Letter To Me

‘If I could write a letter to me
And send it back in time to myself at 17…
I’d say I know it’s tough
When you break up after seven months
And yeah I know you really liked her and it just don’t seem fair
All I can say is pain like that is fast and it’s rare…
You’ll make it through this and you’ll see
You’re still around to write this letter to me’

Brad Paisley, Letter To Me 

I’ve been thinking, these past few weeks, what I would tell my ‘Pre-Reuben, Pregnant-Self’, if I could go back in time. The phrase that sticks in my mind is very simple and not at all profound, but I think I needed to hear over and over again – “You’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

If I could turn back the clock, to my first Scan at 6 weeks, when all the trouble began, I would put my arms around myself, giving the biggest and tightest squeeze I could manage, and say “It’s going to be ok, I promise!” 

I’d whisper – “I know you are fearful, that you’re not going to be able to carry this baby all the way, but you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

As the months went on and I was off work with awful morning sickness, I’d stroke my hair, as my head hung over the toilet bowl, and sooth myself with the words “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

As I struggled to eat, afraid of weight gain and my eating issues returning, feeling powerless to overcome them, I’d sit silently for company.  As I forced myself to eat a sandwich, I’d nod my head in reassurance “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

With every weekly scan, that seemed to have no good news only conflicting problems, I’d hold my hand tightly, as if to absorb the fear, encouraging my heart with “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

As people commented on my lack of pregnancy growth and asked insensitive questions about the health of our baby, I’d give myself grace to be angry but strength not to rise to it. All the while assuring my wrestling mind “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

As Reuben was pulled from my tummy and I looked at him with terror and uncertainty, I’d tell myself I’d had done a great job carrying him safely and getting through the C-section. So, no matter how I might feel in these first moments, “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

When everyone left the hospital, on the first night, and I wanted to die with shame, fear, and hate for myself and my ‘non-feelings’ towards my little son, I’d allow myself time to explore those emotions, without blame, all the while repeating “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

When I wanted to run out the door and leave my baby, my family and my life behind; when I truly wondered if I could ‘get out of this world’ any time soon; when I wished someone would confirm my belief that Reuben was not mine, I would rub my weary shoulders, dry my tears, make myself a cup of tea, and provide myself the luxury of falling asleep in peace, with the comfort blanket and safety of the promise, “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

When I felt like a failure at breastfeeding, mums groups and every other ‘mum task’ I believed I could not do, I would give myself a break and re-educate my mind and heart on what being a mum is really all about. In doing so, I’d hopefully hang tight to “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

When the anxiety was so bad that I could not eat, sleep, answer the door or leave the house, I’d give myself time to understand the illness and, armed with the facts, help my mind to accept “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

And when I was terrified of facing a diagnosis of PND, taking the Antidepressants, and going to the Mental Health Centre, I would remind myself that I don’t believe that I walk through life alone, and that God, and those around me, could believe for me, for now, “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

It’s been a hard journey and a road that I am still walking. I have been in treatment for 4 months and I know that I am beginning to heal. There are still days when I weep, for all that has gone before, and wonder what lies ahead. But in those moments, or hours, I allow the words “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!”  to hug around me like a soft blanket and warm my heart like a sweet cup of tea. At this point, I have truly come to trust and rely on them.

I don’t know what stage of life, journey with PND, depression, anxiety, or another struggle, you are at. But if I could come and join you right now, I’d put my arms around you and repeat the words “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!”, over and over again. I can’t promise there are not still dark and difficult days ahead. I know, only too well, that the past cannot be changed and that memories take time to heal. But I also know that there is help and hope available and people who want you to find it. I am one of them – feel free to get in touch. Do not deal with this on your own. Please reach out to someone, so that you can hear the words “you’ll make it through this –  it’s going to be ok!” 

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4 Responses

  1. thisisme says:

    You know what, you will make it through and everything is going to be ok 🙂
    Mx

  2. Michelle says:

    Hi I myself have struggled with PND for probably 5 years now and no further on felt amazing after having my first child but my 2nd happened very quickly after and never quite felt the same from the word go I’ve since had my third and still struggle with how I feel I’ve been to gp sure they give me tablets which didn’t agree with me tried a few tried speaking to a councillor still feel low nothing really feels right it’s like I’m coasting along my husband is very supportive but yet I feel numb its nice to know ur not the only one who feels this way

    • Hi Michelle, I am so sorry to hear that you are still struggling – it can be such a long and difficult road. You mentioned that you tried tablets, from the GP, but they didn’t agree with you. I had a similar reaction to an AD that I was given, first time round. But they changed the type and these (Citalopram) work really well for me. Yes, I had the usual side effects to start with but they have been a lifeline – the only reason I share that is to say that, for me, it was worth trying again with something else. You are definitely not alone. Are you on twitter? There’s also a great support network if you search #pndhour #pndchat or if you are on Facebook have a look at PNDandMe – you’ll find lots of lovely people there too. Check out my support page, if you do want other ideas of where to look for resources. Please feel free to keep in touch!

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