to make some time for me because if I didn’t look after myself I wasn’t going to be fit enough to look after my children. It was about finding a balance in the best way I could.

Since then, I have been able to find more of a balance. Through my business, I have made new friends and had great opportunities. With my daughters in school, I have a circle of mum friends. It helps so much when you have someone to talk to get you through those shitty days but also to have the fun times too with your kids and share your experiences.

Knowing you aren’t alone in how you feel, is the biggest relief and comfort and to know it’s okay to not be okay!

Being a parent is amazing, but at times it is bloody hard! We are all winging it!! I am still a work in progress, I still lack confidence, self-belief! I have good days, super woman days, bloody shitty awful days! I put too much pressure on myself and have high expectations and then I let go too much some days! I feel the guilt when I’m not with my kids, but then beg to be able to go for a pee without being asked some ridiculous question or having to be as quick as I can because world war three is breaking out in my lounge!

But guess what, I have got through it and will continue to do so even if it means some days not staying in my scruffs, watching CBeebies all day and have a ‘beige oven tea’ i.e. chicken nuggets and chips basically any yellow food you can whack in the oven!

Photo Credit: Rebecca Hove
Photo Credit: Rebecca Hove

For those of you going through depression, you can and will get through it. I hope that by sharing my story it helps you realise that you are not alone. I know that anyone who has depression experiences it differently, some more severe than others. For those of you going through it, please tell someone – the best thing you can do is talk – trust me! You are not alone, you are not weak – in fact you are the strongest of them all because every day you still get up and put that brave face on (I know because I did) but you can only do it for so long. Please talk, reach out!

My story is just one of many, many more. It does get better, I promise. Remember, look after yourself, you’re children need you and as they saying goes “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Source: https://oneinfinitelife.com/you-are-enough-by-cassie-mendoza-jones/
Source: https://oneinfinitelife.com/you-are-enough-by-cassie-mendoza-jones/

Love Rebecca x

For those affected by anything I have discussed or require mental health support please see the links below:





Check out Rebecca's business at www.imamini.co.uk

Tagged in