Hola my darling hearts,
Since the publish of my Post Natal Depression story, it’s been shared more times than nearly any other article I’ve ever written. I’ve been so touched by all the emails I’ve received, by the stories shared in the Comments Circle, by the outpouring of blog posts of women raising their own voices and saying “Me too. Yes. This happened to me.”
When we share our deep truths, it’s no longer that big scary thing you know? It’s just what happened. Our story. Our medicine and our lessons.
And we get stronger and braver, clearer and dearer.
Our hearts get bolstered and bigger when we are able to hear another woman’s truth.
This is the magic of women circling, of turning up to be goddesses – entirely human and absolutely divine.
It happened to me.
I’ve had a lot of questions about Pee Enn Dee, and about my story.
And moments of el crappolo! I forgot to include.
So this is Pee Enn Dee II: The Extra Bits.
The last post was over 8000 words long.
This one, while supposed to be just a short one, is 3000 words.
I guess I have a lot to say.
Over 11000 words worth.
I’m not quite sure if I quite adequately described everything that happened, or just how awful it felt.
I do remember feeling like I was traumatised from 2010 and everything that had happened – it had just cut the quick of my soul far too close, and I felt like I was constantly shell shocked: at the shittiness of it all, at just how many things went wrong, and just how many things I was facing all at once: mama hood, moving, grief, relationship stuff, family shit – it really did feel like EVERYTHING was breaking apart at the seams. (Apart from my business & creativity – which I am forever grateful for. It was a rainbow bright spot for me.)
I do remember I kept thinking how things couldn’t get worse.
And I also believed that it would never get better.
I had no idea how parenting life could ever, ever feel easy or good.
I loved my daughter with my whole heart – and we had SO much joy together.
But there in the back of my head, the feeling of doom.
I don’t know if I shared the timeline of how long I was depressed or how long it took before I felt better.
I really don’t know.
I do know that it was around month seven that I knew things needed fixing.
Month nine when I really felt burnt out.
And I know she was about a year old when I began feeling a lot more like normal – not perfecto like I am now, but SO much better.
I think it took about six months all up.
I am still taking anti-depressants.
I do get that background feeling of consistent, low level of anxiety when I stop taking them.
I know my adrenals are still totally taxed and worn down and in need of rebalancing. And seeing as they are the ones in charge of secreting adrenaline (which causes the anxiety), it makes sense that I’d still be getting anxiety without medication when they are still out of whack.
So I’ve been getting Scenar therapy to try and rebalance my adrenals, and a herbal medication called Adenatone.
And I’ve been eating a lot cleaner, noticing that sugar tends to exacerbate anxiety while cheeses and protein tends to calm it.
And I’ve been changing my workaholic ways – going to bed earlier, actually having down time that’s not me working on my business, and finding some goddess friends here to do circle work with. And I’ve been practising reiki with them after not using it for years, and am LOVING it.
I don’t think I’ve felt this relaxed in a long long time.
A goddess asked:
What if you don’t have the money or time to go on an epic healing quest through eastern and western medicine?
I’m going to be super blunt here.
At some point, your happiness and wellbeing becomes the pivotal point of your family. As the saying goes, “Happy mama, happy family”.
If I didn’t have the option to do alternative therapies first, I would absolutely go with an understanding doctor & anti depressants. And a counsellor wherever possible. I have no idea about other countries, but in Australia you can be referred to a psychologist for free visits under a Mental Health Plan.
I absolutely have a great respect and love for anti depressants for the amount of stability they have brought me and my sweet family. And if I did it all over again? I probably would have chosen them quicker for instant relief, and then set about healing whatever needed healing support when I was able to.
You just do what you can, and make the best of it.
Some random moments I remembered:
Sitting on the toilet, totally freaking out as I attempted to take a crap, and Ostara cried for me upstairs in Chris’ arms.
And I kept thinking:
Just run out the back door. Runnnnnnnnnnnn. Don’t come back.
And I’d totally fantasise about running.
But then in the fantasy, I’d start thinking:
Well I’ll have to take Starry with me. I can’t bear to be without her. Oh, and Chris. And the dogs. And I like our house.
So I’d become this fantasy snail with a house on her back.
Which begged the question:
What are you running from then, if you’re not running from Starry or Chris?
And the answer was simple.
The awfulness of a crying baby, of desperately trying to get your basic needs met of taking a crap, of just how relentless the whole thing felt.
Another random moment:
Ostara wasn’t a massive cryer.
As long as my arms and my boobs were close by, she was super settled.
And I know not all babies are like that, and if you didn’t have a settled baby, I hereby want to place you on a gold-gilded pedestal and send you off el pronto to a week’s spa retreat. Because you are a legend and a superhero and a champion. True story.
Anyway, one night when she was seven months old, she was NOT super settled.
I tried boob feeding her. I tried laying down with her in bed.
Still a crying baby – one who is a tension increaser – aka when she starts crying, it just gets bigger and louder the longer it goes, and even more unsettled.
And I lost my shit. Gave her to Chris, and ran outside. I remember staring at the stars, tears streaming down my face, thinking:
OMG! I AM HAVING A STEREOTYPICAL MOTHER MOMENT! THE BABY WON’T STOP CRYING! IT IS THE WORST SOUND IN THE WORLD! IT MAKES ME FEEL CRAZY!
And then I stood outside crying for a while.
When I’d got back inside, Chris had managed to perfect a new technique of settling her – swinging and swaying with her in front of the bookcase. She’d get hypnotised by all the swaying bands of book colours, and fall asleep.
It’s moments like that you feel like a legend.
Or, at least, not as crazy.
A goddess asked:
What if my husband doesn’t understand?
Now let me say that my love did not understand a lot of what I went through. And that’s okay.
It was my journey to walk.
My love and I read somewhere that the first two years of a child’s life is the greatest possibility parents will separate. (Heyo! Looking after a newborn/toddler takes SO much outta ya. It’s no wonder!)
And we kind of made this pact or agreement of sorts that the first two years were going to be ridiculously shitty, and were NOT the best evidence of how our relationship truly was. So I’d try and look back to before we had a baby, before we turned our lives upside down, before the year of 2010 That Sucked Giant Panda Balls. And I’d remember how good things were, how in sync we were together, how our lives had worked, how hot I thought he was. I thought about when I first met him and how I just saw him as he was, I saw the highest light in him, how I believed in him, and how much I wanted to know more about him, and hear what he had to say. I wanted to know his spirit, you know?
And yet here we were wading chest high through murky, murky waters, both of us freaking out and tired and grieving our old lives and dealing with giant waves of Life Shit.
So I tried to remember that we could get good again. That these first two years of being new parents were NOT the epic culmination of our success as a couple. We just had to wait it out for the shit waves to subside.
Don’t worry too much about perfection.
Don’t worry that your lives are over when you snap at each other.
Sometimes you will say really shitty things to each other.
We might all be gods and goddesses, but we’re still all totally human, you know?
And when you are parents, you happen to be very tired humans that aren’t getting your needs met that much. Much less being able to meet your partner’s needs.
Me and the hot Scorpio man want to grow old together. We figured it would be much shittier if we separated.
So we did whatever we could to keep from imploding. Relationship counselling and support from doctors and metric shit-tonnes of forgiveness and about a thousand tongue-bitings.
We still argued shiploads though. Hey, our lives had been turned upside down ya know?
Of course we were goddamn stressed and tired and our nervous systems were beyond frayed! It totally made sense for that to be the case!
So it was work, and more work, and more work. Coupled with good professional support, medicinal support, bumloads of tenacity and a helping hand of lady luck.
Just keeping it real peeps.
(And I don’t think we’re the only ones.)
I just started reading “If the Buddha Married.”
And I’m going to be honest – I was expecting to roll my eyes at the totally unattainable (for me right now) spiritual ecstasy of two souls communing and meditating and karmic sutra-ing together.
(Ha! I love my preconceptions of things.)
So I read the first chapter, and you know what made me SO happy.
In all the research she did of lasting, enduring, loving relationships?
In interviewing all these couples that had been married for 30 and 50 years?
Want to know the single most significant factor in them staying together?
Them being bloody stubborn about staying together forever.
That made me crack up.
That’s totally attainable for us.
And while karma sutra has its benefits I’m sure, I like the idea that stubbornness can have just a magical affect on an enduring loving relationship.
So, in summing up: IT WAS NOT EASY. HE DID NOT ALWAYS UNDERSTAND.
P.S. My hunk is a qualified counsellor, studying psychology, well versed in all things mental health. And he’s wiser than any man I’ve met. AND STILL WE FOUGHT.
We’re human, peeps. It happens. It’s okay. It’s not the culmination of your worth, or evidence of how your relationship truly is.
I haven’t read this anywhere before, so I’m going to say it. I think it needs to be said:
I was so fucking pissed off for the first few months of motherhood (and longer) about what being a female meant.
I’d grown up thinking that any relationship I would have would be an exquisite equality.
I was NOT going to be a man’s caretaker, I was NOT going to be looked at as a wife who served her husband.
And for the eight preceding years of our relationship, Chris & me had a pretty equal relationship.
We had one bank account. We consulted each other about big purchases. We did equal shares in house work.
I can count on my hands how many times I’ve washed dishes in the last decade. I’ve forgotten that toilets actually need cleaning – because as far as I’m concerned, they clean themselves. (Which they do. Just with Chris’ help.)
Those were his things, ya know?
I did other stuff. Like putting stuff away. He usually did his own washing. Umm, what else did I do?
We always do grocery shopping together.
Seriously, I know I did housework! What on earth did I do?
Oh yes, I picked up socks. Not mine. His. That was probably our big contentious household squabble: SOCKS! EVERYWHERE! LIKE A SOCK TSUNAMI!
What I was really saying is that me & Chris had a gender-role-less relationship.
I didn’t feel like I had to put more effort in than him. We were 50/50.
We just did everything together.
And you dream of having kids, and you think:
OMG he is going to be the best father, we are going to have this totally amazing co-parenting gig going on, and it will totally be 50/50
And then you get pregnant, and all of a sudden you realise:
OWTF. HANG ON HERE.
He can only watch when you throw your guts up.
He can only watch when you start to freak out about birth.
He can only sleep when your back begins to ache and you can’t sleep except on all fours.
He can’t do the pregnancy for you.
Nor can he do the birth.
He can only do the watching. And he can do a damn good job about supporting, but that’s all he can do.
It’s really your journey. Your initiation. Your body.
And then the baby is here.
And for mamas, and breastfeeding mamas, it becomes the lion’s share of our work.
Because the child is needing mama energy.
It doesn’t get that heyoooo we are all evolved now! Men and women have equal rights!
For the most part, it really, really needs it’s mama’s energy.
Don’t ask me why or how. It’s just how it is.
And I was very pissed off about that fact once I realised it.
I love that Carrie Contey PhD talks about this. She says:
Yes women, it’s okay for you to really feel pissed about this, and grieve your old life.
Feel it! Know it! And then when you’re ready, you’ll be okay about it.
That was definitely the case for me and for us.
It’s getting easier and easier as time goes along.
But yup, I’m putting my hand up here as being someone who has said to their husband more than 15 times:
NEXT TIME WE COME BACK, YOU ARE GOING TO BE THE WOMAN! I’LL BE HAPPY TO BE THE FATHER!
Oh ho ho ho.
I had to stop saying it at some point, but that’s definitely how I felt.
And when I’m not getting my needs met sometimes, I’ll feel the same.
On Becoming A Gentle Mum & Taking The Easy Way
My love’s cousin is my own superhero.
She’s the one who scooped me up in a big hug
Just be easy on you.
But these are the words most of all that changed it:
We rocked up at her house one morning.
And her boys will still rocking out in the pyjamas, and the kitchen table was covered in washing to be folded up, and the boy’s toys were weaving their intricate way around the house.
And she said:
Welcome to a normal house. I tell all my friends: You are most welcome to come around anytime! But do it knowing you’re going to step foot in a normal house with washing on the table.
And it was just revolutionary to me.
Consequently, I really, really love going to her house.
Aaaaaaaaaaahhhh… a normal house. It feels like home.
(Screw perfection. Let’s embrace what is.)
Someone asked me why I think PND is so prevalent today.
Here’s my thoughts:
We used to live within tribal communities.
At the very least, we used to live in multi-generational households.
And it’s really only been since the industrial revolution that men left the house for the whole day (or longer) to work.
So it’s only been in the last few hundred years that it’s become the case that one adult becomes solely responsible for the care and tending of one or more kids.
As Christiane Northrup said in one of her books:
I really think that there should be two humans to care for one child all the time.
And her doctor told her:
You’re a workaholic. Make that three.
Children become infinitely easier when they can move with the care of a group of adults whom they all feel safe with, leaving time for mothers, fathers and everyone involved to get the space and check-out time they require.
Not only that, but in most (if not all) communities, it was absolutely a-ok to be boobfeeding each other’s kids. Wet nurses & women with oversupply of milk issues would also assist women with undersupply of milk issues. And it would all even out.
Especially when you are boobfeeding, you can feel totally tethered to the one spot – you are the child’s sole source of nourishment for the first six months. It’s a full on responsibility to take on, and it’s not a responsibility that usually happened throughout the lifespan of humanity.
I remember thinking:
If I was Aboriginal, I would have given the baby to one of its aunties and gone walkabout for a day.
It does get easier.
That’s the big thing I want to tell you, out of all this truth telling.
That everything WILL be okay.
That they do get SO MUCH easier.
It’s AWESOME when they start crawling. And walking. And working stuff out for themselves. And deepening their relationship with their daddies. And not being as separation-anxiety-ish.
It really does get more and more rad.
No one really told me that it would get easier.
But it does.
And way more fun. And scrumptious.
What else can I say?
Just like the last time,
I just want you to know
that it doesn’t have to suck.
That Pee Enn Dee can be fixed.
That it doesn’t have to hurt anymore.
And even if you don’t feel like you’ve got Pee Enn Dee,
I just want to say:
I hear you.
We women, we are incredible souls, doing incredible work.
I love you, and believe in you, and am sending thousands of angels your way.
Want to read more?
I’ve been writing about my journey with healing and mama hood during it.
If you’d like to read more, here’s some of those posts:
Mama Goddess interview with my favourite mama author, Karen Maezen Miller.
Words That Changed Me: Creative Rainbow Mother
Things You Should Know About Pregnancy
The Best Friend’s Guide to Newborns
And my birth story:
You are not alone.
love more than I can ever say,