Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stay At Home Mumming and Postnatal Depression



strangely enough, I have all of these things too.

Okay- lets talk turkey. Tidy houses, cute angelic children and happy marriages aside.

I've been encouraged to think about Postnatal Depression of late. I'm not sure why- I'm totally all over this stay at home mum shiz (eehum, kinda). 

 It would seem that finding parenting a challenge is cause for concern. I'm no counsellor (although I do see one) so I don't really know what defines Postnatal Depression. A quick google search suggests that



  • Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  • Feelings of inadequacy and guilt
  • Negative thoughts
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Tearfulness and irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleeping patterns
  • Low sex drive
  • Anxiety, panic attacks or heart palpitations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things. (source)

are indicators. I don't know about you, but I could tick a few of those boxes. Some days I do a great job of being a stay at home mum while other days I find doing endless loads of washing rather unfulfilling. For me, it's a day by day thing. Some days I cope, others I don't. Some days there is a hot dinner and a clean house, others there's not. 



Today is one of the 'other' days. No hot dinner, no happy children, not even any clean washing. But there have been tears and tantrums a plenty. 

So I find myself sitting here thinking 'do I?, don't I?' - and I conclude... nothing. I'll just get on with it - see how I go. See if a good routine and a change of season makes a difference. 



Being a mother is totally awesome. I love it and I love my kids more than I can express, as I'm sure you do. The only problem is that I'm still me. I still exist as an individual (who knew) and I'll tell ya, I'm bloody high maintenance.

I'll fill you in on the sleep saga and tell you about our new routine later in the week.

 For now- sheaf stout.

52 comments:

  1. I think I can tick a few of those too! Low sex drive - hell yeah! Anxiety - yup, tearfulness and irritability - fuck off yes! Lack of sleep... bloody knackered! I think that list describes most mothers/parents! We all have scuzzy homes, I havent washed my kitchen floor for at least 6 months! I have jam smeared down the leg of the table. The boys are still in their PJ's. I've just had my first drug of choice (coffee)... and maybe I will tackle the washing mountain. I feel like now Ru is 3 I can spend a little time to me.... going out, jewellery, art etc... Blogging is helping me massively. Big hugs to you hun... wish I could pop round. Lou xxx

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  2. Imagine how inadequate I felt tonight when I went to make something quick and snappy for tea, only to discover no food. I didn't even realize how low it was getting. Serious, not even toasted sandwiches or tinned spaghetti. Couldn't even pop to the supermarket cos by the time I thought to make something it was past 8 and our little market is closed! Now I have excuses - my nose is running like a bastard & my head is thumping, and I've been crook on the couch all day. Hubby is at work. Never fear - the kids had made themselves a feast of frozen chips and hash browns a couple of hours earlier, but I felt I should have made something. Bad mother!
    I can't remember where I was going with this...
    Tis all good, Mum's are human too, we ain't perfect all the time, we have our meltdowns. Dunno if that means we're all suffering depression though?
    Enough babbling, later
    Rach x

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    1. No it does not mean "we're all scuppering from PND". PND is a serious illness and it's sad that it is still so missunderstood.

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  3. hugs. i could tick alot of those boxes too. hope tomorrow is a better day. xx

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  4. Depression is totally not funny... but that cartoon rocks!

    Hope you have a much better day tomorrow, and the next and the next.....

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  5. I hear ya! I often find myself thinking do I? don't I?
    My crappest days are those when I've gone too long without looking after me.
    I can tick a few of those boxes too (ahem, a lot). But overall I'm happy. I just need to remember to do stuff for me. Sometimes even put myself first (gasp!).
    It's definitely a day to day thing & you're not alone in these thoughts.
    Sending you mama strength. x

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  6. I don't know about everyone else, but I find that when I get more sleep, everything else just seems to balance out. The other night, my youngest (who is 21 months old) slept through till 6am... first time in, well... I can't remember it's been that long. The sun was shining (Oh how that helps me!!!), and my washing machine got a work out - 5 loads. What it did mean was that Hubby came home and made dinner. The floor haddn't been vaccumed since some time last week (don't get me started on my kitchen floor!), and there was a massive pile of dishes in the kitchen that needed doing, but I was out in the sunshine and "fresh" air with my boys, the latter giggling as they swung in their swings, the washing flapping in the breese, and I didn't care what the inside looked like - I was content. Happy. You know, POW camps were renowned for using sleep deprivation as a form of torture. It really messes with your head, your emotions, decision making skills, memory, and yep even your sex drive.
    Thinkin' of you Em, and I really hope & pray that you and Dave get some good solid sleep soon... 6hrs+ like!

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  7. You are a woman in need of a hug. I read that list & thought that describes a lot of women a lot of the time. I was a stay at home mum for 7 years. There were days that I look back on with shame - ones where I ran to stand still, took my frustrations out on those innocent bundles of love, wanted to throw out the washing, throw dishes and scream. But now after many years back at work I look back at those same days with a halcyon kind of glow. Memory is a head photo - you only remember/keep the good ones. And your little ones will remember the laughter & the play & the hugs and the way you made them feel safe. Mine do & there were plenty of opportunities to remember shouty mummy. And in the great words of Dorothy 'Tomorrow is another day...'

    One thing how come I never had the loss of appetite? Some things just ain't fair!

    One thing

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  8. Not sure where the extra one thing came from! Weird.

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  9. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
    Love you my Beetle buddy & you're not-to-proud-to-say-it-how-it-is heart.
    I know we're only cyber friends, so far, but I feel like I've known you for many moons!
    x

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  10. I developed post natal depression after I gave birth to my second child Freddy. I spent the following twelve months feeling incredibly diminished and irrelevant as a human being. It didn't kill me and I never wanted to die, but I did spend an awful amount of time wishing myself under a rock. I felt this overwhelming pressure to present a very together 'front' to the world and the harder things got the less inclined I was to ask for help.

    I'm not sure if any one thing causes post natal. For me, it was a perfect storm of imbalanced hormones, an very sick kid, no family support and no sleep. What I do know is that it only got better when I talked about it (a lot), spent loads of time in the sun, got some professional help and let my husband make jokes about it. It seems for me at least, bucket loads of laughter and a deliberate lowering of standards was the thing that got me smiling again.

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  11. I often find myself thinking "I just can't cope". I look around the house and nearly have an anxiety attack. This morning I stripped our bed of dirty sheets and pillowcases and threw them on the laundry floor to be washed. Did it happen? Nope. And because we have a new king size bed with only one set of sheets - I will have to go and pick up the dirty laundry from the floor and put the filthy sheets BACK ON OUR BED so we can sleep in it tonight. What the hell!!!!!???!!

    The sad thing is this: A good day for me these days is if I manage to 1. shower 2. Eat at least one decent meal 3. Wash the dishes from the night before.
    It used to take a helluva lot more than that to make my day, I tell ya!

    I agree with Kitty, sometimes you have to make it about you. We spend all our time meeting the needs of the kids, the husband, the domestic requirements of the household... but sometimes your needs need to be met too.

    God this is really a dogs breakfast of a comment. Sorry. Great post x

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  12. Oh darlin, big hugs to you. It is so bizarre, but hubby and I were just discussing post natal depression this evening. My neighbour, who is a 50 something loopy lady told me the other day that she believes she had post natal depression for 25 years after her daughter was born! She also told me that she's had her boobs done and tummy tucked. Hmmm, yes I know, I was thinking the same thing. But seriously, I do believe it is a fine line. I have days where I honestly can't see through the fog, to a place where normality reigns... or even exists! Then there are days when I get by, which are the majority and that is kind of ok. I'm content with that. On rare occasions, I believe I am actually owning it and doing a stella job, but it doesn't last long before the tide turns again. I think it's great that we can talk together so openly about these feelings. It's important to know that ALL Mama's struggle at one time or another... most of us struggle more than we even admit to our friends and family. Take care and be kind to yourself Emily.
    P.S. Peanuts rocks! I used to LOVE reading those comics as a kidlet :o) xo

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    1. Sorry to absolutely disagree - it's not a fine line. If you have Post Natal Depression - you know it. It has nothing to do with getting the washing done, having me time or even struggling. It's a serious illness that is completely debilitating.

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    2. It's debilitating to the point that you can't function because your anxiety levels are so high. You can't eat (many times I forced myself and then threw up because of the anxiety), you can't sleep - even when baby sleeps for 5 or 6 hours - you just lay awake with destructive anxious thoughts, you cry all the time, you can't be alone, the feeling of hopelessness and depression is so overwhelming that you can't think. Leaving the house is an impossibility, seeing friends let alone returning calls is something that you don't even care about.

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  13. I reckon sleep deprivation is massively underrated. Motherhood is amazing and wonderful but it's bloody hard too...

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  14. oooh maybe I shouldn't have said bloody then...sorry! Maybe I was a bit passionate about my point;)

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  15. You took the words right out of my mouth. Judging by that list of 'symptoms' it would seem I too am a candidate. If only we could sit down over a cuppa and share our troubles...just know you are most certainly NOT alone in these thoughts. X

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  16. I'm not there yet, with the bub still growing away in my belly, but I love your absolute honesty and i'm sure that give me 6-8 months and i'll be right there with you. Hell, i'm crappy at cleaning the house and doing last night's washing up now and that's without a baby to contend to. But what's awesome right now is that when the time comes I can look back and know that i'm not alone and actually the coolest of mamas (that's you lady) are going through the same. You're doing an awesome job and some time to be you sounds like a plan! Go, do it! xxx

    ps. Claire, your comment made me properly laugh. The story about the bed linen? I've done that. But we have a tumble drier so I still decided to go ahead and wash it all and then had to sit up until 2.30am waiting for it to dry. On a work night. Genius plan right? Hubby = not so impressed!! Haha!! xx

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    1. Em...here I am, baby on my lap not in my belly, and I'm understanding every word of this post. I adore being a stay at home mum and ben's working extra hard to allow me stay one for the next few years, but sometimes the pressure can seem overwhelming. Right now there is washing up from 2 nights ago, a living room that hasn't been hoovered in about 4 weeks (at least) and a bathroom that smells a little too much like wee for my liking. But now I feel so much better about all that and instead of going to tidy I'm going to sit on the sofa, read a magazine and eat some came. You're awesome. Last year and this year xxx

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  17. You need to know you are not alone in this. In fact, you are so very normal! It's a HORRIBLE thing to go through (and admit to), and such a good idea to talk it out, either to a close friend, doctor or counsellor. I suffered from PND after birth of my second child but recognised the signs quickly so within 3 months of birth of bubba number 2 I was on medication for it (I have always been so against taking medication for depression but I quickly changed my tune!). It's closely monitored by my Doctor - I'm still on meds while I've got another newborn (boy number 3!) but I feel like I've got ME back again and my children aren't suffering from having a psycho mother...!
    Sleep deprivation is a MAJOR contributing factor as well as being away from family. Don't be hard on yourself, but also don't expect too much of yourself. You may be strong, but very few people are strong enough to get through depression on their own.
    I love your honesty shown here - good on you! You will find amazing support from this blogging community. Take care xx

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  18. I hope you don't mind me saying but if you are thinking you have PND make an appointment with your GP asap. Ive had postnatal depression twice and am currently on medication & having counselling (early days with both). One of the things that have helped me (although there has been times ive felt guilty about it) is putting my daughter into daycare so i could have some time out (rest, attend appointments etc). Having some regular time out, although just oneday a week, has helped. I hope things get better for you Xx

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  19. Sometimes it just sucks being a Mum. As much as i love my son, there are days when i just want to run away and hide, maybe start a new life with a new identity!
    Last night i went to pick up my son from his friend's house, the Mum had a massive pile of ironing and washing sat in the living room. She was so embarrassed at me seeing this. I just said 'you are the Mum of two young kids, don't even think i care about it! My house is exactly the same.' We're all going through the same crap. Some days are just worse than others.

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  20. Hang in their it can only get better, we just a lovely tow weeks in New Zealand, but I had to do the same crap ( making the meals, washing ) same crap different place.

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  21. So here's the thing. EVERY SINGLE person that is in the process of raising children under 5 would suffer any of those boxes. I find the lists irritating - is that ANOTHER box to tick? I reckon I have probably suffered from some kind of "depression" since the kids were born...BUT...like you said I just got on with it (not that I am saying that is the RIGHT thing to do or that I am some kind of hero) I just got on with it. I reckon that 97% of it has to do with the fucked up hormones post kids and then throw in NO sleep and ANY MOFO would be stuffed.

    Go easy on yourself. Don't beat yourself up. It's a hard, relentless, frustrating gig that sometimes makes me scream out "BUT WHAT ABOUT ME???!!!" Once you get through this current shitty sleep fog, things will seem better. I swear. Promise. PROMISE. Everything seems worse when you aren't getting sleep.

    Thinking of you lady x

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  22. this is exactly how i am feeling at the moment! You said it perfectly. Some days (weeks) it's all just too bloody hard. And some days (weeks) I am superwoman!

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  23. yup ticking lots of those boxes myself, we have no family here at all, zero help and some days are much much harder than others. x big loves to you x

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  24. Pnd...been there with our fifth and have only recently come out of the depths of it and while for the most part I am 'well' I still have days where I feel like I am about to spiral out of control. As rewarding as motherhood can be it can be an extremely hard gig too and it's on those days that we need to go easy on ourselves.
    Hugs
    xx

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  25. I just wrote a rambling paragraph of crap that didn't make sense. love this post. love being a mum, sometimes hate the life of servitude. hubby told me this morning he misses me. i didn't realise anyone else noticed i had disappeared! much hugs x

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  26. So I don't know much but I know this
    **Being a mum is ace and so bloody hard at the same time
    **Lack of sleep is a killer and only now after not having proper sleep for 6 years am I starting to feel like ME again
    **Even though I feel like me, I still don't want sex that often - although I fancy the pants of many a man I see walking down the street, when it comes to the action - no way!
    **I need a cleanish house to feel better about my day - if the kids are screaming and crying and my house looks like shit it all gets too much. I take a few mins to clear a space - makes me breathe better
    **Nothing wrong with buying a pre made lasagne and garlic bread - heating things in the oven is cooking in my book!!
    **And the last thing I know for sure is that I love you and think you're ace, as I am sure you can see many other bloggers and friends do too.
    Somewhere inside you you know whether you need to see someone about PND or if you are just going through a really shitty time.
    Having a good cry can fix many things, and if I could get in my car and come and visit, get our kids out playing together and make you a cuppa I would. Try not to be too hard on yourself. xx

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  27. The only way I could tell I was depressed was....

    If it was a good day and the hubby and kids were going well and I was left standing their amongst them all feeling shit......thats depression. Then the next day I would feel shit and the next and the next. It just didn't lift or move on, it stuck to everything even the good bits.

    If you are tired and run down and the kids are feral and you are grumpy and feel crap....thats the blues...thats NORMAL!

    xx

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  28. i've always been open how shit i've felt and never tried to be a perfect mama. my job is to challenge and stimulate my kid - its separate from cooking dinner and doing household chores. if i get around to them great, but if not, who cares.

    i found my health care providers tried to label me with post natal depression even though i knew i didn't have it. it was frustrating to say the least! nothing worse than being told you are crazy when you aren't!

    keep on truckin' lady!

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  29. in a general sense it would seem to me that most of those things are perfectly normal (albeit unpleasant) feelings which are part of being human. i've certainly had/have them but as a male, their source most probably stems from different things.

    the only exception would be the low sex drive....can't say i've suffered from that, but i've certainly suffered as a consequence of someone who has!

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  30. I think that list is probably the standard for most women with children under school age. I think really disturbed sleep is probably the trigger in most cases. The best thing to do with a really pear shaped day is to get those kids on any sort of ride on contraption and get out of the house. Double bonus of wearing out the kids and escaping looking at the lounge room in a tip- like state. And remember, as Anne said, " each day is fresh, with no mistakes". Us mothers need to remember this, because our kids certainly approach life this way. melx

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  31. tick, tick, tick....
    well I can see you have many a friend here who completely agree with you. I hope it is a just a yucky time, and if it is more than that, I'm sure you will know.
    I have had a crappy week, I'm usually a very upbeat girl, but all i wanted to do if have a good old cry and break away at times. I think my main reason is exhaustion, I would kill for a proper sleep in one day. But my life goes on, and I will kick my bum into gear and hope that my brain goes along with it.
    Love to you, Rhi xx

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  32. Yup! I tick some of those boxes too! I think we ALL do. But can I just say that I LOVE that you are so honest...because there are many that hide behind their seemingly perfect lives in their seemilngly perfect blogs. So THANKYOU for being a wonderful exception to that! I have three kids and I am much the same as you in that some days it all goes well and other days it all turns to shit! But I am claiming massive sleep deprivation as a big factor. (in fact I responded to your Stop. press entry under anonymous) So I can totally understand why you could be feeling the way you have described.I totally think that sometimes we just need to stop and do one thing that you love every day. For me it is craft. and I also think that getting outside evryday is a must! Having kids is hard, juggling everything life throws at you is hard, being a great mum/wife/friend is hard. But, living up to expectations (yours, or other people's) is even harder. I say let it go and just focus on all the positives that you have...Chances are that every single mother that you know has had similar feelings. And don't dismiss PND...Listen to your own intuition. Cassy (sorry...I don't have a blog, I don't know how you girls do it, although I am surely glad that you do)

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  33. okay...back again. Sorry! Just read your entry on tidy houses, and noticed that picture that says "the glass is half full" Firstly I love that and so want one. but...no use having it in the bedroom when you are sleeping and cannot let it be a reminder. I think you should place it where you see it ALOT! (Kitchen perhaps)....to remind you that indeed your glass is half full! Cassy

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  34. Bloggers- i love you. Fo Real.

    Thanks so much my friends. Like really!

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    oooooooooooooooo

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  35. I've wondered all of this about myself, too. It's scary because you think this isn't how it's meant to feel, it's meant to be a time of joy. And it is, but it's also a time of struggling and fighting and being tired beyond comprehension. I seriously struggled for a long time in Olive's first year. For me, I think the tiredness is linked to feeling depressed. Tiredness affects everything and when you've got a kid who's not sleeping (month after month after month), it's incomparable to anything I've ever been through. So, I hear you lady. One day soon I hope you get more sleep and then hopefully you'll feel like your self again. In the meantime, just keep doing what you're doing. Look how many people think you're amazing! Kellie xx PS Don't forget there are lots of resources out there to help Mums feeling this way. Helplines, doctors, ice cream, blog friends, alcohol.

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  36. Thank you for this post. I think most mothers have varying degrees of these "symptoms". Every few months I feel like my nerves are on edge, easily irritated and struggling to get the housework done. Often a few extra things on top of my day to day load may trigger it. These are the days that all three kids decide to muck up.
    Funnily enough I'm coping better with three than two. Two littlies is hard work. Toward the end of that first year you do feel like you need to get a piece of yourself back. I could liken it to coming out of a fog when my second turned one. It can be a joyous time, but at other times you just want to bang your head against the wall in frustration. Remember you're not alone xo

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  37. It's hard work, there's no doubt about it. Some days/nights I just want to scream and punch the wall (and some days/nights, I do!).

    Thinking of you...

    Ronnie xo

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  38. haha - a mum in my mum's group got so frustrated she broke her finger by punching the pantry door! LOVED that.

    we just had some cheeky beers in the park with our babies cause today was H.A.R.D.

    love all the solidarity going on here!

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  39. i am of absolutely no help, I ask the same question most of the time.
    I just plod along and do what needs to be done and just say I am having a "sad" day.
    go talk to someone, see what comes out, but most importantly you need to look after you.

    I just wanted to send you big squishy hugs, you are such a wonderful person to visit in the blogosphere.

    be good to you gorgeous girl ♥

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  40. how refreshing it is to read a blog that is real. and how refreshing it is to hear a mother being honest! So many of us find it hard to be honest and put up a wall and pretend that everything is ok. I bet ALL mothers could tick a few of those things on the list. I know I certainly could!

    I know how hard sleep deprevation is, it does crazy things to your mind, body and soul, that's why they used it as a form of torture during the war!! And we have to get by on it every single day trying to raise some pretty challenging creatures at the same time. It's damn hard.

    I just wanted to say a big `congrats on sharing with us the real you and I hope that things get better for you. (Re. the sleep, I know in our household a star chart worked a treat. If he didn't wake up in the night he got a star, and then after 5 stars he got a hot wheels car. Just a thought if things are still not going well there :))

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  41. You're very brave with your honesty. And like many mums I can tick some of those boxes. I got my teaching qualifications last year so my job would fit in the family - however I've only had relief work so far. And I'm glad. I'm not ready for full time work with small kids. Instead I will continue to work on my craft empire! Though trying to work from home with kids -oi!
    We shouldn't feel guilty about the choices we make as mums. Who cares if the dishes aren't done or dinner is frozen fish and chips, I just like the beds to be made! Take care xx

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  42. Lack of sleep just messes with you head, completely. My girls are now nearly 8 and 4 so we're past the bad night wakings, but still my youngest calls to me once a night to go to the loo, then perhaps again to find her blanky that she's dropped. I wake very fast and get back to sleep super quick now, but even so, most night have little disruptions. It is much better than babes though, that absolute exhaustion from constant disturbance, my god, who wouldn't get depressed. It's a tough tough gig mothering. Yes, we love them times 1000 but still, it's tough. I had PND with my second, the first 5 months were sooooo hard. It's only in the past year that I've been able to look at the photos of a baby and see that I am smiling in some, that it mustn't have all been bad. I can't remember the time though, if that makes sense, it's all hazy and I don't remember many details at all, it's quite disturbing. We got through though, it did get better. How? I went to a PND group, but I only went once, for me - a very self reliant person - I met some clinically depressed women and for me that was enough for me to say ' pull your finger out and I started asking for more help and slowly the fog lifted. It was hard to admit though and I didn't recognise it in myself, I had to be told.. You'll get through whether it's just exhaustion or a bit of depression mixed in - just remember to be kind to yourself.

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  43. Wow, this post had such a huge reaction. On the Kerri-Anne show the list they put up is pretty good. Officially it's if you've been feeling the feelings you list every day for two weeks and it's interfering with everyday life... then the advice is - get help! I am a huge fan of counselling/talking therapy as the first port of call. I hated taking meds the first time I did it, but have taken them again since. I NEVER want to go back to the dark places I got to when I was in the worst of it. Am much better at looking after myself and arresting the slide down that slippery slope before too much momentum builds.

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  44. I had a hard time after my twins were born. I admire the honesty and love the posts of your house mine gets the same way but hey we live in it ! Our kiddos live in it

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  45. Firstly , I want to say your blog is quite beautiful. I'm not sure how you find time to cover all the topics that you do but they are very interesting. Secondly, I too, can relate to the challenges of feeling lost as an individual once the kids came along. It hit hard with #1 but not too badly with #2 because I was more mentally aware. I think most mothers can relate though, obviously for some, the difficulties slide into PND. As one of the other commenters said, I think we underestimate the impact of sleep deprivation. I know I feel quite ineffective when sleep deprived. Since there's not much we can so about that till the kiddies get over it, the only thing to do is lower my expectations to a more realistic level. It'll pass eventually!

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  46. I think every time that one of us is honest in this way, it helps everyone. It doesn't have to be all sweetness and light for it to be worthwhile. It doesn't have to be picture-perfect for it to be an important job. Thanks for putting that out there. And, now that my toddler is asleep, I'm going to go pour myself a glass of wine. :)

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  47. Just popped over from your lovely magical post from a year in the future. I love this paragraph –

    "Being a mother is totally awesome. I love it and I love my kids more than I can express, as I'm sure you do. The only problem is that I'm still me. I still exist as an individual (who knew) and I'll tell ya, I'm bloody high maintenance."

    It is so true. This is why I try and stitch or paint, activities I did pre-babies.

    By the way I think I tick pretty much all of that check-list. Apart from loss of appetite, I can eat all day long. As a matter of fact, I'm making a milo right now.

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em