Much of the conversation about postpartum mental health revolves around the woman, the mother. Her body hasn’t been her own for the guts of a year, hormone levels are all over the place, and sleep levels are minimal. The conversation about postpartum depression centres around the mother’s mood and pressure applied to her. It’s a much needed conversation – 1 in 7 women are affected by PostPartum depression, and those are the reported figures. Many women suffer in silence from shame, from fear of the consequences for their family, from simply hoping it will go away. However, despite the conversation being all about the mothers, there is increasing evidence that it affects the fathers almost as much. We need to start talking about Paternal PostPartum Depression.
It’s two years since I came forward on this blog to talk about my journey through PostNatal Depression. Two years. Twenty Four Months. My son has grown up into a little boy, and me? I’ve changed too. Over the last two years I have come across a whole lot of different experiences when talking about my mental health. Most people are well meaning, and some interactions are really lovely. Others leave a lot to be desired. I got to thinking, perhaps a how-not-to-do-it list might work for a Mental Health Mondays post. (And then I got distracted by all the doom in the world so here we are on Tuesday, better late than never) So, here we are: 7 Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Depression.
Through this series, Mental Health Mondays, I’ve gotten to read and share some incredible stories of strength, character and even humour from other parents who have lived with mental health issues. It’s been inspiring and encouraging and has left me feeling so much part of a real group – parents who’ve battled our demons and lived to tell the tale. This week’s poster, Ellemental Mama, is yet another inspirational lady who has contributed to the series. Her piece looks at the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, in fighting depression. Hopefully you will find it as wonderful a viewpoint as I have!
Happy Monday! This week for Mental Health Monday, the lovely Jen from The Medicated Mommy has agreed to share a piece about her postpartum depression. This one is a bit different – she’s writing about the reasons that she is thankful for her postpartum depression. It’s not exactly the first thing you’d think of being for postpartum depression – it’s certainly far from the first thing I was and am – bitter, angry, annoyed being ahead in the line. It’s a really great piece which was eye opening to the things that can be brought out from it, and I’ve definitely started looking on my own experience in a different way.
It’s been a hectic few weeks with being away and trying to get back into the swing of things with E – September was a rollercoaster! However, back to normal scheduling now, so that means another addition to Mental Health Monday! This week, the very lovely Laura from Raising Elves has agreed to share her tale of trauma, depression and how it has affected her family life with the series. It’s a piece I found myself agreeing with a lot of and it summed up just so much of what being in the trenches with depression can feel like. As a parent with depression, I can see a lot of the same elements in my own life and it gave me pause to think about how it is impacting his life too. It’s an eyeopening read which I think a lot of people will relate to. So, without further fuss or ado, here’s Laura with her tale of being an awesome depression survivor!
This week’s Mental Health Monday combines with the World Suicide Prevention Day happening a few days back. I read this post from Claire who writes at Plodding Along Quietly Crazy. IÂ felt so much of it resonate with me. It’s brutally honest and from the heart, exactly the kind of conversations we need to be opening up. Silence is helping nobody in their battle for mental health. We need to talk about it openly and honestly. Claire is Mammy to two little men. She documents life with them and her battles with health and parenthood on her blog. You can also find her on Facebook. Hopefully this piece will resonate with you too and get you talking if you’ve been keeping schtum, or start off some conversations with those around you.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
After a few weeks break, Mental HealthÂ Mondays is back this week. Sharing stories of parents who have encountered all sorts of mental health issues, I hope that this series will educate, reassure and work towards removing the stigma of mental illness encountered by parents. The reception to it so far has been astounding, I’ve been really grateful to so many who have taken part, and to those who have read and commented and given feedback. It’s all about opening the lines of communication, removing the elephant in the room and making it a better space for people to be able to put their hand up and say “Hey, I need a bit of help here”. If you’ve not seen any of the previous posts, make sure to check them out here.
This week, Aoife from BuggyWalksIreland is talking all about the links between physical and mental health. She discusses the links to her increase in physical activity, like going for walks, to the upward levels of calm and happiness. This is something which definitely rang true with me, as I found no greater calm than putting E into the buggy and heading off on a long walk. The fresh air, the endorphins, the lack of four walls closing in on me – it did the world of good and definitely improved my view on the world.Â So without further intro, here’s Aoife and her story for this weeks Mental Health Mondays post.
I live with a dictator. Things are rarely on my terms, but on those of the short angry man I live with. His physical force rules the household, a fear of waking up to a variety of MMA moves on my head, the destruction of the living room a daily reality. There are days where I feel in control, but within minutes it can come crumbling down and we are under the thumb again. He practices techniques like water boarding (using a milk bottle, chewed through) and sleep deprivation, makes us ponder escape methods, ways to run away and change our identities.
Monday rolls around again so quickly, and with it, another chapter of the Mental Health Monday’s series rolls with it. I could really empathise with this week’s contributor, Josie, who blogs at Mumpreneur Inspiration. She wrote to ask to share her story of dealing with postnatal depression, something that I myself have dealt with in the last few years, and how this affected her career path. Josie faced another mental battle that most of us face – the guilt and feeling of not wanting to leave your little ones for the workplace – and so has worked hard to make her work life fit around her home life, not the other way around. Today’s piece is definitely inspiring from the point of view of the downs that PND can bring, yet the ways that you can flourish out of it and it can make you so much stronger. It’s all about what you do with it, and Josie is a great example of that.
After a week’s break, Mental Health Monday is back! This week, the lovely Claire of Confessions of a Single Parent Pessimist has allowed me to share her story of dealing with anxiety and depression and balancing it with family life. Claire writes about life as a single parent to Chunk, her son, and details her thoughts and ramblings about improving life for her family as well as bits ofÂ wisdom she has learnt along the way.
Happy Monday! To kickstart another week, I’m continuing the series of Mental Health Mondays with a contribution from a very lovely lady, Tracey who writes at Love of Living blog. Tracey is a mama to a gorgeous little boy, who blogs and vlogs all about their daily life and life as a parent in Ireland. She’s also very active on Snapchat, so you get to see all of the lovely unedited bits during the day – a true image of parenting life instead of JUST the shiny instagrammed stuff! She’s written previously about suffering with anxiety, so I was thrilled when she agreed to be part of the series! Here’s her take on her life with anxiety…
This week’s Mental Health Monday post comes from a blogger who I’ve followed for quite a while, the lovely Looking For Blue Sky. She writes about her experiences as a lone parent of three, of which two have special needs, in a very honest and loving way. In this piece, the strong Mama who spends her days making sure everyone else is A-Okay speaks of what happened with her own mental health. Not enough is said about the role of carers, in particular those who are caring for more than one person – it’s such a rewarding yet very stressful role and it’s important for the broader society to appreciate and look after our carers too. This post really does speak to the reality of what happens when the proverbial hits the fan with mental health. Here is what Looking For Blue Sky has to say…
I’m really happy with how this series has been going; the ability to share the stories of others who have experience with mental illness and mental health issues to a broad platform. I’m learning a lot along the way, and I guess that’s the point – for all I can say I think I know about mental health, there are a million stories out there containing things I’d never even imagine. Unlike the image thrown out there in the media, mental health is about more than anxiety and depression, it’s about more than going and getting a full nights sleep, eating right and exercising. The amazing Fiona, who writes at Sunny SpellsÂ and Scattered Showers, wrote a fantastic piece this week about her views on how mental illness is represented in the Irish media, which appeared in the Irish Times. Fiona writes on her blog about her experiences with BPD – borderline personality disorder – and the different therapies which she has encountered, the struggles and the triumphs and how it affects her and her family. I was thrilled when she agreed a few weeks back to join this series as I feel her experience is definitely one which we don’t get to hear much about and is so important to add to our understanding.
Since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for the Mental Health Monday series! It’s been going really well so far, with lots of amazing people sending me their stories and sharing them with the world to (hopefully) make anyone reading it feel less alone and less like they can’t cope. It sums up a broad spectrum of mental health issues; with a number of fantastic pieces lined up about depression, BPD, anxiety, panic attacks, and numerous other issues. The conversation does not, and should not, stop at depression and anxiety, it’s important that all mental health stories are spoken about.
For the second week of this Mental Health Monday series, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard is sharing her tale of suffering from anxiety. This is a subject which can be very difficult to discuss so I’m happy that she wanted to contribute to this series with it, hopefully to make someone else unable to put into words how they feel a little more able to express it. Suzy is a mother of two beautiful children, who uses great wit and humour to document her parenting journey at her blog, The Airing Cupboard.
To kick off this blog series all about mental health experiences by parents, I’ve got a blogger whose telling of her experiences was not only inspiring to me during my darker days of PND, but also to many others, resulting in her win of Best Blog Post in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014. Karen, who writes at Beating Myself Into A Dress, describes her experience with depression in such a relatable way, and is a fantastic advocate for mental illness in Ireland today.