Friday, 29 October 2010

Coffee and Post Natal Depression (PND)

When little Monkey was born he didn't know the meaning of sleep. He was alert, happy and active. He was pretty much everything a text book newborn isn't. And that is a trend that has continued through to today.  He provides me with daily challenges which is a character trait rather than a flaw. And I, now, love that about him but back in the dark days, I could barely cope.

I have many good friends but they all have their own lives and many had babies just a few months/weeks older than Monkey. Stud1 had just gotten a promotion and had to prove himself at work. All of this is/was understandable to me (even at 3am after hourly wakes and feeds from 6pm.) But understanding it didn't help what I now can see was PND. It was what I will call my twilight zone.

But I managed...

I managed to love Monkey with all my heart which is something I will be eternally grateful for.

I managed not to smother him when he woke hourly for three months.

I managed not to shake him when he woke two hourly for five months.

I manage not to drive my car under a truck the way I wanted to so that someone (anyone) would notice that I wasn't coping.
I managed to keep my marriage alive

I managed to smile

I managed to fool everyone.
People thought I was coping, they (Stud1 included) thought I was doing a great job on three hours sleep with a baby who was moving from 3 months. I drank coffee as a reward for a good night, as a way to regain some feeling of normalcy.

But I couldn't. I felt like I was stuck in a box and no-one could hear or see me. I went to my GP who said that I needed to get more sleep otherwise I would end up losing my husband (helpful advice - yes?) but couldn't help me get that sleep. I went to the local childcare nurse and she said she would refer me to a support group. A year into my twilight zone I finally got some help. Anne will always be my hero, for letting me talk about everything for hours on end and for letting me know that I was doing a good job.

But as time went on, and I still didn't feel like myself, I saw another GP and she suggested counselling. It helped and I am finally 2 and a half years into Monkey's life feeling like myself. I can honestly say that my PND hasn't had any obvious effect on him and I am thankful for that everyday!

Now how does coffee fit into this whole drama? Other than contributing to normalcy and occasionally exacerbating insomnia?

Coffee Group 

We met by going to antenatal classes together. We started meeting in the early days so that we had some where to go to see another adult and know that they had some idea of what was going on in our lives.

After a few teething problems (lol) we are now a group of seven very different mums with seven very different two year olds and few under ones, who meet weekly (sometimes more) for a chat over a beverage of choice while our hooligans run wild.

We are seven mums who are for the most part have no family nearby, one Canadian, one American, one from up North, one from down South, one from South Africa, one whose mum has sadly passed and one who is lucky to have family living locally. We have an understanding of how it is to be mums without family support and have become a very close sisterhood because of that.

We are friends now because of our babies and coffee!

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