Parenthood after depression

Parenthood: Once bitten, twice not so fucking shy

Parenthood changes your entire life. Heck, even wanting children changes your life. The journey into parenthood is different for each family, and so, the ride of parenthood is different. Of course, parents share similarities, the overwhelming responsibility, the stress, the joy, the love. You need only share a bottle of wine with another mother and she’ll open up and tell you how fucking hard this shit is, the insanity of child birth and how many people she would kick into a burning pit of hell just to save her child from the flames. It’s fucking mental.

Dipping your toes into parenthood. No, no, wait, that is incorrect. There’s no dipping. Being thrown, face first at full speed into parenthood is nothing short of some kind of beam me up Scotty magnificence. You don’t notice, but you and your life transform. Zapped from your previous life of doing what the hell you wanted, when the hell you wanted, to a life of figuring out when exactly was the last time you spoke to your partner about anything other than running the house and the kid. Relationships change. Priorities change. Social events change. Before you know it you will be lying awake on a Sunday morning at 7am saying ‘Mind that time we used to sleep till 12, order Pizzahut and binge watch box sets until 4am?’.

None of this bothers me. Well, I would like the ability to wake on my own, have some free time and be able to sit on the sofa for 20 consecutive minutes, but overall, I’ve made my peace with parenthood. In fact, some might say I enjoy it!

It’s no secret this was not always the case. The destruction of my mental health, relationship with my partner and my entire self is something I have been vocal about. The reason I am here to write these posts. Now, I cannot see the old me, the very depressed, struggling new mother. I can relate and empathize, I still feel the pains and emotions. But I feel our mind has the ability to almost forbid us for truly understanding the past. When I read an old blog post, I become upset. Who is this person? This is not me. I have been free from the depths of that dire depression for long enough that I do not know how long, or when the change occurred. I feel my pain, yet it’s difficult to truly understand. What I do understand is the extreme power of my illness, I don’t understand past me, but I am fully aware of the strength of depression. The only thing that I am frightened of. 

If depression had never bulldozed our life, I’m fairly certain there would be a smaller age gap between Jess and the baby I’m currently baking. Like I say, the effects of depression are not to be dismissed at all. That insidious beast weaved into every dark corner and used it’s wrath to eat me from the inside, infecting relationships, perspectives and my ability to love. Combined with societal pressures, listening to people give opinion after opinion on everything and anything parenthood related, it’s really no fucking wonder so many parents get bitten by parenthood and crumble. 

Not this time my friends.

Run one of parenthood has left a lot of things behind. Let’s not be shy here, I’m absolutely terrified of depression. Arguably the thing I worry about the most in our future. But what depression destroyed, I (not on my own) rebuilt. Ironically, the thing depression crushed entirely, is now my strongest feature, my confidence. I’m still at the mercy of the usual insecure traits, don’t get this false impression that I walk about making eye contact and chatting with everyone I see. Jesus no. I still hate the general public. But if a random person was to ask my honest opinion on parenthood, then you bet it would turn into one of those awkward, tumbleweed, silent scenes after I had unleashed my inner workings on the poor bugger.

I have no shame, guilt or barriers within my mind about parenting, or really any aspect of myself. In a sense, I’ve built quite the arrogant confidence. My view is correct, my opinion is valid, and I really don’t need to listen to the shite other people tell me is ‘best’ for me or my family. This should be applied by all parents out there. We are bombarded, daily, with how to parent, what makes a good parent, what we are doing wrong, how we should take our kids out to enjoy the forest, the beach, the pumpkin patch, how memories are far more important than anything else in this world.

Honestly, first time round I ate it all up. The parenting world is vastly over sensationalized and hyped. Children are the most precious things on earth, apparently easily damaged and should be celebrated and cared for first and foremost. Well-being of parents is an afterthought. Babies and kids are also big money makers for business, an advertisers dream. From holidays to toys, formula, car seats, utensils, wipes, nappies, linen, we are told what we ‘should’ be doing and how very important it is that we dance to the beat of society when raising children.

As a new, nervous, worried parent, you drown in this tsunami of ‘parenting’. Even the books health professionals hand out fill expectant parents with the fear of god. What we must avoid, what we must do to ensure normal development of our children. Books, songs, play dates, all reiterated over and over that we MUST be doing said activities daily, research has shown it is needed for proper cognitive development. I’m in agreement. But the approach to ‘helping’ parents just fuels insecurities when you mix in the rest of society’s pressures. It’s crushing and damaging, given that most new parents are terrified they ‘break’ their baby. All that shit certainly broke me. 

This time? They can really go fuck themselves. I’m doing just fine. I don’t need any that shit clogging up my mental health, adding unnecessary strain. I’m not afraid to say it this time, being a little shit, I’m looking forward to the comments, just so I can let rip. 

Sometimes, I feel people treat parents like children. Giving out tidbits based on their own point of view, completely negating what parents have to say. Other people have been there done that, and all with strong views, like myself, on what is best. But parents aren’t naive, innocent children. We are rapidly overcoming hurdles every day, building our own arsenal of skills that are needed in our unique family situation. Quite frankly, anyone that dares come near me with the breast is best debate will get a shoot out at noon from a mother that delved into the darkest pit of depression while she breastfed her baby, through tears and hate. 

No one has the right to impose their view on others. I sure as shit keep my opinions locked up if they form. Who am I to question anyone? I know nothing of the struggles of others. I don’t live the life of others. We are all so different in our journey that it truly puzzles me that anyone would have the audacity to tell another parent, well, anything, unless that parent was specifically asking for advice. 

My (our) parenthood journey is the one that is most valid and important to me. This time round, I know my worth. I know I don’t need to listen to any shite I don’t want to hear. I’m not an expert, I make mistakes, as do we all. First time mum me was insecure and crushed in the face of parenthood. Too many ‘experts’ giving too many opinions. From sleep training to feeding, none of it applies. None of it matters. My baby didn’t sleep through the night until about 8 months old. Something I was constantly told, and believed, was wrong. All that stress, anxiety and worry. For what? I wish I had the guts then that I do now. You do you, and let me do me. 

I know baby number two is going to change our life again. I’m not prepared, how can you be? This time, I’m willing to defend myself, protect my mental health from the whispers off all the parenting gossips. I might crush and fall again, who knows. But you can bet your arse I’ll not be entertaining the shite like I did last time. I’ve found my parenting ‘go fuck yourself’ voice and I’ll be using it on the first person that attempts to belittle any of my parenting worth. 

K x

2 Comments

  • Renee

    The parenting tsunami of information is seriously the *best* way of explaining it.
    I keep having to cut myself off. I read too much, care too much about what the “experts” say and what I supposedly “should” be doing.

    I’m keen to reach your level of parenthood confidence tbh, if that ever happens 😅

    Renee (This Anxious Mum on IG)

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