All I have ever dreamt about was being a mum. I was going to be that perfect wife who baked pies ready for her husband when he walked through the door …”Hi Honey how was your day?” I would ask in my polka dot apron, perfect hair and make up, spotless house, immaculate children … No in reality somedays he would be lucky if I’d switched the oven on, I’d be pacing the lounge rocking my daughter pleading with her to nap. My hair looked like it had forgotten what a brush was, and he would receive the “how dare you walk in five minutes late” look. My poor husband! Truth is Most mums have days like this, they’re lying if they say they haven’t!
Why do we feel the need to put on a show to the rest of the world that being a parent isn’t hard work? Why can’t we be honest with each other and admit, wow it’s hard isn’t it? We need to support each other, adding this constant need to seem perfect doesn’t help anyone!
I felt I needed keep up the facade of a ‘perfect mum & wife’ and keep a spotless home, the pressure I felt was so overwhelming. (Pressure which was mostly put on me by myself) I constantly compared myself to others, I noticed parents around me competing and I’m ashamed to say I probably joined in and thought it was normal to begin with. But this all made me feel worse, it fed my negative thoughts, increased my depression and it was exhausting. Eventually I gave up worrying what others were doing and concentrated on my own life as a mum. After all no one knew what was going on with me behind my idyllic Facebook photos, to them we were a normal happy family. So who knows maybe these parents weren’t as perfect as they seem?
When my PND was diagnosed my first reactions were a mix of relief at realising what it was and great shame/embarrassment. I felt I couldn’t dare tell people as I’d seem ungrateful-after all what do I have to feel depressed about? I have everything I wished for and I knew I was lucky, a lovely home, beautiful healthy children and a loving husband. I feared people would think I was being ungrateful, and I didn’t have a right to feel depressed when others have such awful things going on in their lives.
This is the stigma of mental illness. This stigma really needs to be stamped out. Mental illness, especially depression & anxiety doesn’t care who you are. Suffering with PND isn’t my fault and I shouldn’t feel guilty, no one should feel guilty. It took me a long time – 3 years – before I felt I could open up about it, because now I know it’s not something I could help. It’s an illness.
I don’t compare myself to others or their lives anymore and I’m so much happier for it. Because You know what – none of us are perfect. I have had days where I’ve let the kids watch whatever they want all day because quite simply I’m exhausted. Days where dinners two days in a row – much to the kids delight! – have consisted of potato waffles, peas and turkey dinosaurs because I can’t be bothered or I’ve forgotten to even get anything ready for dinner. We all have days like this and we are scared to admit this to seem anything less than perfect. We would all be much happier if we were honest and probably find that we are all the same! We need to support each other instead of competing and bringing each other down. We would all be much happier for it.