This post deals with postnatal depression and miscarriage and might be triggering for some readers.
When I gave birth to my son, I was engulfed in an explosion of absolute joy and love for my baby. I loved this new bubble. It was just me and him. No one else mattered.
I struggled sharing him. I didn’t want anyone holding him. I didn’t want my husband, my son’s father, to take him out for a walk without me. I didn’t want anyone else’s scent on him.
I had horrific images in my mind of what could happen if I took my son out for a walk, or if I held him, or carried him down the stairs, or didn’t check on him in the cot if he made a noise, or didn’t make a noise. I was active all the time, but only for the purposes of my son.
Watch: Be a good mum. Post continues below.
One night in the early days, my son slept through the night and didn’t wake for a feed. I woke up thinking he must be dead.
Rather making the most of the time when he was sleeping, I had to be next to him, making sure that he was breathing.
I was even hesitant to have a shower because he might need me. If I did have a shower, I would imagine him crying and I would immediately stop what I was doing and check, only to find he was fast asleep.
I couldn’t switch off, and I didn’t want to. I was unable to rest properly, and I don’t recall ever checking in with how I was feeling and considering my own needs.
During those early stages, I was too exhausted to be able to contribute to the household duties. I would tell myself that what was happening in my mind was "new mum feels". I didn’t seek help and carried on thinking this was what all new mothers felt.
In addition to the constant worry for the safety of my son, I had this constant buzz of self-criticism for not doing enough, and not being good enough.
It started when I gave birth to my son. I had high expectations for my son’s birth and whilst I was mindful that the birth was something I could never be fully prepared for; I had never expected my body to fail like I felt it had.