For so long I was ashamed to share my story, feeling like I was going to be judged for being “unstable,” portrayed as some kind of desperate attention seeker or at worst be deemed as an unfit mother by social services and have my children taken away. I wasn’t a bad mother, although I believed that was my entire identity at the time. I was deflated until I had nothing left to give.
I had well and truly excelled at society’s expectations of a sexualized Betty Crocker. I worked in pencil skirts in sales roles until 37 weeks pregnant, juggled my school aged son’s six days of activities, and baked apple pies in my spare time. I knew I was going to smash being a mother again, and felt so obligated to maintain these RIDICULOUS standards I held myself to.
After my second son Xavier was born, he cried and cried from hunger due to feeding issues. My baby weight crept up and the “blues” never went away. All this nervous energy just kept bubbling until I felt so hopeless that I shut down any emotion at all. I couldn’t look forward to the day, let alone look at my baby and after going back to work when Xavier was a few months old. I went back to work in the hope that everyone else’s advice to “get out of the house” would help me regain some sanity and confidence. This is when I started experiencing psychotic episodes.
A nuclear war wouldn’t even get my attention. Combining a mental illness with (surprise!) hormones from a second pregnancy in 12 months with my third child, sent me to my breaking point. I was sent to a psychiatric facility for full time care. My fiancé took on caring for the kids by himself and at 20 weeks pregnant under strict observation I started taking medication – alongside intensive psychology sessions daily for a month, outpatient day programs, and even mental health focused mother’s groups.
Every resource possible was utilized, and there were so many more than I realized. We need to promote these resources to save lives. Being away from my family was so hard, but it gave me an honest perspective on what’s crucial for happiness. I know now that speaking up is so critical to begin the healing process, that getting through the day is all you need to accomplish, and swapping hostess duties for a good book and fluffy socks will benefit all involved.
Medicating during pregnancy is a controversial decision. Under guidance from my reputable psychiatric specialist, we both decided that it was the best chance of survival for both myself and my baby girl, who was thankfully born perfectly healthy. There are so many years ahead to have a shiny house with no fingerprints on the glass. You are one woman, you can achieve anything you’d like to if your happiness is wholeheartedly in it and you’re not punishing yourself because the media tells you that you should. Life is so much better in your little love bubble!