It’s HannahTime. How many times can I say the “M” word?

Ba ba ba, ba ba, baaaaa (my kids) cant touch this!

My husband recently went away for a few days and walked mountains for tits. You know this already of course. But he also went away and took our kids with him, dropping them off at Granny and Grampy’s house for a few days so that I had some Hannah Time. To be still. To be quiet. To leave a book in the lounge and know with certainty when I walk back in to that room after a few hours it would STILL BE THERE.

Some of you may know, I have a history of being a bit ‘blue’ after popping my children. I evict them and along with them I evict my sanity for a while. I like to call it “when I went mental”, but my mum gets upset. Genuinely. She snaps at me;

“DON’T SAY THAT!”

and looks sad and starts frantically tidying things or drying the washing on the draining board. But I think by saying that “I went mental”, which I feel I did, it puts a bit of a funny spin on something serious. She doesn’t agree. But again, for me, once you are feeling better, you need to put a funny spin on not being physically or mentally able to smile for days…I personally find seeking humour in something when you have the strength to, as very healing, for there was a time in my life when I thought it would all be better for everyone if I just went away, for a bit, forever.

It was a bleak period in our house. Post natal depression didn’t just affect me – it INfected my whole house, and went riiiiiight the way down to the sunny old coast where my parents live.

Mum won’t like that I just wrote a whole paragraph on saying “I went mental”. Sorry mum. I can’t dig myself out of this hole. It’s mental!

I still have days when I am blue. But it is “blue” now and not “depressed” and there in lies the difference. And I am very aware of the difference now, which is one of the greatest gifts my children have given me, weirdly. The hormones it took to grow them, reacted with my brain and gave me an allergic reaction to thinking sanely and rationally for a while. But because of that, I walked through the most awful hideous emotional fucking fire ever and came out cleaner and clearer. Does that make sense? Sounds a bit wanky, but lets face it, depression IS wanky.

I may be fine with it and joke about being “mental”  - be happy one day and grumpy the next. But it is taking my husband a bit longer and somtimes I find him looking at me when I am having an off day, he will be looking terribly sad and eventually he just blurts out over dinner “are you OK?” which is code for, are you getting down again and do I need to start thinking about taking time off work for when you physically can not get out of bed? Because when I couldn’t, actually couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings, he would be there, he had to be. He hasn’t maybe learnt the difference yet between me being moody mare of me being mental molly.

But gone are those days. And this is probably the main reason we won’t be having anymore children, as far as I am concerned. I can’t risk that again. The package of 3 people I have already are too precious. And it does damage people. When I got better, and did get out of bed, and did start eating and drinking properly, and did stop thinking about how people would be better if I didn’t exist, then I saw etched on the 2 peoples faces I couldn’t hide it from, my husband and my mum, just what I had put them through. You can’t erase that. I can’t feel guilty about it, because I had no control over it, but I do have the power to not do it to them again.

Unlike his song when Richard Ashcrofts (illegal) drugs didn’t work,  my (legal) drugs DID work. And now I am a lot better than I was. I think even better than I was before I went mental being pregnant and having those mental pregnant hormones. Coming off the mental drugs after having the boys was like coming out of a warm bath and into fresh open air. The warm bath was soothing and soporiphic. But the air was fresh and invigorating and made me alert and feel again.

It is just, that at the moment, I am struggling. I have had clinical depression, I have had the pills. I know that feeling. I don’t feel numb now, like I did then. I feel, well, I feel if I am brutally honest, fucking shattered and fucking hurt.  I am hurt that I feel I am not as good at this as I thought I would be.

You know that scene in Friends where Ross and Monica are arguing because Ross has moved in with her and Rachel? Rachel goes mad and says “YOU KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!” because of their CONSTANT bickering? That. That that THAT.

You know the saying “Banging your head against a brick wall?”. That THAT THAT.

You know when your own mum would say “Am I talking to MYSELF?!”. THAT THAT THAT.

Black is white and mole hills are mountains. You know? THAT THAT THAT THAT THAT!

I know these are just natural stages in childrends development. But I’m not alone in going through this right now am I? Please Jesus, say I am not. I wish I could do a less shouty, a better, a more Mary Poppins job - although maybe minus the permanent orgasmic smile she has strapped to her face 24/7 (which annoys me no end) . I try my best. What if my best isn’t good enough? This isn’t the blues talking, I promise you (have already had to convince my husband of that) this is just a “how the hell am I going to get through this stage?”.

Tips and advice greatly appreciated.

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28 Responses to It’s HannahTime. How many times can I say the “M” word?

  1. ela says:

    oh hannah,i promise u ur deffo not alone in this.i used to feel like that with my two,all i wanted to do was just cover my ears and scream til they stop.and then i would think why do my 2 always argue and then u talk to other parents and find out they go through the same things.i think i used to feel really lonely aswel,because my family don`t live close by i know i could phone my mum and she would give me advice,which is not the same as seein them face to face,but evenually i got there.just remember han,we do love u and i know we havent seen u for ages,but if u ever need someone to talk to i always be here.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Janey says:

    You will get through this stage because you got through the last stage ….. and the one before that!
    You are doing a great job and you care. You care about your depression returning. You are looking for the signs but remember, you know the signs now and that means you will take steps to stop yourself going back there. The very fact that you feel the way you do proves that you care enough to do the best you can. And if your response to that is ‘what if my best isn’t good enough’ then you should remind yourself that that’s your insecurity talking and nothing else – your kids are beautiful, confident, intelligent and their behaviour shows they are obviously loved, cherished and treated well.
    Go on the NSPCC website, watch the TV ads where children are being abused or neglected, then remind yourself that they are not your children. Why? Because you do your best for your children and it is damn well good enough!

    Hang in there, this stage will pass. Take help from friends when they offer it and be kind to yourself!

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks Janey. You are so right – I know this stage will pass, it is just a bit “arg!!” at the moment. Thanks for your lovely comment x

  3. Emily says:

    Firstly, Hannah you are a fantastic mum, and whilst I can’t comment on post natal depression (it does sound completely horrid) I honestly think that good mums question their parenting skills, because they care, and want their children to feel happy and loved. Unfortunately children, don’t get this what-so-ever!!! We are also having a tough time with our two, and the sound of my own voice is really getting me down, not helped by the fact that lots of people keep saying to me they are probably coming down with something. Well they ve been like it for a fortnight, and I’m the only one feeling ill

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks Emily – you are right, it is good to question our parenting and we do do that because we care. I hadnt thought of it like that until you said it. Thank you xx And yes, you are also right – enjoy the good bits whilst they last!!! xxxxx

  4. Emily says:

    Grr pressed publish too quick!!

    However, when they feel better/ get over themselves, I am going to enjoy my beautifully behaved children until the next period of mayhem!! xx

  5. Janice Apparently says:

    Mary Poppins matches her lipstick to her bow tie – maybe this would help? *helpful face*

  6. Carly says:

    What an honest post Hannah, wish people were more honest about their experiences, I was never diagnosed with PND but I was very low after my first, and I didn’t realise it wasn’t ‘normal’ until 6 weeks ago when I had my second. I knew I didn’t feel right, wasn’t my self and didn’t bond with him but I never realised it could be any different, everyone I spoke to was coping just great, well, so they said and it made me feel very alone and unable to express my feelings. Children are bloody hard work, after my first I spent 6 months wishing he was back in my tummy!! I haven’t so much at my first as I have in the 6 weeks since I had number 2 and I feel so awful at times but it’s bloody draining, and constant and relentless. So no’ you’re not alone, but you are one of the few who is honest and admits it’s not all fun and games . Not many people I know do that. Good for you xx

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Carly. I think that is the thing, you are right, everyone else “says” they are coping just fine and it is all roses but actually they arn’t and sometimes you need to know someone else is having a shit time too. So glad you are finding your experience with number 2 a bit smoother xxx

  7. Suzanne Whitton says:

    Get used to it! My kids bicker A LOT, I have 3, the eldest one being 12….don’t let anyone fool you into thinking its a phase, this one is for life lol! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I completely loose it with them but right now, I am determined to try and encourage them to sort it out themselves and go into another room. I have been known to put headphones on when times are extremely bad!

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks for the comment Suzanne! Agree – we are starting to use seperate rooms for them too when they are winding each other up, but an extra room for me to sit in? Now THERE is a thought…. ;-)

  8. Dave Rostron says:

    Something I read recently and shared with Helen when she was feeling similar. A letter written to someone from Stephen Fry dealing with a few things you mentioned. http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/10/it-will-be-sunny-one-day.html

    That link Might help, but even if it doesn’t then you need to know that you are a fantastic mum and even if you are feeling down on yourself there are 3 lads who aren’t too far away from you who think you are the best thing since sliced bread (and that’s a Dave Rostron Promise).
    :D

    • Hannah says:

      Bloody hell – Stephen Fry is a genius. I think he may actually be God. Thanks Dave – that is perfect and sums it all up brilliantly. Clever old stick. x

  9. Kathryn says:

    Spend some time with your wierd cousin from America!! :)

  10. Hannah you are very much not alone, quite apart from the PND there are daily doses of struggles with children, the lack of patience, the genunine frustrations and added to that we do all have hormone changes on a daily basis so one day it can seem ok to flick peas across the table and laugh and another day that can be the tipping point. The key is to talk talk talk…anyone who tells you they didn’t have bad days is clearly still taking the drugs because we all have bad days but then we have good days and they make the bad days melt away…..but don’t fill the good days feeling guilty about the bad days – that’s a waste. I’m blathering on but didn’t want your post to go uncommented on – it’s good to share but be aware we all have bad days!

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you Bee, very much for your comments and your thoughts and your lovely tweets the past few days x

  11. Robyn says:

    First of all, tell your mum that those of us who are permanently mental like to call it being mental. And I don’t call my meds just ‘meds’ they are MAD MEDS!!!!! :o)

    I have no experience with dealing with sibs since I have an only but I can tell you that I also not nearly as patient as I’d like to be. I get shouty. I get frustrated. Some days I want to hand my son over to *anyone* else and walk away.

    Remember the mantra: this is a phase. It too shall pass.

    Tips? I count to 10. Forwards and backwards, under my breath. Pick your battles. Ignore tantrums.

    And keep the cupboards stocked with chocolate and wine. :O)

  12. bonniecroft says:

    mmmmmmmmm this stage sounds quite normal to me , if somewhat frustrating .
    My beautiful mum used to say you kids will drive to Whitecroft( A once mental instituition on the Island ) mind you with 7 children in ten years i would have thought that could have been a peacful option .
    I can remember your dad coming in from work and me almost waiting at the door with my coat on to go for a brisk walk around the block ( my salvation brisk Walks ) . So it will pass but I wont tell you the next stage hee hee , a delight to behold xxxx
    That is why grandparents are so calm and patient , we dip in and dip out and love every minute of it . We dont get the disturbed nights and the tantrums .
    But we also dont get that amazing … its my mum I love my mum so much look that Alex gave you when we came out of the theatre on wednesday . and the fact that nans and grandads are great but mum and dad are the BEST .
    I love seeing you with the boys , You are a fanstic mum, And yes its quite healthy and normal to get frustrated with it all , and whats more they dont want a perfect get it right all the time mum, Strewth that would be such a bore .( you just trick them into thinking you know it all for now )

  13. Caroline carter says:

    Ah hannah, I didn’t realise things had been quite so bad for you. We just don’t see each other enough…but I know you enough to know you are a fabulous person with wonderful kids. So much of your life rings true with mine. I’m not claiming PND, but, yes, things have been tough. One of the reasons we are unlikely to have a third child is that I’m not sure our marriage could withstand it. Sounds dramatic but when you really aren’t sure if you can’t get a grip on anything because you are so ridiculously sleep deprived or because you are on the brink of something clinical and you go to bed in tears every night praying to be a better person the next day – it takes its toll. As I know I’ve mentioned before my DS does not want to stop bf’ing and at 22 months this was never part of any plan of mine but something that just has happened. But I went to a very dark place for a good 3 months after I stopped bf my DD and I was so scared of adding that hormonal bullet to the mix of how I was feeling when my DS was younger that I never forced the issue. The way you are feeling now sounds pretty normal, not fun, but normal. Your blogs have really helped me when going through a blue patch, I owe you. I always find getting outside helps me. Come and have a cuppa and let the boys have a run about.

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely reply C x As I said earlier, just knowing you are round the corner is a real comfort to me. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I think you are AMAZING for feeding still. You and I had a chat about it recently at Dis and I wish I had emphasised more how I agreed with your friend, the one you said you had talked to about it. You rock. You are always smiling, always honest, always an ear, always so easy to talk to and always welcoming. I (capital letters) owe you. x

  14. Sam Dolan says:

    Well bugger me if you havent just banged your hammer on my raw nerve. I could kiss you. In fact, you best pucker up when I see you next coz I’m gonna! I had pna after both my boys and came off my smack about four weeks ago. My adjustment to being post labotomy is that my anger is rage, my joy is hysteria and my hurt is catastrophic. I am trying to fathom whether it is just a period of adjustment or if I am vile without intervention and need to be drugged for life to be a nice/good person/wife/mother. The boys seem able to enrage me in seconds whilst I am surrounded by serene, smiley, floaty Mummies with still, quiet, un-fighting children. So no, I have no advice but will ride piggy back and follow this page for free counselling/advice.

    • Hannah says:

      Bless you, Sam. Isn’t it funny – what you don’t really know about people you think you “know”. I had no idea. I think you need to give yourself time to adjust. Coming off the happy smack is a toughie – I for one found I didn’t really know what was the “natural me” anymore, if that makes sense? It was all very very new. You, missus are doing an AMAZING job. I think back vividly to yesterday when you were being so calm with all those boys running round you, you negotiated something between them (I forget what exactly) and did it so well. I was properly, well, jealous! I kept thinking about it all day, when I was at home and had bellowed over the kids for something!
      You are not vile, stop that talk right now missus. You are a bloody brilliant mother and a lovely lovely person. I am so glad we are friends. x
      And as for floaty serene mummies…1) continue to hang out with me!!! And Rach and Kate and Sally! We are all normal and shout! And 2) the mums that seem serene are are not serene – they are just hiding how they really feel for fear of being judged. Everyone struggles. I know this now from talking to people openly about my troubles in the past – so many of us are in the same boat.
      Big love, bird
      xx

  15. Sam Dolan says:

    that makes perfect sense. Hubby asked me last night (while I sat snivveling?) If I felt like myself yet? I couldn’t answer as the last time I was ‘myself’ was pre-kids. I am now a new me. Am I yelling because its necessary or because I am phsycotic! I really don’t know anymore. With regards to the negotiations of yesterday, its easy to be dignified in public, its the mum mask at work. I’m still fairly new to the area and need to be confident that HW is ready to see me drop kick my kids in public!

    BTW- you rock, its refreshing to find someone willing to admit to the shit that goes with the joy, it makes many other Mum’s realise they’re normal and that you don’t become super human when you become a parent. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    • Hannah says:

      We will all “get there” mate. In the end. xxx and you are not psychotic! *shakes head* you nutter! ;-)
      x

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