Recently, I have started to follow A Cornish Mum. She runs a linky each month for bloggers to post ten things they…View Post
I went to counselling for a while last year.
Although this was a challenge for me at first, I am really positive about the benefits of this kind of help. I have come to realise it takes strength to face your demons.
I am lucky though. I have a supportive family and in this instance I had a wonderful friend who encouraged me to make the call. You know who you are and for that – and all the other times you have been there for me, of which there have been many – I thank you.
As I picked up the phone and dialled the number, my hands were shaking and heart racing. I felt nervous.
I had conflicting feelings at the time. Even though I had been to counselling before, I still struggled with taking this step.
My inner dialogue went something like this:
“Surely I should be over this by now…”
“…But I nearly died.”
“I didn’t though and my children are here in front of me, happy and thriving…”
“…But I feel angry that I missed the first few days of their life.”
“Everything is okay now, just get over it…”
“…But I have horrible flashbacks of what happened, which makes me feel sick and panicky.”
And so on….
Eventually, I made the call. The first time, I hung up before anyone answered. They called back but I was too anxious to answer. A few hours later, I dialled again. A very friendly lady answered the phone, took my details and booked me in. I realised that it wasn’t a sign of weakness (a word that I hear people use in connection to therapy all too frequently) that I needed somebody to talk to. Rather it was a sign of strength and determination to deal with my experiences, ensuring that I could appreciate the boys’ early years.
I went to my sessions. They were brilliant and really helped me see things clearly.
The counsellor was welcoming and calm; he asked me open questions and listened intently. He didn’t judge me. He gave me time and space to talk about how I had been feeling.
It felt good to speak to someone who didn’t have any emotional attachment to the situation and could look at it impassively, without concern. I feel it is important that he didn’t give me advice because it was more about coming to my own conclusions.
I didn’t feel that I was wasting the man’s time.
At the end of my first session, he suggested that I was suffering from PTSD. I was not entirely surprised. Up to this point I had wondered if it was post-natal depression. Later, while researching this blog, I have found out that, sadly, PTSD is very common in cases such as mine.
This whole experience got me thinking: why don’t I write it all down? That’s why I started this blog. Perhaps subconsciously I sought to use it as a different type of therapy.
I am sure that many people were unaware of the inner turmoil I was going through after the birth.
I have a very good poker face, which usually only my mum and husband can see through. I have to point out that unfortunately that doesn’t seem to work when I am actually playing poker, I am rubbish at it. Although I have usually had wine and giggle too much, which probably doesn’t help.
I also think that some close to me didn’t realise how ill I actually was after the boys were born. I hope this blog can change that. I may not have had the strength to speak about it in detail to my nearest and dearest, but I do have the strength to write it – well I hope I do or this blog isn’t going to get very far.
I am keen to raise awareness of HELLP through the blog as well.
I have a fire in my belly to do that now; I would never have had the strength to do that a year ago.
One of my favourite bloggers, The Anxious Dragon, wrote a thought-provoking post on whether someone is a survivor or a victim; this has given me food for thought for the last 24 hours. I am proud to be both. I think that is what makes us human.
For more information on Counselling, please visit the NHS website
I had often wondered when I would feel them move in my tummy and what it would feel like. I had waited for a lifetime to find out.
When I was pregnant I worried the whole time.
I had seen the scans, there was definitely two-somethings in there, but I couldn’t feel them. It was odd and unsettling.
How could my body be creating life and yet I couldn’t feel them.
I am in bed. Cosy. Happy. Relaxed.
I startled; what was that?
Did I imagine it?
There it is again.
Like someone running a finger along the inside of my stomach.
Strange, magical, wonderful… nothing else mattered…
That was the start, I could soon visibly see my stomach move as four feet kicked out from my bump.
It made every ache and pain worth it, as I watched my HELLP babies grow inside of me.
I didn’t know it as I lay there in the comfort of my own bed but we had a hell of a journey coming up…
I didn’t want to be a working mummy. As the end of my maternity leave started to rear its ugly head, my heart was heavy with dread.
I really didn’t want to leave the boys. It took me so long to recover from HELLP that it took forever for me to get into the swing of things. Well the fact I was recovering, along with the inevitable sleep deprivation that comes with being a new mummy.
So I was thrilled – to say the least – when an opportunity came up to move to Germany. It meant we could afford for me to stay at home for a little bit longer.
That was a few years ago now and in the summer of last year, I decided to look for a new job. I was thrilled when I got an exciting new role, writing and editing for a newspaper.
However, I was worried about working:
- How was I going to fit everything in with a job as well.
- I felt guilty about working and ‘leaving’ the boys.
- How will I cope if the boys are up in the night and I am shattered in the day.
- How on earth was I going to get us all out the door early enough in the morning to get them to kindergarten and me to work EVERY DAY?????
- I feared that my brain-cells had depreciated to the point of non-existence, after 3 years of doing nothing more taxing than singing the alphabet and counting to 10!
I can’t tell you how much I admire the mummy’s who go back to work sooner, hats off to you all. You are all amazing! It was hard enough going back when I did, the boys were just about to turn three.
Six months on I can now reflect back on my fears:
- Everything does just fit in. Well maybe not everything but the important things are still done every day. For example giving my boys cuddles and reading them books. Housework can wait, or at least it can until it is really driving you really crazy!
- Mummy guilt comes with the territory. I am yet to meet a mummy that doesn’t have this. So, if I didn’t feel guilty about working it would, no doubt, be about something else!
- Tiredness: That is what coffee and biscuits are for!
- Getting out the door in the morning is still impossible. We are often rushing and my neighbours can usually see me rushing out the door in the morning. I can be seen tellling the boys to stop standing in the middle of the garden to watch the grass grow and quickly get into the car. They don’t listen of course.
- As for my brain-cells… well you may have to ask my colleagues.
So what is the best thing about being back at work? Well, I do think it makes me a happier mummy, I get to do something that is just about me. That and my fabulous colleagues love cake….and I very much like cake!
Pregnancy with twins, how hard can it be I asked myself?
Morning sickness. That was fun. Whoever called it morning sickness was lulling us into a false sense of security. I will only be sick in the morning, 12:00 will come along and it will fade away until tomorrow. Ha Ha HA! Let me tell you there was no morning sickness with me. I had morning, noon and night sickness, constantly, for 5 months. This did have its perks, I did lose weight during these months, all put on again, and some, of course.
How big can I get?
I can tell you now, huge! I was bigger than I could ever have imagined. Bigger than a big person on a big day. Bigger than Mr Big… you get the idea…
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had to get out of bed to turn over. My bump was so heavy. When I turned over in my sleep, I felt like I was being crushed. I have a photo taken outside the London Eye a week before the boys were born and I am unrecognisable, I look like the elephant man.
Tiredness – wow that was a killer, I was incredibly tired all the time. Towards the end I had to lie down after a shower as my heart was beating quickly and I could see black spots swirling around randomly, I was shattered.
oh and I had a weird pain, like a stitch, on my upper right side. It never went away.
As it turns out the swelling, the black spots, the pain and the tiredness (to that degree) was not normal. I didn’t know it at the time.
My midwife told me I was fine.
Nothing prepared me for what was to come…