Thursday, 28 May 2020

Postnatal Depression- finally feeling like myself again



postnatal depression

Nine months on and I am finally feeling like my old self again...well not entirely but more or less. Having suffered with and still suffering with postnatal depression and anxiety; I have seen some bad and some good days. There was a moment where I thought this is how my life will be from now on, as I saw no way of escaping it but time is a healer. With the right support system, you will concur anything.

I started noticing signs of postnatal depression and anxiety two weeks postpartum, however brushed them away and put it down to a lifestyle change that I was trying to get use to. As the first two months went by things got worse. Being a healthcare professional myself, I thought I knew how to handle it and did not want to result to medical intervention.

I have always been a strong person mentally, and pressure never use to get me down. Whether that was exam pressure, or the pressures of life. However, it all changed after having a baby. The change hit me hard, and I never thought it would. The smallest of things, would cause me to break down. Reflecting back, my whole lifestyle had changed, being a person who was always motivated and driven to purse the goals I set myself, but now could no longer pursue them. My life was put on hold. I was always someone who was out and about, even the day I gave birth whilst having contractions, I was out and about not knowing I would give birth in a few hours. All of a sudden, I was unable to go out and about, and going out with a baby was always a struggle for the first few weeks- so I avoided going out.

Postnatal depression not only affected my mood, but also affected my relationship with my husband. I became so distant from him, although we tried to spend nights away every few months just the two of us. I seemed to blame myself for everything that was going on. From seeing the impact it created, it was my husband who booked me in with a private counsellor, and it helped so much. I never use to talk to anyone about my problems, as I thought they would see me as weak and with my husband talking would just turn to arguing as I always thought he never understood me or my feelings. I was wrong, my husband has been my biggest support, and has helped me in so many ways during the past nine months. Talking to the counsellor made me realise so many things and also helped me communicate better with my husband and other members of my family. I started letting people and life just got a little more easy.

The first three months went by; I began developing a routine for myself and my baby, and it was working. It helped me become more organised and manage my time a lot better. I started doing things that relaxed me, like cooking and again things got easier. I signed up to baby classes, and realised I was not alone and many people go through this.

Nine months later, I still have down days, some weeks more down days than good days, but I am now fine with that. However, life seems easier, and I can see the purpose of life more clearly now. A baby is the biggest blessing, but they bring with them massive change. They come and change your whole life, you are no longer living for yourself but living for the both of you now. They become your priority and let me tell you being a first time mum can be daunting, but it is so worth it in so many ways and I would not change a thing. The past nine months have been a lesson and an experience but I am glad I to be coming out the other side where I can now see the light.

As always, thank you for reading.

With Love,
Alisha x
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Living In Lockdown With Anxiety



living in lockdown with anxiety

As someone who suffers with anxiety, lockdown for me has been and is becoming more stressful in terms of anxiety and depression. For the past 8 weeks or so my anxiety has been through the roof...literally!

Life prior to lockdown involved: going out to see family, long walks, baby classes and overall just freedom especially when the days were a little more gloomier. Anyone who suffers with anxiety will know you have good days and bad days but then you also have those very bad days that no one likes to talk about. However, with lockdown I have not been able to escape the bad days like I normally would and so it builds and builds up to those very bad days. Personally, lockdown did not bring about a drastic change to my day-to-day life, being on maternity leave, meant I was spending most of my time at home, but it has taken away my freedom especially on those very bad days. Most of the time, it is just me and my baby at home, the days my husband is at home it feels like a blessing.

When lockdown was initially announced, I felt a sense of security and peace. I knew my baby and I were safe in our home even though my husband is a key worker. We continued to follow precautions and the advice that was given- but I was still suffering with anxiety which kept me awake at night. I realised during the day, I was surrounded by nothing but updates on the coronavirus which was sending me into panic. I then stopped listening to the news or watching programmes based on the virus- and my anxiety got better but was still there. For me, it the unknown that causes the most anxiety, and until it all becomes a little more clear it will continue to cause it.

I thought I would share a few tips on how I try and control my anxiety.
  • Have a routine- This is so important for everyone whether you suffer with anxiety or not. It gives your life more of a purpose, motivating you to get on with your day, sets you goals and by the end of the day you feel like you have accomplished your goals for the day.
  • Take a break- Every so often take a break and just relax. I get moments in my life where I want to just sit and do nothing, and that is totally fine. Looking after a baby is a full time job and can be tough. However, taking care of a teething baby is more of a challenge.
  • Do what you love- For me I love cooking, whether that is baking or improvising with what I have in my kitchen. I find cooking relaxing and and the end result is always rewarding...well most of the time.
  • Eat well- As the saying goes, you are what you eat. On my down days, all I want is junk but that just leaves me feeling a lot worse, lazy and tired. So I have started to eat more nutritious food, which in turn gives me a boost and makes me feel good.
  • Talk to someone- It took me a while to grasp this but I cannot stress how important it is for the mind. Letting people in especially those who are there to help can lift a big weight of your chest.
I would love to know, how you are finding lockdown?

As always, thank you for reading.

With love,
Alisha x
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21.08.2019 Life was never the same again...

The day my life changed. I woke up at 5am with cramps coming and going- from that moment I knew my life will never be the same again. On the same day, I ended up in hospital with broken meconium waters. The anxiety had begun and since then it haunts me again and again. At 23:48, my husband and I welcomed  my beautiful son into our world and life felt…perfect. I felt complete. My main goal was to give son everything I could possibly give from love, protection, comfort and of course the materialistic aspect crosses that too. However, life was not perfect, and it was not so easy.

A few days after giving birth, it really hit me. I was no longer in this bubble; the bubble like all bubbles had eventually popped. The reality of life hit me. A few sleepless nights which consisted of Zak constantly crying unless he was latched onto me. Felling so helpless, drained and more than anything tired. During the day the tiredness would never leave. The phrase you hear “sleep when baby sleeps” never happened. By the time I would fall asleep, Zak would wake up. Some days especially at the beginning, I was just too scared to sleep.

Three days after Zak was born, we had a visit from our midwife at half eight in the morning. For one, it was far too early for human interaction and secondly she just brought with her bad news. Zak had lost almost 10% of his birth weight, and I instantly felt I was not doing enough for him, and mum guilt had kicked in. Secondly, I was advised to carry on breastfeeding, and I could feel myself feeling exhausted already. So the next few days Zak spent latched onto me almost every half an hour for at least forty minutes to an hour. It was hard, I felt drained but I just kept going. I was adamant to breastfeed and to make it work. Again as before, the nights he would just spend crying and wanting to latch on. I was so confused, not knowing whether he was hungry, wanted comfort or too hot- the heatwave did not help. 

A few days later we had another visit from the midwife, and Zak had gained weight. The feeling of  happiness rushed through my body and I felt a sense of achievement that I was doing something right. The good news motivated me to continue breastfeeding despite the pain, low moods, and struggles it brought about.

Two weeks later, Zak had reached his birth weight once again, and we were finally discharged from regular visits. Now, do not get me wrong, I appreciate everything midwives do. However, at times, when I told her I was struggling, she just kept telling me to do what I was doing. I felt a sense of pressure to carry on breastfeeding, even though everyone around me told be to do a combination of bottle and breast. On the same day, we had a visit from our health visitor, who was much more relaxed and laid back on the whole feeding situation and told me to do whatever I was comfortable with. So from that day, I weaned down on the breast milk, and started offering Zak formula milk. Life got a little easier, and a little more relaxed.

What I have learnt is that, only you will know what is best for you and to go with your gut. Personally, I found breastfeeding quite depressing, maybe because I was not producing enough milk. When I tried to express milk, I would only end up with 20ml after an hour of expressing- again depressing. Moreover, every pregnancy, birth, baby, mummy body is different. Something that may work for one, would not necessarily work for you- and that is something I just could not get my head around.

Thank you for reading!

With Love,
Alisha X
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