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How’s your mental health and wellbeing?

Anxiety, stress, depression, yelling at the kids, yelling at your partner, bursting in to tears, a sense of overwhelming dread. Grabbing the bottle of wine, waiting for the warmth of that first gulp to numb your sense, so you are armed to survive the 4pm witching hour, then going for another glass only to realise the bottle is completely empty when you finally get to sit down for the night, with the final flutter of your children’s eyelids as they drift off to sleep.

This was the state of my mental health and wellbeing after the birth of my 3rd baby. And based on quiet and private chats I have had with other mums and all the internet meme’s out there, its possible you can relate to this too.

Don’t ignore what your body is telling you!

During my 3rd pregnancy my morning sickness was pretty bad throughout my first trimester and I really hit an all-time low. I didn’t have thoughts of self harming, but I seriously couldn’t function. My husband had to have time off to help manage with the kids, I struggled to go into work, and along with the usual hormonal changes pregnancy brings, I was pretty much in a constant state of tears for about 7 weeks, my husband urged me to get help, but I just brushed it aside putting it down to just being a pretty shitty first trimester. And as the hormones settled down the rest of my pregnancy was pretty smooth.

Georgia came along and cried the first 5 hours of her life, until we could get some food into her! Don’t believe them when they say they aren’t hungry when they are born, she was hungry and she was demanding food upon arrival! I had already battled through the breast feeding struggles with my first 2 and was comfortable with the decision we had already made before Georgia arrived that she would be a bottle fed baby. Even while the midwife was milking my non-swollen, non-tender, deflated breasts for colostrum that didn’t exist, as Georgia cried for food, I knew I had made the right decision. And this relief in itself was a weight off my shoulders. We brought her home and she was a breeze, dream baby sleeping through from 6 weeks

!

So with the feeding sorted, Georgia’s day and nights around the right way I thought settling into life as 5, shouldn’t have been too hard! And really it wasn’t, I had everything under control, we were in a routine and everyone seemed happy. But me.

As a mum, you are focused on giving everyone else the absolute best, and consumed with the worry of someone not being fed or nappies being changed. You give everything you have to your little creations, getting them to kinder or school on time, going to dancing or whatever extracurricular activities they are enrolled in or feel like you should have them enrolled in.

Then there is your relationship! Your partner that craves your attention too, and needs to feel validated in their behaviour, praised for putting on a load of laundry like it’s the biggest favour in the world, and you owe him. Then sometimes after dealing with shit up to your eyeballs the last thing you want is that “tap” on the shoulder!

So you snap!

After the tears, or the yelling or however you let your frustration out has passed and remains merely a dull thud of ache in your heart the depths of mum guilt start to wash over you. With just one you being shared by multiple people who need your all consuming love and undivided attention, how could you have behaved so poorly. There is no justification for the snap, where’s the wine?

A few of these episodes later and me trying to find a solution in a number of bottles of wine, my husband raised the subject of talking to a professional.

Can you ask for help?

I can’t!

I am a strong woman, I am told I am a strong woman, and I was raised by a strong woman. Being one of four girls I never experienced inequality growing up. Not in relation to the sex I was born as anyway!

So asking for help, to me was like admitting I had a weakness. I didn’t end up asking for help, but I got lucky!

Instead, I took Georgia in for her 12 week immunisations with our local nurse at the GP. In her past life she was a midwife, she saw the signs and asked the right questions. She asked how I was, and was genuinely interested in the answer! I tried to hold it together, but the tears started to flow. I told her I was emotional, I didn’t understand why, when I should be so happy and grateful for everything I have. Physically I was fine, but emotionally I was a roller coaster and my family was along for the ride.

She gave me a hug, and told me this was totally normal, being a mum is hard! And female hormones don’t always work in our favour. She talked of her own experiences as a mother and as a midwife and recommended a natural plant based supplement called Mannatech Plus, which supports emotional wellbeing and evens out the ups and downs of scattered hormones. I currently take 2 a day, but have been known to take up 6 depending on how……….jittery, I feel. (They are natural, so you can’t go overboard on them, my nurse told me she has taken over 15+ on her worse days.)

There are other benefits also, my periods are more regular, and not as heavy.

How I ease my anxiety and stress.

I also couple the Mannetech Plus, with My Anxiety Tea during the afternoons on days I’d usually be grabbing the red wine. Essential oils also help to keep things under control and I’ve found a dab of Eden’s Garden Anxiety Ease coupled with the Lavender also seems to keep me calm. If I have time, I will try some mindfulness or focused breathing.

  

It’s hard to ask for help, and I also know from my own experiences that there will be some of you reading out there that feel exactly the same way I did, but don’t know what to do, or are too strong to maybe admit to a perceived weakness. So this is why I have offered up my story and how I manage my stress and anxiety. If we can’t openly talk about it, how can we help each other?

Please know you aren’t alone, and if the natural methods above don’t work for you, I urge you to talk to someone. Message a girlfriend, your sister or your mother, email me, speak to your husband, see your GP, or call PANDA or Beyond Blue.

You are not alone.

Your mental health and wellbeing matters.

Our minds are the drivers behind everything we do, so if you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing how can you be achieving everything you dreamed of? Can you create while you are in a “funk”? Can you focus on the kids when your mind is wondering elsewhere?

Being a strong woman is fantastic, but it takes a stronger woman to ask for help! You are the only one that can wrangle the control from your emotions and assess how you feel on the inside. So please take stock of how you are really feeling. And if you think you might need some help, please just ask.

If you’d like to share your story, I would love to hear from you, please do email me at nicole@mumsonline.com.au.

 

 

 

 

14 Comments

  • MelanieP72

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Mental health for mum’s is definitely a topic that needs to be discussed more openly. I know exactly what you are talking about when you mention how hard it is to ask for help. I am lucky that I have a very understanding husband but it still doesn’t stop me from saying things I instantly regret.
    I know we are only human but sometimes it really does feel like we need to be “superwoman” just to get through the day.
    Glad you found something to help you cope with your stress. I use exercise (I go to a boxing gym) to release all my stress – well a good chunk of it anyway! I do feel that getting time to spend on yourself whether it is shopping, movies, the gym, the library – anywhere where YOU want to be is really important too.
    Cheers

    • Nicole

      Thanks for your comment Melanie, I absolutely agree when I get the chance I find exercising works for me too, but its usually the first thing that goes out the window when the pace of life picks up, but I must make more of an effort to stick to it cause I know it helps. Thank you for taking the time to read, and I am glad you have found a release. 🙂 (I have the same regret also with what I say to my husband, lucky they are understanding.)

  • Thabo

    What a really touching story on your post. I have always seen women taking it all especially during pregnancy and think to myself that “wow” women are unique beings.

    When my aunt was pregnant we as boys thought she hated use but didnt realize it was because of the inflation of hormones and everything happening at once to her. Gladly when her mom came home to help her with the pregnancy phase things got a little bit better.
    Through my aunt’s story and yours I have learnt a great deal about women and that getting help can help with stages of pregnancy stress especially.

    Great post

    • Nicole

      Thanks Thabo, and thank you for sharing your Aunty’s story. I think its been such a hard topic about is their is a perception of how pregnant women and mothers are supposed to be, that if we dont fit the mould we become ashamed and hide how we really feel. But gradually, and hopefully through articles like this we can break down these walls and support each other dispelling the shame that exists.I hope your Aunty’s journey continued smoothly into parenthood. 🙂

  • Vicki

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I have two kids under 3 and there are days when I snap too. I feel like everyone relies on me for different things but I never get any thanks and the things I do around the house is often underappreciated. Because stay at home mums don’t bring in money it does make you feel like your 24hr, 365 day a year role is not a job but actually it is the hardest job in the world. You don’t feel like yourself for quite a while and you are constantly thinking of the next thing that needs to be done. I have several friends who feel very low at times too so I think every mum goes through it. We should all be speaking out and not feel embarrassed because we find it hard sometimes. Great post and lovely family picture. I will be looking into your recommendations regarding the supplements and teas. Definitely worth going down the nature route when you can. I am glad your GP didn’t just supply you with a prescription for anti depressants.

    • Nicole

      Hi Vicki, thanks so much for your honest comment. It is such a hard job, and you just cant prepare yourself before hand for it. I agree, there should be no embarrassment at all around when we find motherhood tough and I am glad to hear you all support each other through it and talk about it, there should be no shame because it is a huge roller coaster and times can be so tough. Please let me know how you go with the tea and supplements, I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

  • Angie

    I think all Mum’s can identify with your story. I’m a single Mummy of a nearly 3 year old and some days the fear and stress is overwhelming. I love that you’ve touched on hormones and mood, not everyone makes that connection, and our hormones can sure get messed up with pregnancy and being so bloody tired all the time. Lucky Mum’s are made awesome!! Thank-you for sharing so openly, this is a conversation that we should always be having xo

    • Nicole

      Hi Angie, thank you for your comment. My hat goes off to you as a single mum, you would have a whole set of different challenges to deal with as well. I hope you have some awesome friends you can chat to about your fears and stresses and I am only an email away if you need to get something off your chest. Uuuggghhhh the hormones, the Plus certainly helps even out the ups and downs. Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself, and please feel free to email me if you would like to chat anytime. xo

  • Thuy

    Hi there Mum! As a mother of five boys (ages 21-3), I completely sympathize with you! Even one baby can be a handful like just being with my 3 year old! It’s great to have a site where moms/mums can feel understood and supported and given helpful advice to get through the tough days ahead. We’ve all just got to live in the moment as best we can and enjoy our babies before we look back and wonder where the time went. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Nicole

      Hi Thuy, thanks for your comment and feedback on the site. 5 boys you go mumma! You certainly have your hands full. And so true with your comment, we do have to live in the moment and enjoy our babies and also take care of ourselves in the meantime. I wish you all the best through your motherhood journey. 🙂

  • Shantaye

    This post is such a huge reality check! As moms, we tend to think that we should be “superwomen”. Often times we forget that we need to take care of ourselves as well, and our mental health is often put on the back burner. Thanks for shedding some light on this serious, yet overlooked part of our overall health.

    • Nicole

      Hi Shantaye, thank you for your comment. We do tend to think that way don’t we? We must take a step back and do our own health check every so often to ensure we can be at our best for all factors in our lives, our work or businesses, our children and our partners. We need to start treating ourselves equally rather than putting us second best, because things just get too much if we don’t give to ourselves. Best of luck in your motherhood journey. 🙂

  • Hanna

    It`s been years now since i recall that kind of experience, my 2 boys are now all adults and grown ups..
    It was hard, the stress level was significantly huge.. mentally and physically. And i remember, mothers don`t really think of themselves during those times, it`s all about the children and the house.. And it is great that you were able to write this article.. for all the mothers that needed this kind of enlightenment.. Thanks for sharing your thoughts..

    • Nicole

      Hi Hanna, its good to hear that you too experiences the stresses too, thank you for sharing. It is all a big juggling act isn’t it and at times very overwhelming, but with the right support in place I know we will make it through. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

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