I haven’t written about my mental health on this blog for a very long time. After I had my second baby, I frequently wrote about postnatal depression and anxiety. Alex is five now and while I do still have my struggles, my mental health is much better than it was. Over the years I have learnt ways to look after my mental health, helping me to be happier person and a better mum. I practice yoga every day, I write in my gratitude journal every night, I swim in the cold sea once a week and I try to speak as kindly to myself as possible.
People deal with stress and the anxieties of modern life differently and today’s guest post is full of ideas on how you can look after your own mental health. I hope you find this post useful and learn some new strategies that you can use to start to feel like your happy self again.
It is no secret to me that lack of sleep impacts my mental health. If I haven’t been sleeping well, my anxiety symptoms intensify and I am much more susceptible to feeling depressed and irritable. I am going through a bout of bad anxiety at the moment and this is affecting my sleep and the lack of sleep is increasing the anxiety – it’s a vicious cycle. Sleep is so so so important, especially for us mums as we need our energy to be able to do all our mama duties throughout the day. Today’s guest post details all the different ways poor sleep can impact your mental health. If you are struggling with sleep, there is support out there to help and make sure you tell your friends and family so they can support you and give you time to rest. View Post
If you have read my blog for a while you will know that I have suffered with anxiety. I think I have always been a bit of an anxious mum but it wasn’t until Alex was born in 2016 that I experienced severe anxiety for the first time. Apart from taking medication, the best thing I did for my anxiety was to spend some time figuring out some coping strategies. For me, yoga really helps me to stay calm and if I don’t have time to do any actual poses, just doing the deep breathing and focusing only on inhaling and exhaling can help me to keep an anxiety attack at bay. I have also found making sure I prioritise a little bit of alone time each day helps and if I am feeling overwhelmed I will speak to my husband about it. I used to bottle up all my feelings and it did much more harm than good. Talking to someone you trust is a really effective way to help manage your anxious feelings. Today’s guest post is full of other methods and strategies on how to quickly and effectively soothe your anxiety. If you are an anxious mum too, I hope this post helps you. View Post
A few months ago I wrote about how I was feeling a bit lost. I felt like being a mum had taken over every aspect of my life and there was no time left for me to just be Wendy anymore. Since then things have changed slightly, slowly I have been finding small snippets of time for myself and have started to do the things I love again. I won’t say I feel like I have completely reclaimed possession of my identity as that wouldn’t be true BUT I do feel more content with life and less trapped. Although motherhood changes us, takes over our lives and can leave us pining for our child free selves, it is possible to rediscover who you are. Mama, it is possible to feel like you again. View Post
For those of us North of the equator, January can be more than a little gloomy. Sunshine is sparse, and the nights feel twice as long as the days. Temperatures have plummeted, the excitement and buzz over Christmas and New year are all over, and all anyone wants to do is hibernate under their duvet until Spring. Even if you do not suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the chances are that you will feel some of winter’s less desirable effects – fatigue, the blues, craving carbs, and general malaise. However, there are things that you can do to banish the blues and make the winter months feel a little more bearable. View Post
I would like to start this post just by saying the baby blues and postnatal depression are two very different things. Postnatal depression can be a very serious mental illness and if you think you are suffering from it then please speak to your midwife or health visitor about it. While PND is quite common, more mothers tend to suffer with the baby blues than full on depression. I have had both, neither is a nice experience but it can be a lot easier to recover from the baby blues quickly and the symptoms are not quite as severe. Today’s guest post is full of advice on how new mums can cope if they have the baby blues. Sometimes it just takes some self care and support for you to thrive as a new mum. Remember, you’ve just had a baby and you need to be kind to yourself. View Post
Oli and I started trying for a baby when I was 20. I got pregnant when I was 21 and gave birth to my beautiful first son Leo when I was 22. That was six years ago. I now have over half a decade of parenting experience in my back pocket, plus two more children to keep me busy. I have spent my twenties in the mum bubble, my days full of nappy changes, feeds, cuddles, crying, playing games and battling to get tiny humans to eat and go to sleep. I’ve watched friends study, travel, have careers and party through their twenties while every time I think I might be clawing some time back for myself, I am faced with another positive pregnancy test and all the joy and fear that comes with that second pink line. I love my babies and I wouldn’t change them for the world but as far as life plans go, it was never mine to have three kids before thirty with no career to my name. I guess, since Tilly has been born and I became a mum of three, I just feel a bit lost View Post
When I found out I was pregnant back in November last year I was terrified. Why, you may be wondering, having a baby isn’t supposed to be terrifying. Well, my third pregnancy was full of fear and anxiety because I was so scared I would get postnatal depression again once the baby was born. It’s not surprising really that I didn’t overly enjoy my last pregnancy, I felt like my stable mental wellbeing was a ticking time bomb and it was sure to explode and shatter my happy life once the baby arrived. I spent the nine months leading up to Tilly’s birth trying to deal with lots of complex emotions: love, fear, anxiety and guilt to name a few. My depression definitely came back for a little while, I was letting myself get too stressed about what happened in the past and what could happen in the future to let myself just be in the moment and enjoy growing my third (and final) baby. Was all that stress and worry valid? Was I right to be so anxious about my mental health deteriorating again once the baby was born? Was I right to be scared all along, has my postnatal depression come back? View Post
Dear Louis Theroux,
Firstly, I just want to say I am massive fan. I don’t have a favourite documentary of yours because I genuinely love them all; I have enjoyed everything from watching your Weird Weekends series right up to your more recent films delving into serious subjects such as alcoholism, eating disorders and sexual assault. I admire how you try to shine light and raise awareness about such a variety of different issues and phenomena happening in our modern world. The reason I am writing this letter is to thank you for making your most recent documentary, Mothers on the edge. View Post
I am now almost 31 weeks pregnant with my third baby and things are getting really real now. Baby girl no longer kicks gently like soft fluttering butterfly wings stroking my skin, her limbs are instead poking out all over the place and she is constantly booting me in the ribs! My belly is huge and is stretching more everyday, I also have a pretty impressive waddle going on. The weeks are now down into single digits and I can say baby is due in 2 months now which feels insane as the day I found out back in November feels like last week. As my due date gets closer I am finding myself lost in thoughts about what life is going to be like once our daughter arrives. Something I am worrying about is how I will cope with three young children and whether I will get postnatal depression again. I’ve written a poem to try and get all these muddled thoughts out, to try and make sense of how I am feeling. It’s called Who will I be when there are three? If you too have suffered with postnatal depression and are now pregnant again, I am sure some of these words will resonate with you. View Post
I’m sliding down again. I can feel it happening but I can’t find anything to grab onto to keep myself afloat. I can feel that awful weight too, it’s heavy on my shoulders and is leaving me drained. I am mentally and physically drained. I am typing this with tears in my eyes, not the first ones to appear today and it is not even lunch time yet. I hear my bed calling me, not just for the rest I need but it is telling me to come and hide, to pull the covers up and make myself invisible. Motivation is dwindling, more of a flickering candle almost at the end of it’s wick, rather than a roaring fire in my belly. I don’t want to do anything. More accurately, I want to do stuff but I have no energy or get up and go to do it. View Post
One of the first things I thought when I found out I was pregnant for the third time was what will I do if I get postnatal depression again? In fact, finding out I was pregnant again sent me into a bit of a relapse. For the first two or three weeks I was anxious and sad and could only visualise bad things to come in my future. I didn’t see the baby in my tummy as a happy surprise, I saw it as a ticking time bomb waiting for 9months before it would explode and leave me in a crater full of misery. As the months have passed and I am now half way through this pregnancy, fear has been replaced with excitement, trepidation has given way to eager anticipation. One thing I still think I need to do before I can fully be prepared mentally for what may or may not happen when the baby arrives is to look back and accept what happened after Alex was born.
I know I had postnatal depression, anxiety and probably OCD but I can’t let myself stop to fully reflect on that time. I need to though. I need to sit with those bad memories, even just for a moment, to let myself fully move on. I need to stop thinking of myself as the Mum who got pnd and instead think of myself as the Mum who is healed and ready (and happy) to do it all again, to have another baby again without fearing what may not even happen. So that’s what I’m doing today, I’m gritting my teeth and walking down the dark path of memory lane, back to when Alex was a baby and my life was a nightmare. I hope as I walk deeper and peer into those memories I’ve locked away that they will become softer around the edges, they won’t hurt me anymore and they won’t have the power to sabotage the future life with three children that I will living in just 20weeks time. Looking back is hard, but I can’t heal without doing it. View Post
Today is #TimeToTalk day, a day for shouting loud about all things mental health. The campaign is run by Time to Change and their aim is to help us all start conversations about our mental health, to break the stigmas surrounding mental illness and to raise awareness of what living with a mental health condition is really like. If you regularly read this blog then you will know that I have suffered from post natal depression and severe anxiety, it first began in late 2016 after the birth of my second child. If you are a really avid reader then you will also know that I didn’t start taking any medication until my son was almost 18months old, way over a year after my symptoms first began. It has now been a year since I first started taking anti depressants and I thought I would share with you what the last year has been like. I am going to try my best to give an honest account of what life on sertraline is like, I am not going to hide anything behind any dark corners or avoid talking about when things have been tough. After all, the point of #timetotalk day is to have honest conversations about mental health, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing some kind of mental illness, it is important that we speak the truth to help each other to feel less alone. View Post
Oh, please know before you read on that mummy loves you. Mummy loves you so so much; you are only the size of an avocado but my love is the size of the world. You have only been growing inside me for 16 weeks and 5 days, I have only seen black at white flickering images of you on an ultrasound scan, but I love you fiercely already. I promise. View Post
Have you recently had a baby and feel like you might be struggling with postnatal depression? Whilst feeling a bit low and having the ‘baby blues’ during the first few weeks after giving birth is normal, more than 1 in 10 women suffer from postnatal depression. If you are feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and tearful most days, you may want to speak to someone and get some support. Speaking out and sharing how you are feeling is the first step you need to take towards getting better. Talking about your mental health can be difficult but once you have done it you will feel better and will be able to get the help and support you need. If you don’t know who to speak to or where to go for support and advice, I have made this list for you of all the people who can help. I know from experience how hard it is to talk about how you are feeling and to admit you may have postnatal depression, but there are so many people out there who are understanding and just want to help you. View Post