Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Things NOT To Say To Someone With Postnatal Depression

Well, I finally start counselling today.  Please pray this lady will be helpful.

Maybe this post should have been titled, 5 Things NOT To Say To ME, but it'll be interesting to see if anyone can relate.

1.  But you have a beautiful baby
This is usually said when I've admitted that I haven't been doing too well.  Whether or not my baby is beautiful is beside the point.  You think I'm depressed because I think my baby's ugly?!?

2.  You're so negative/You just need to think positive
This is the one that really, REALLY angers me.  In fact, I had a run-in last week with someone who had a go at me for being negative.  The cult of positive thinking is very annoying.  Feeling depressed is not just something I can 'snap out of'.  It's not my life goal to go around feeling miserable and drag others down. I don't get a kick out of feeling overwhelmed and sad.  But I'm not going to pretend everything's ok just because some shallow people can't handle the truth (and the person I clashed with was someone I've known all my life - not a complete stranger or an acquaintance.  This person also had a go at me when my Nan died as well, despite it being less than two weeks after her death, plus they had attended the funeral just days before.  Unbelievable!).

3.  Just be happy/Just enjoy it
This is as bad as point 2.  Who 'enjoys' EVERY moment in life?  Again this reflects the world's obsession with shallow happiness being the ultimate goal.

4.  Back in my day we just had to deal with it/Toughen up/There are people who have far worse babies than you/You didn't expect it to be easy, did you?
It is not necessarily linked to circumstances - well, it is and it isn't (I doubt I would be feeling so down if I hadn't had a baby).  Yes, there are women out there with far more difficult babies than Rory, but it isn't about comparison.  It's about not being able to cope with what's on YOUR plate at that moment, regardless of whether others think you deserve a suffering medal or not.

5.  You need to hold it together for the sake of the baby
It's always about the baby!  As long as the baby is ok, very few people seem to care about the mother (and, in some cases, it's the father who has postnatal depression).  I often feel like screaming, "What about me?  The baby might be sleeping well, feeding well etc, but I'M not doing too well."

Anyone got anything to add to this list?  Feel free to list away...


Caroline said...

Most of these comments, and particularly saying that in "my day" we just had to deal with it,shows that the person speaking is ignorant about post natal depression. I suspect that if any of their family or friends had it, it must have been hushed up. But how can we look after each other if we don't talk about these things?

My mum was always aware of it as a possibility, as her auntie had it in 1934 - so it's not new.

Praying for you now Sarah, and that the counselling will be helpful.

Sarah said...

Thanks Caroline. The psych was very helpful. It was nice just having someone to talk to who I could be completely honest with.