As its Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May), we wanted to share a personal story from our of our members and loyal followers Manraj, (Follow her on Instagram @northerbindi). Just in case you missed our previous post on Maternal Mental Health, you can read it here. We hope it will help you and inspire you in some way or another.
Manraj shares with us her motherhood journey in her depression.
Here are Maraj’s words.
My depression was harrowing.
I’m not really convinced that my depression was solely down to the trauma of giving birth to Arjun or whether I was always prone to it. I had suffered in my younger days and it had crept back into my life when I first got married. This time though it felt different. The internal pain was more physical. My heart hurt, it felt like someone was shredding it into small parts, slowly and deliberately to cause maximum pain. It felt like someone was actually my suffering.
As Arjun endured a new set of tests, and we were given further results which revealed more of the devastating effects of the brain damage, I withdrew more. I withdrew from Arjun and Dav. I showed him and Arjun no loving emotions, no tenderness and definitely no physical compassion, instead the anger at him for saving Arjun consumed me. Anger at Arjun for surviving. I know this sounds wicked, but it took me almost 10 years of therapy to admit to this, and then realise that in reality I was grieving.
Post natal depression or PND can hit you at anytime, it is not necessarily at birth or indeed after 5 day when the so called /baby blues hit. This is much more. In many cases you are left dealing with your emotions alone.
My most poignant memory is when I left Arjun with Dav and walked out of the house , knowing that I may not return. My mind was telling me to end it, drive my car straight into a wall or over a cliff edge. I cannot even begin to recall the deep dark emotions that clouded my numb mind. Yes, memories can play tricks on your mind sometimes, but I do recall parking up in the middle of nowhere (not really knowing where I was) and screaming in the car like a mad woman, almost beating myself as I did so. It was like the depression was consuming me from within and I was fighting with it physically as well as mentally, I recall the consuming anguish eating me and spitting me out.
I was truly alone.
It was only when I was exhausted that I felt the tug of the love for my son, for the child I had treasured in my womb for all those months that I managed blindly to return home. I have no idea how I got home, how I drove or how I survived, but I think the tug of love for my own blood running through Arjun, the love my parents and loss for Dav that brought me back, physically, not emotionally.
I am not saying that I am ok now. I am not. I continued to suffer with depression, triggered and exacerbated by two further difficult pregnancies and births.
I am what we call a ‘smiling depressive’. I smile on the outside but inside I’m a mess, but you know what, it’s ok.
Follow Manraj K Sanghera on her motherhood journey here. We share this story to empower and inspire you and to let you know you are not alone in your motherhood journey. All Mothers go through their own challenges, moments and problems. The real life of a mother is not as perfect as that depicted on social media. Never compare yourself to ideal and perfect images you see, most of the time thats not even real. It is what they choose for you to see.
Kensington Mums is a support network for Mums. In case you need advice, please seek professional help from experts.