I would like to re-paint the internal landscape of post-natal depression. I think others would connect with the imagery rather than vocabulary.
“Enough!” she cried as she fell to her knees exhausted. Every day she smiled tightly. But on the inside she screamed, painfully.
Those around her thought she was managing well. When asked, she would repeat the words she thought should say. “I’m great. It’s amazing”. They seemed to make everyone happy to hear.
But they weren’t.
She was a failure.
And she was ashamed about how she felt.
And she was ashamed by the thoughts that darkened her ‘motherhood’ experience.
Four years later I can tell you that to say “I’m not OK” or “I’m not coping” or “I don’t think I can do this” is not shameful. It means you are simply saying “I am human”.
It’s easy to feel ashamed.
Asides from managing to make it through that first year of parenting, the best thing I ever did was to speak up and admit I was struggling and that I was human.
I didn’t have super powers, I wasn’t perfect. No. This is what I expected of myself. This is what I saw in every other mother. Yes. They were sleep deprived and confused. Why was their child was crying? But I applied the double standard approach – it was OK for them, but not for me. But it was also more than that. I was in pain.
When I spoke up about my post-natal depression, something happened within and around me.
I began to accept my experience. I also gave myself permission to grieve and to make mistakes. I also let people in.
Imagine if every time you made a mistake someone whispered in your ear “It’s OK”.
And if every time you tripped and fell, someone helped you up and said “It’s OK”.
What if every time you felt despair, someone told you “It’s OK”?
This is what happens when you speak up and let people in.
It’s easy to feel as if you’re a fraction of the Universe, yet the human experience is multi-dimensional. We’re made up of interconnecting layers of complex vibration from the physical plane of the body and structure to the etheric layers of the aura and the higher vibration of spiritual dimensions. You are spinning particles of light which cross and connect to all around you. You are literally never alone. Your pain is my pain. My joy is your joy. It’s the magnificence of connection.
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.” – Carl Saga, Cosmos
When you despair, know others despair with you.
When you meet another parent and they smile, give them the gift of understanding by appreciating that they are also multi-dimensional. Be lifted by the thought that those who share joy, happiness and laughter will reach out in your time of need.
Start by being honest with yourself.
And have compassion for yourself and your valued, unique experience. This intensifies your compassion for others and expands compassion in our Universe. It is the greatest gift you can give.
Whether it’s a vibration, a wave or a ripple, admit that you’re human. It will change your life.
Resources for post-natal anxiety and depression
If you need support or information about any mental health issue:
- Contact a counsellor, psychologist, complementary medicine practitioner or general practitioner
- Look into local post-natal depression and anxiety support groups – ask for help if you have trouble finding your nearest organisation
- Visit PANDA, the Australian organisation for information and resources
- Read Mindful Motherhood: practical tools for staying sane during pregnancy and your child’s first year
About Kate Pamphilon
Kate Pamphilon is a Canberra-based kinesiologist and complementary medicine practitioner. Kate shares the wisdom and techniques of ancient and modern traditions to inspire people to be their own healer. She is an expert on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and has most recently become a published author with Janine Ripper in the best selling series Heart to Heart: The Path to Wellness. You can subscribe to her blog, Holistic by Nature or follow her on Facebook.
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