Today I read an email from a follower of mine that bought a tear to my eye. She is a new mum to a beautiful baby boy and a beautiful person, inside and out. However this girl told me that she feels depressed and that she has lost herself after becoming a mum. It broke my heart, because I can remember those feelings, they even still linger around today.
Being a mother, or parent in general is such a beautiful thing. We dedicate our lives to raising another human being and sometimes we throw ourselves into head first and completely forget about ourselves. We forget to eat, showering becomes a luxury and sleep is something that although needed, becomes minimal so we can tend to our growing children. So for many, that sense of self becomes lost, and sometimes that even turns into post-natal depression.
Now I think it is incredibly cruel that mental illness can sneak up on anyone, but to have it sneak up on your when you should be celebrating a new life that you've created is just plain old crap. As if being a parent doesn't already take a toll on us emotionally, mentally and physically, to have to deal with negative thoughts that hover of you can seem like such a losing battle.
I know what it's like to battle through depression with both a partner and by myself. My post-natal depression was the straw that broke the camels back when it came to my relationship, and when I was faced with the reality of dealing with it alone, I chose to take a stand against my mind which at that stage was winning. I would never wish any of those thoughts and feelings on anyone, and if you're reading this right now trying to find a way to help yourself get out of this dark place, I want to share with you what I did to change my mindset.
- Let yourself have a moment to cry, then wipe those tears away, get up off the floor and push yourself to do something
- Write down your goals; whether it be for today, the week, the month or your life. Having something to work towards can change your mindset instantly because you feel motivated.
- Take your gorgeous babies for a walk or to the park. Spending quality time with them outdoors and with no distractions can improve your mood and put a smile on your face.
- Get moving. Exercise is proven to improve quality of life and even finding the right trainer who understands you will do wonders.
- Make a change. If you aren't happy with something in your life, make that decision to change it NOW.
- Dance. Turn on some music that makes you happy. Music provokes emotion, so choose something that makes you feel sexy or makes you want to move your bum.
- Remember that you are you. Tell yourself you are beautiful, because your children most definitely think you are too, and kids are ALWAYS right.
- Talk to someone. You are not a burden, you are human. You are not alone.
So to all of the beautiful mothers and parents out there, look at the amazing work that you've done by looking at your incredible child. If they're fed, partially bathed and alive in general, you're doing an amazing job.
Take that one step towards change today and take your child's unconditional love for you as a sign that you are amazing and deserve every right to be here, be yourself and live each day with a happy and healthy mindset.
Take it from me who has come out the other side of post-natal depression - you can change your mindset, it won't be easy, but we can do this together.
If you know someone who is struggling, go and ask them 'R U OK?'.