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Why Do I Want To Reawaken Myself?

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Why Do I Want To Reawaken

Myself ?

 

 

 

 

What will it mean to me?

Why?

I really want you to continue to keep asking yourself why to those answers because I really want you to peel off the layers of why you truly want to reawaken you.

Are you will to put in whatever it takes to reawaken you?

If you decided not to reawaken yourself………………what really is the worst thing could possibly happen?  For me if I did not choose to reawaken myself and let my depression take over I know deep down I would be in a worse state of depression than I started at.  I would feel resentful to my family because I would be living a life where it was based on only being a mum (believe me, I love being a mum especially after beating depression, postnatal depression), driving the girls around for their therapy and also feel resentment towards my husband as he is doing sports that he loves.

What would it be for you and be true in your answer?

If you truly want to reawaken YOU, I really encourage you to sign up for my 12 week course.  The best aspect of what I do is watching my clients grow.  For those who may be a bit hesitant I am developing a self guided workbook and an online program.  If you are interested about these options there is a link at the bottom of the above link and let me know that you are interested in either the self guided book on itself or the online program.

Postnatal Depression Effects on Relationships

Steve and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary this week and I thought I would take the time to reflect on postnatal depression effects on relationships.  It is tough!  But it does not have to destroy your relationship.

We often hear women/men saying why doesn’t my partner understand?  It is virtually impossible for a partner to truly understand what you are going through if they have never had a bout of depression.  You can not imagine how hard the black cloud is to get out of.  The suffocation it feels.

You and your partner also had dreams of being a parent and no one dreams that they would have PND.  No one expects this illness as part of their transition into parenthood.  But it does happen and PND can happen to anyone. No one chooses it to happen.

Nevertheless, it is very hard on relationships and once you really get on the road to recovery from your illness, you can start strengthening your relationship.  For me, I was extremely lucky that I had an extremely supportive husband and family.  He did not understand it but he supported me all the way.  I said some horrible things to him along the way and he just couldn’t understand how I could feel little love for both of the girls.

So, how did we get through it?

  • Although he may not have wanted to hear my feelings, I was honest with him.
  • I held his hand a lot to keep me grounded.
  • We told each other that we loved each other.
  • I kept getting help and I did whatever I had to do for the love of my family.
  • I worked really hard to put strategies in place to keep me well.
  • We worked on our friendship which is the base of all relationships.
  • I kept trying and trying.
  • I started to get better and became more affectionate.
  • He listened and didn’t always try to fix things.  You need someone to listen.

Steve and I have always had a strong sense of friendship which one of the most important aspects of relationships.  When Steve was diagnosed with depression as a result of everything we have been through, it was easier because at least I knew what he was going through.

A visualisation that helps me through the tough times of his depression is that I picture an invisible bubble around me that no matter what it can not be penetrated.

If you are looking for help to get your relationship back on track, look at my coaching program Reinvigorate Your Relationship and sign up for a free Reinvigorate Your Relationship Coaching Session.

When Can I Trust My Thoughts Again and Not The Depression?

“You are a bad mum.”

“Your children do not love you.”

“You would be better off dead.”

“No one loves you.”

“You are hopeless.”

Is your mind telling you these statements?  Are they real?  Is it postnatal depression, depression, anxiety, PPD, PPA telling you them?

It is so draining to hear these types of thoughts running through the head 24/7 and no wonder people feel drained and tired.  It is extremely hard to decide which thoughts are real and which ones are not.  When it is dark around you and your struggling to reach the light, you believe these thoughts as real.  You keep thinking how could they not be real.  But how do you decide?

All the statements above are all false.  They are unhelpful thoughts and they should be labelled as unhelpful every time they pop into your head.  Say to yourself:

“No I am not hopeless.”

“No, my children love me.”

“No, I am not a bad mum.”

“No, I do not deserve to be dead.”

You really need to focus on every time you hear a voice saying this to you as it takes time to break these old thoughts.  The more you stop them, the more your brain will start rewiring and the unhelpful thoughts will stop in time.

When I was in my dark world, I had constant thoughts of self harm as a means of escape.  I had to dig deep inside (felt like I had to reach my toes) and every time I heard these voices I stopped them in their tracks.  The more I did it, the more I noticed that they reduced to finally they stopped.  But what I am trying to encourage you to do is realise it can take a good 6 weeks to break the old habit.

If you are sitting there thinking I really need to do this, you do not need to do this alone.  It is not an easy thing to break by yourself but I am here to help you through it.  On the link below I have a 12 week program that focuses solely on YOU.  You could easily make this one of your goals.  I will be there to hold your hand through challenging these thoughts until they no longer exist. You can do this and achieve amazing results.  All you have to do is take that first step.

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/new-family-beginnings-after-postnatal-depression/

 

 

 

Mother Guilt For Seeking Help |Coaching for Lifetime Change

Time in and time out I hear these words from clients at the commencement of their first session.  Here they are having made a massive decision for themselves to seek assistance in creating their dream family and transforming their relationship with their partner, their child and most importantly themselves.

Each time I hear that sentence a tear comes to my eyes.  What would you do if you wanted to get fit?  You would seek a fitness coach.  If you wanted to play footy? you would get a footy coach.  There is no guilt if you were seeking help from a coach in the above situations.  So why should there be any guilt for someone who is seeking help from a coach who focuses on families relationships and improving each of their relationships.

It also makes me reflect my own journey through parenthood.  I spent 7 months in a mother baby unit and in a psych ward after my second child was born.  It was damn tough and for quite a while I was questioning what I have done to my children.  I changed my thinking and I began to realise it was the greatest thing I could of done because I was given the chance to reconnect with who I was really was and I became a better mum.  Getting help was the best thing I could have done.

My clients also feel the same when all the transformations are happening.  It is amazing to watch each mum achieve the results that they have been wanting for so long.  To see their relationship with their child blossom even in the toughest of situations. To save relationships from divorce is one of the greatest experiences I share with my clients.  But the greatest achievement is watching mums find themselves.

There is simply no room for mother guilt for seeking help because the reality is these women have come to improve their relationships and at the end of the day it is these mums that benefit the most because they have transformed their relationships which will last forever.  The mums who are making others feel guilty are the ones that are missing out on having a fulfilling relationships with their family.

Don’t feel scared to make the decision to seek some help as I promise I am here with you 100% of the way from start to finish.

If you are a brand new mum who is wanting to improve your family relationships follow the link below to check out my programs.

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/brand-new-mums/

If you are a mum who is on the road to recovery from postnatal depression and you want to transform your relationships, click on the link below for the fantastic programs

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/new-family-beginnings-after-postnatal-depression/

If you are a mum with a child with special needs who wants to transform your relationship click on the following link so that you too can transform your relationship forever

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/surviving-to-thriving-for-mums-with-special-needs-children/

You Don’t Have To Make Up For Anything|PND

Today I took Emma to a story/music time at the library and there she was sitting away from me (she is nearly turning five), doing the actions and listening to the stories.  I sat in awe at her because for the percentage of last year she was usually sitting on my knee and it took a lot of coaxing to participate.  We had a special moment from across the room where our eyes met and we both smiled and blew a kiss at each other.

Part of me still tells myself that I have to make it up to her for going through PND (postnatal depression).  But do you know what?  I don’t have to make up for it at all.  I was in the lowest place imaginable after Emma was born and I spent 7 months fighting the urge to kill myself and stop self harming.  I struggled minute by minute to get well for my girls and husband.  I would never wish anyone to go through the hell of PND and I did nothing wrong to get it.  Sadly it just chooses you.  I came to the conclusion awhile ago that PND made me be a better person.  I got to deal with issues from the past and I got to know myself so much better.

If you’re reading this post and you have gone through PND, you fought to get well.  You fought tooth and nail to get onto the road to recovery.  You did it not only for you but for your children.  If that does not show you how much you loved them even back when you might have had some dark intrusive thoughts, I do not know what will.

Grab this opportunity to push aside any thoughts of making it up to your child and start building that amazing relationship that you have always dreamt of.  Do not let anything stand in your way.

I would be honoured to help you to take those steps of accepting your story and start a new beginning chapter to your families relationships.  I can provide you 100% support through weekly phone calls, catch ups, Skype sessions or email support to:

  • To develop a positive and caring environment that will always leave you with the sense of being heard and understood especially by someone who has been through the same illness.
  • Develop a family vision that is based on your dreams and values. I will be able to support you with any challenges that you are encountering as you go.
  • Create a family lifestyle that you deserve
  • Understand and navigate the challenges that you are facing on the road to recovery and as a parent.
  • Find the space to heal past hurts, worries and be at peace with your journey
  • Create a balance between family, work and personal goals
  • Developing strategies to get in touch with who you are and who you want to be
  • Exploring and enhancing parenting skills so that there is no room for mothers guilt.
  • Improving communication skills with husband/partner
  • Improve your relationship and family dynamics
  • Get the spark back into the relationship
  • Develop strategies for overcoming any hurdles that are thrown your way
  • Gain the confidence and skills to be the best mum you could possibly be
  • Stay on the road to recovery

Feel free to email me on info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au to take this brand new and amazing step to a new family relationship.

Why Do I Feel Selfish For Doing Self Care Activities?

This is one of the most common thoughts when people think about self care is that I am being selfish.  But let me tell you right now is that this is the biggest myth ever when it comes to self care.

If I asked the majority of mums and dads who is their biggest priority within their family, most would say “the children of course.”  But why is your children their biggest priority?  What about you and everything you do?  You may be running a job, looking after children with special needs, you may be on the road to recovery but I always say to my clients is what about you?  The answer to that is usually there is not enough time, I do something once a month.
I am sorry that is not enough?  If you have read my personal story, I have had all the excuses why I couldn’t do daily self care activities.  I looked after my mum who was unwell, I as a workaholic, I survived major depression and postnatal depression and I have two children with autism.  I spent approximately 7 months in a mother/baby unit and a psych ward after my second child was born and it was there that I really learnt that not putting myself first and taking time each day for some self care, I was not going to beat the depression and what is worse I will be no good for my girls.
I am not sitting here saying that I am perfect at doing self care everyday so this month is going to help me as well make sure that self care activities occur everyday.
Do you know that research states that everyone should take a short break every 90 minutes to be productive? If your partner is at work encourage them to take time out often for a small break.

Who Will I Be On The Other Side?

WHO WILL I BE WHEN I GET OVER PND?

Are you asking yourself this question at this very moment?

In the midst of the darkness, you do not remember what you were like before the commencement of the illness.  It just feels like it was so far in the past that you actually felt normal.  You can feel so alone and enclosed in the darkness that you think we will never escape.

When you start to feel slightly better, you do naturally start to wonder who you will be when you feel better and you are no longer surrounded by the dark walls.  You once had a dream of being “the best mum possible” and now you label yourself “a bad mum” for what you have gone through.  Do you still stay this bad mum that you have labelled yourself or do you go back to the old you?

What about dreaming about who you want to be?  Life is about growing as an individual. We move through so many stages in life, why can’t we see this as an opportunity to grow as an individual?

If you really want to grow a better you and live your dreams, I want to work with you.  I want to help you reach the dreams that you have with 100% support.  I understand where you have been and want to be as I have walked the same path.  There is nothing better than talking with someone who have been on the same or similar paths.  I want you to reach your dreams and I promise that you will get there.

If you want my assistance and support, drop me an email info@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au and drop me a line about who you want to be and provide me with some contact so I can call you and look more in depth at creating the new you.  This call will provide you with a clear vision of who you want to be, clearing any blockages that are stopping you and shutting the door on the darkness and get you back into loving life.

It’s Not Your Fault

I was just watching Good Will Hunting on TV and it came up to the part where the therapist says “It’s not your fault” “It’s not your fault” over and over until Will cracks.  This part of the movie has always resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you.

I want to tell you that your PND/PPD/Depression/Anxiety is not your fault.  If you have children with special needs “it’s not your fault”.  If you have had a hard time transitioning to parenthood “It’s not your fault”.

Because “it’s not your fault”.

No one ever chooses having mental health issues and no one chooses to have children with special needs.  Sadly it just happens and you need to keep telling yourself that it is not your fault.

You, as a mum or dad, do not need to add any more guilt about your situation and if you want help to rescue your family relationship, I am here to help you do that 100% of the time.

Unblock the Situations That is Stopping You From Creating A Thriving Family Relationship.

This video is to help you to unblock any situation that is blocking you from taking the steps to create a thriving family relationship. If you want to know more about how I can help you, look under the service page and provide me with your contact details so I can give you a call to see how you and your family can create thriving relationships no matter what your situation is. I learnt this process from Christian Mickelson.

My Journey Through Postnatal Depression

It is PND awareness week in Australia and I thought I would take the time to share my journey to give my readers who may be in the dark place hope that they too will recover from PND.

My Journey Through PND and Depression

To make sure this section gives my reader a true and honest account of my journey, I am going to add to it slowly in order to make sure it is as accurate as possible.  There maybe some things you might not like to read or hear as it is not pretty.  However, if you are going to judge me for what is written here………………………………….then please click on the close button at the top of the right screen and don’t read anymore.  If you feel you can “put yourself in my shoes” for just a little while and remember that depression is not what makes up who I am, then please share in a success story.  The depression is my overall diagnosis and the PND is a small part of the illness but for those who see me on a regular basis has seen for themselves the transformation that has occurred over time.  The main message that I want to share with my readers is the we can and do recover.

A Brief Background

I am going to keep this section as brief as possible as a lot went into the major depression but I don’t feel it is totally necessary to go into detail about the past.

There are two major events in my life which “created” the depression which was my Dad’s death in 2000 from cancer when I was 24 and being sexually assaulted just before this event. Sadly with these two events, I felt that I couldn’t tell anyone especially with the sexual assault as most of my friends and family have only recently found out.  Was this a good idea? No it wasn’t but at the time I thought it was the best thing to do.  I did not seek help with the grief of my dad’s death and hid my emotions and hid them through my work.

For the majority of my growing up, I was a shy person who did not know what to do with the 8 basic emotions that we all have. I learnt to hide them and put on a “fake front”.  Through my schooling years, I had a few wonderful friends who I am still close to now but most of the time I did not fit in with the “private school girl” mould.

Career wise I was always dedicated to everything that I did.  The worst experience would have been being in a kindergarten for a year where there was so much bullying amongst staff that I left at the end of the year.

I definitely made my own mistakes especially with boyfriends and lost who I was and what my core values in life were. However with my fantastic and supportive family I managed to get out of the destructive relationships and start on a new path.

However the one love I had through it all was the love I had for children.  I completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood degree with further qualification in disability studies and became an applied behaviour analysis therapists with autistic children, I was always dreamt of having my own children and how fulfilling this would be.

Although my life was a mess at the time, Steve walked into my life and I met my soul mate who of course I wanted to have children with.  i wont go too much into life with Steve here as there is another section solely for my bicycle addicted husband from the good, the bad and the ugly.

Pregnancy With Grace

One of my worst fears was that I was going to have lots of problems falling initially, but someone forgot to tell me that Steve had some good little swimmers :)  and so it didn’t take long.  I also couldn’t believe, as friends made bets on our wedding day that we would have a bubs by the end of our first year.  When I heard that I thought “yeah right I wish” .

With my fears we decided to start trying and goodness I didn’t fully realise that people track ovulation dates etc etc etc.  I assume that readers here don’t need a description of how to make a baby but if you need one I will find the sex tape (only kidding ;) .

The pregnancy itself wasn’t too eventful but I do remember feeling depressed throughout it.  I had no idea about antenatal depression and just simply put it down to being anxious with all the milestones that occurred and the extra pressure of counting how many movements bub made.

During the time, my obs was 100% certain that my pelvis would not let a bubs down it, even if it was tiny so he informed us that a C-section was the only option.  Steve and I were both certain that we would do whatever it took to keep everyone safe so we agreed to the C-section.  It is definitely a tough decision as I wanted to feel contractions but we knew that this was not the best option as we knew through the tests that we would end up having a C-section.

I know through my experiences and training through PANDA, that women need to have appropriate help if their birth was not to plan.  Mums need to speak about how they feel and be listened to.  Mothers do go through a “grief cycle” if they dont have the birth that they wanted and they need to be helped accordingly.

After Grace Was Born

Every mother remembers the moment of when they get to hold their little baby for the first time and having the instant bond at that very second.  But for me, I did not have it.  I did not have the “huggies” moment of instant love and I thought that I was a failure already.  It was not until Grace was approximately 4 months old, that I was told that it is normal not to have the instant bond.

During the hospital stay things were going well except breastfeeding.  There is simply too much conflicting opinions that it was doing my head in.  It was bad enough that Grace was not attaching and it was killing me but not to have the same advice given was just so hard to deal with.  When we left the hospital we still did not have the breastfeeding going well but I thought it would get better once my milk came in.

Grace loved having skin to skin time with Steve.

We all looked forward to the day when we could finally put Grace in her little capsaul and bring her home.  We dreamt of this day for so long and it was fantastic to bring her home.

Then the nightmare began.  Although I had fantastic families on both sides who came to visit and help in anyway they could, things were going down hill quickly.  Breastfeeding was still a nightmare to the point where Grace was screaming because there was no milk and not latching problem.  I was also crying because it was killing me and hearing her screaming was like razor blades.  So we stopped the breastfeeding and went onto bottle feeding which Grace took to easily.

I wont give you all the details but the main areas which lead to my depression are

  • Grace screamed all the time which like razor blades to hear. Sent my stress levels through the roof.
  • She would only sleep 40 minutes during the day
  • The maternal health nurse called Grace scary.
  • Steve left one morning and came home and his words were “when he left she was crying and when he came home she was still crying.  Well derrrrrrrrr that is how we spend our days.

It was simply a horrible time that I never thought I would never have.  My dark cloud became darker and darker, bigger and bigger by the day. Although I had such fantastic support fro my family, friends and from the wonderful new group of mums that I met through mothers group, I just saw no enjoyment.

I threw myself back into work in any hope it would let me escape from my darkness and bring some normality back into my life.  Although I looked forward to maternity leave, I never imagined what it was really like to have my career changed by having baby.  I was lucky that I had a wonderful and supportive workplace which enabled me to work from home most days. I never imagined how it was going to feel having a child change a career.

Another factor that women have to acknowledge is their feelings towards the change in their careers (big or small).  Women also should write down all the aspects of themselves when they become a mum.  Your life is not all about being a mum.  You are still a person who may enjoy sport, reading etc.  Enjoys being social etc.

Then one day I spoke honestly with Steve about what was happening. It is important that if a woman finding themselves in the same or similar problems, you need to find someone to openly talk to. Someone who will truly listen to how your feeling.  These feelings should be going on for more than a couple of weeks.  I knew deep down that something was not right.

Steve is my rock.  Although he knew what was going on, he listened to how I was feeling.  Even though I had spoken to a health professional and was told to make an appointment in a couple of weeks. I knew that in two weeks goodness knows what the situation would be.  It took a lot of guts to go to someone and say this is not normal and I need help.  But that first step is the hardest and the best step.

The First Step

We knew that we had to do something if there was any hope that things would get better.  I didn’t know about PANDA at the time but we thought the best point of call was to see our GP.  I was lucky with the GP because Steve was friends with him outside the Drs surgery and he had found medical solutions already and so we felt confident in going to him.

It was really hard to sit there and open up to someone and admitting that I was in trouble.  It took a lot of guts and support from Steve, immediate families and friends to do it and when it came out of my mouth it was a relief.  It was fantastic that Steve was there but the other important aspect was that our Dr LISTENED. He didn’t dismiss us……………..he got us to fill out a test/survey which Drs must fill out in order to diagnose PND/depression.  He also started to fill out a mental health plan which all Drs need to fill out.

However the most important thing that you need to be is TRANSPARENT.  You need to be honest because glossing over the issues will not help you in the end.  You have taken the first step so you need to be honest.

There are plenty of stories of Drs not listening and dismissing patients.  If you find this is your situation DON’T GIVE UP, seek another DR.

After seeing my GP, he referred my to a psychiatrist and psychologist who (touch wood) am very lucky worked in the same clinic.  This gave me some confidence as all the Drs would be on the same page.  Even if they didn’t work in the same clinic, I would have still felt confident in my GPs referral as I was confident in him.  All my Drs were fantastic although at times I thought that they were wasting my time.

It was scary to tell a stranger what was happening.  I know in the back of my mind I was always wondering what they were thinking about me.  But through time and hard work they got me to open up.  The biggest step was when I opened up about my sexual assault.  Although it was such a hard thing to deal with, finally telling the truth to someone was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  To choose not to tell anyone for years, I will never know if it was the right decision or not.  The guy got away with it but at the time I could not tell as my Dad was dying and I just couldn’t go to the Police. But I did it. I told someone.

I spent a lot of time with my Drs and my psychologist challenged my thoughts.  The most helpful aspect of seeing my psychologist is that he gave me tasks to do at home in between our sessions.  They were hard and many I didn’t do as it was too challenging but all psychologists should provide tasks to do in between appointments.  Listening is simply not enough.  If you want to recover you need to make the changes necessary to recover.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Although Steve and I always wanted a second child, we both agreed it would be better after becoming well.  But that was not going to happen in this case.  One day I had became unwell but didn’t really think about it until I realised that I didn’t have my period.  But I recounted the month and thought that Steve and I had only been intimate once.  (I know poor Steve :) ). I talked myself out of it and thought there was no chance I was pregnant.

I remember calling a close friend who convinced me to get a pregnancy test and see her.  Thank god she as there for me as when the two lines came up, I burst into tears devastated that I was pregnant again.  I didn’t want to be pregnant and just thought how could it be possible? All I could say and think is ‘what the hell had I done?’  Thank god my friend was there to help me get through the initial shock (and there for me through the entire pregnancy).  Although I didn’t want to be pregnant, I also did not think about terminating the pregnancy either.  I was terrified of what people were going to say because already I had the clear message from my Drs not to get pregnant due to be on a high dose of medication.

So much was running through my head at this stage. I knew I was on a high dose of anti depressants and I just thought what the hell was it going to do to the unborn child.  I wish I had the information that I had now that the anti depressants don’t cause miscarriages but I also didn’t have the information what it would do to the foetus.

Then came the dreaded day of telling my psychiatrist.  Although he was professional at the time but the look on his face was enough for words.  He wanted to take me off the medication for the first and third trimester due to the dangers.  My god what a decision to make.  Here he was telling me to come off them and not really thinking about little Grace at home.  It absolutely tore Steve and I apart with such a huge decision.  We spent endless hours discussing what we thought was best.  We made the decision that Grace’s wellbeing was too important and that we would not risk me coming off the medication.  I needed to be well (except for the daily vomiting) for Grace’s sake.  I knew that we would get through whatever the outcome was with our unborn child.

We had a massive range of opinions but we had the support of family and friends and that was what was important.  We tried to block out, the opinions that we were harming our unborn child because they were not with us when we made the decision to remain on the medication.  They did not witness the tears and anguish that went on when making this decision.  People should try and walk in another person’s shoes before they make a comment.  We had Grace to think of through all of this and we did what was best for our family unit.  I do not regret our decision at all.

The Pregnancy

This pregnancy was definitely different from Grace. I definitely had a great relationship with the porcelain bowl as I was vomiting everyday even on the day I gave birth.  But as they say better out than in.  I had blood pressure issues especially in the last trimester and I was constantly getting monitored in the last few weeks with the blood pressure and the fact that Emma wasn’t being overly active.  I also could not walk and of course there was no sleeping due to being in so much pain.  So I was definitely looking forward to the due date.

During this time, I kept my obs up to speed on how I was feeling.  We had a good relationship and I felt it was important that he should also be aware just in case.

Em was also a caesarean birth. I probably enjoyed her birth more because it was good to hear the laughs from the drs as they pulled Em out.  Although I felt that Em was going to be a boy, we had to ask a few times what we had because they had their arm on her private parts.

The downward spiral

Like Grace I had no bond to Emma.  But it was definitely different to Grace.  Em breastfed wonderfully but sadly that was stopped due to the anti depressants.  But I hated Emma early on. I wanted to drown her and didn’t want to take her home.  It was such a stressful situation especially with discharge coming up.

But with everyone aware of my situation, the nurses contacted my Obs straight away for advice.  He immediately contacted my psychiatrist for days and very sadly my psychiatrist didn’t return his calls.  My GP even tried to call him with no success.  Things were getting challenging as I becoming more unwell so my Obs contacted a friend who was a psychiatrist and he came and assessed the situation.  He immediately said that I couldn’t go home and he referred me into a mother baby unit.

My Stay at the Mother Baby Unit

Instead of strapping little Emma into her baby capsule and feeling the excitement, anxiety, overwhelmed feelings which parents feel when they are taking their child home, all I felt was the dread that I was heading to another hospital and that I had to take Emma with me.  I knew that this was the best option for us but there was a part of me that simply wanted to die.

The thought of being in a mother baby unit was quite scary simply because I had no idea what was going to happen.  Each mum had their own room (at the one that I attended) whilst the baby slept in rooms allocated for infants.  It felt so lonely there as the majority of mums were there for sleep school.  I felt just so isolated as already I felt like a monster with the way that I was feeling.  At first I spent the majority of the time in my room as I was given time to continue to recover from my caesarean.

The nurses were wonderful and there were a few a relied on to get me through the hard stages and kept me grounded.  I definitely would have been lost without them.

The other challenge I was to face was starting all over again with another psychiatrist.  However I was extremely lucky to have a doctor who I owe so much of my life to.  It was hard to build a new relationship with someone else but I think it helped that I had already overcome being honest about so many issues that I had been hiding for so long.

I was a high risk patient to have in a mother baby unit as there was some concern about how I would feel with other babies screaming all the time and how it would affect my behaviour.  I was also told to stop breastfeeding which was disappointing this time because Emma was attaching better than Grace.  But I was on such a high dose it was better for Emma.  Emma struggled to feed.  It took hours to feed her 10mls.  It was wonderful for Emma to be under a paediatrician as they worked really hard to get Em to start feeding.  Emma was labelled as failing to thrive and had to be tube fed for a while which was heart breaking to see.  Em was also sent to the Children’s Hospital to see if there was any other problem and was diagnosed with silent reflux.

During my time in the mother baby unit I also had ECT (electroconvulsive treatment).  All I could envisage is them putting a cap on my head and frying my brain.  The nerves before it happened was horrible.  Although I was provided with heaps of information, reassurance and people answered any questions, I was terrified about the process.

When the first day came I was taken early to the theatre and the staff there were extremely encouraging.  The doctors showed me exactly what was going to happen and then I was given a mild anaesthetic. By the time I had all of the procedures for a person who would hyperventilate just seeing a needle I was able to get over my fears of needles.  Although they said that the first one was the hardest as they had to test the various levels to see what worked best.  I felt like I had run a mile and my muscles were sore but when I woke up I had no idea that I had a child.  I couldn’t remember where I lived and I felt so blank.  Sometimes I feel that my memory is affected by the ECT treatments but having them was the best option.

All up in the mother baby unit I spent four months there trying to get better.  They provided programs in the day and I was provided so much support with my bonding and looking after Em.  Grace visited all the time as it was important that she saw her new sister and we had so much help from family and friends in looking after Grace.  Steve was simply fantastic.  He immediately changed roles of caring for Grace full time and we were extremely lucky his boss is family orientated and told Steve to do whatever he had to do.

I met some wonderful mums in the mother baby unit who were fantastic to chat to as we were there for so long.  I still keep in touch with a few of these mums.

Going Home

We did finally go home.  Was it the right time……………..in hind sight it probably wasn’t the right time.  It was hectic going home and settling Em into home life as well as spending time with Grace.  Grace became clingy and got upset often if I went out without her. She was so worried that I wasn’t going to come back.

Over the next four months I spent a lot of time in-between appointments, doing part time work as well as participating in some day programs in the mother baby unit.  The main program I did during the next four months was called Baby Love.  This was a confronting program as we had to video tape our interactions with our baby.  Then during the program these video recordings were analysed and we discussed where we had trouble with interacting.  I learnt amazing things from this program that I still use suggestions with my girls.  But the main aspect I learnt was how much I loved Emma.

However throughout the four months, things were steadily getting worse. My self harm was increasing and the girls were at risk of harm.  I went and saw my psychiatrist and I knew I had to admit what was going on.  So after much discussion I agreed to head back into the mother baby unit again.

My Second Admission

Going back there for a second time was heartbreaking. I felt like such a failure to my family.  I was devastated that I had to separate our two girls again.  But i knew I was in such a mess and this was the best place for me to be.  However I was told that I couldn’t stay in the mother baby unit as I was to high risk to the other children and so they sent Em home and I had to go over to another section of the hospital.

Believe me what I saw there was eye opening but it was the best place for me.  I didn’t want the girls to come visit as I couldn’t face them at present and my psychiatrist knew that this was going to be a tough but important stay as it was focused on me. I met so many people there and the first few days all I felt that it was like being back at school with the various clicks.  There was a wide variety of problems there but in a way it helped that people understood.  They ran programs during the day to provide strategies.  I also did a lot of journal writing.  It was with the journal writing that my psychiatrist knew exactly what I was thinking.

With that knowledge my psychiatrist knew I had to have a medication change but that was a massive risk with my ability to handle the withdrawal symptoms.  Therefore the decision was made to do more ECT to help break that time.  Instead of doing unilateral they did bilateral and at least I was not as nervous.  We wrote down the important things so I could have them as a constant reminder as Steve was not able to be there as he had to look after the girls.  But I found it wasn’t as bad as the first time.

I spent three months in this section and believe me it was the best thing I did.  The most major milestone that occurred whilst I was there was that I told my mum about the rape.  That was a massive moment but I knew I had to do it and the world lifted off my shoulders.  I asked for the girls to start to visit and I spent a lot of time discovering more tools in keeping well with mindfulness and meditation. When I was transferred to the mother baby unit I felt just so well and it was the right time.

Em came back into the hospital and we spent a month re-bonding.  When I finally went home I knew that it was the right time.

The rest of my journey

I have spent the last 9 months regularly seeing my doctors but they are not as frequent now which is a great step.  I have done a few programs in depression management and acceptance and commitment therapy.  The best moment of my time at home was that one day that I turned around and saw Grace and Emma and thought I truly love my true girls.  Finally I had that moment that mums have for the first time. Although at times I hate that it came so late but I thank everyone who has helped me on this journey to actually reach this moment.

I do have times when I struggle but I don’t go back to the bad days.  I never thought I would ever say that although I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone, I also wouldn’t change it for the world because I am now the mum that I truly want to be and I finally accept my past, my story and am finally back in touch with the person who I always wanted to be.

I now only see my psychiatrist every 6 weeks or more and I said good bye to my psychologist a few months ago.  My aim is to keep well for 12 months and start coming off my anti depressants.

 

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