Without wishing to sound cynical, my rose-tinted glasses were probably more fuchsia first time round. I recall the visions of soothing a cherub-like cooing infant while tippy tapping on my computer or maybe immersing myself in a good novel.
While PND is no doubt a cocktail of contributory factors – from history of anxiety or depression to trauma, lack of emotional and practical support (the list goes on)…I also feel the chasm between expectations and reality is one I fell into with some force.
I have a vivid imagination. I’m a romantic who likes to dream and, from a young age, my anticipation of motherhood was always in soft focus. I even found myself tutting at mums who complained of the drudgery. So it came as an immense learning curve. Pretty much like scaling Everest without oxygen..or a sherpa.
I’m not suggesting that people should approach parenthood with negativity. I think we should just be more honest. When I struggled with a colicky baby who defied all laws of sleep and faced long, often lonely days at home I felt a little bit let down by maternity leave. The tales I’d bought into of cupcakes, coffee and gleeful chat didn’t quite translate and I felt, well, a bit lost.
Confessing this was like betraying the sisterhood. But at the same time I felt like I’d been sold a myth. Therein lay the stigma to admitting that it wasn’t all quite how I’d imagined. Of course it was massively exacerbated by anxiety and low mood, which took me to a place of black and white thinking and catastrophising that was so far away from what I had hoped for.
I still think that if I’d even seen the gap coming and was grounded enough to swerve it, PND wouldn’t have been quite so hellish an ordeal. So with five weeks to go before baby number two makes an appearance…the glasses are off, ‘should’ and ‘must’ will be kindly ushered out of my vocabulary and I will simply let it all unfold without trying to write the script.
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