Yesterday was World Mental Health day and it made me reflect on the past year.
It was a cold morning in December. We got ready for Ethan’s routine health check at the clinic with a health visitor. We arrived on time at the centre and everything was going well until Miss G, the health visitor asked me, “Ethan’s mum, how are you doing?”. I froze.
It was a challenging time back then, where sleep was neglected and I had forgotten what it was like to snore. Tough times. Miss G’s question hit me like an arrow straight through my chest. I could feel my eyes welling up, my body sweating and my heart pounding.
I faked a smile and gave her the usual statement. I think Miss G knew something that I didn’t at the time and she kept asking me questions about myself and being empathetic instead of checking on Ethan. The more she kept being empathatic, my smile faded and were replaced by tears streaming down my face. The flood gates had been opened. I couldn’t stop myself. I started to sob and couldn’t get a breath in. The room which was filled with other mothers and their kids went eerily quiet and I could feel that I became the kid in that room.
I’m thankful for Miss G and the NHS for asking me the question, showing empathy and allowing myself to face my emotions. Thank you for putting a name to the nimbus clouds that were hovering over me – postpartum anxiety. My mental health was not given any importance and I was too afraid to speak up and talk about my emotions even though I had the best support system around me. I have learnt lots over the year and things are so good now but the most important lesson I have learnt is to look after myself and be a little selfish which is work in progress.
I love this photo of Ethan and I from when he was baptised. The smile on my face, that was real.