Let’s talk about mental health.
It’s a pretty big and very serious topic, and generally one I stay clear of as I really don’t have much experience with mental health issues, and I’m certainly not about to go trying to give advice on a subject that is incredibly personal to each individual.
However I do want to share a little about my mental health journey, because, perhaps, it could help someone else.
Now that’s not to say I’ve particularly suffered recently, but for the best part of my life (or at least the periods I remember) I’ve had a pretty stable mentality, which given some of my history is quite something. Sure I suffer with PMS and the dreaded hormonal mood swings – sorry Dann – and I’ve definitely got a fiery temper when I let it get the better of me, but all in all, I’d say I’ve been pretty lucky on the mental side of things.
Even pregnant with Henry, and being made redundant, I stayed pretty level.
Sure the newborn phase was hard, and I had my fair share of ups and downs. Maybe a few tantrums from myself and overly-dramatic outbursts and tears, but nothing a little extra sleep, cuddles and food didn’t sort out.
Now I’m in the third trimester of my second pregnancy, and though I’m in a pretty good place right now; the last few months have been a rollercoaster, and my mental health has taken the brunt of it.
I’m not great at being ill as it is, so being so poorly with this pregnancy, has been really hard on my mental health. Aside from hiding away from the world, I’ve never felt lonelier. Now I know this is kind of a catch 22 as I deliberately kept myself away from people as I wasn’t exactly feeling human, but as quite a social person, the loneliness really got to me. Thank goodness for books, as that was a huge escapism for me.
I’ve also questioned almost every thing you can when pregnant.
Can I really bring up two kids?
Can I keep going through this pregnancy when I feel so awful? (usually thought after another eight throw-ups in a 24 hour period)
Will work hate me if I have to have more time off for sickness?
What about labour? Can I do a natural birth again, it was so so hard last time?
What about Henry, what do we do with him when I go into labour as we don’t have many people we can just leave him with on short notice – they all have lives too? And what if it’s a complicated birth?
Can we afford Henry to stay in nursery whilst I’m on maternity leave? And what about the future? I can’t return to my office job, it just doesn’t make sense,but what about money?
Will my friends even want to see me when I have two kids in tow? It’s tricky with just the one?
And that’s just the things I can think of off the top of my head.
As you can see, the anxiety of life really took over.
Luckily for me, a lot of it is unfounded worries, or completely out of my hands.
My work have been so understanding with my sickness and needing time off, which has been so helpful in keeping me on track, and my Team Leader is someone I can go to easily if I need help or someone to talk to when it comes to my health at work. Having heard a lot about employers who have not been great at supporting their employees with their mental and physical health, I’m eternally grateful that my team is so supportive. You can find out more about speaking out about your mental health at work from Slater and Gordon Lawyers.
My labour will be what it will be. I’ve had to remind myself that it just isn’t something I can control, but hopefully with a little added experience I’ll be a bit more in control, and even if not, he has to come out one way or another. As for Henry, we’ll find a way, we always do.
I’ve also found writing blog posts about my worries to be the perfect therapy for me. Sure I’m worried and scared about being a mum of two, but I’m also so so excited! But this blog is hopefully not only good for me, but also an avenue to help my whole family too.
I don’t think I’ll ever truly shake off the worries, or the loneliness that seems to be a part of motherhood in some way or another. But I’ve addressed the fact I was being negatively affected, and changed my focus on life in general, and it’s helped.
I don’t think this is the last hurdle for me, but at least I know I can seek support from my closest friends, family and this blog.
*this is a collaborative post, including a paid-for link