I remember when I was pregnant my Mum said to my baby daddy "you keep an eye on her and watch out for signs of depression because we didn't know what that was back in the day". I felt sad for Mum thinking that she might have struggled with post partum life without having an explanation for why she felt the way we did.
We've got it a bit easier these days with the knowledge that depression and anxiety are actual real things that can fuck with us. But some times it can be hard to acknowledge what we're feeling because for some stupid reason there's still a shitty stigma attached to mental illness. And considering just how common these things are, you'd think we wouldn't have such an issue with it.
Modern day motherhood seems to put a whole lot more pressure on us than what it used to. Being a stay at home Mum still isn't a 'real job' but we're selfish if we choose to have a career. We're pressured to breastfeed but for God's sake, not in public (eye roll). We're frowned upon if our kids have screen time or if we take a break from the kids to have some screen time ourselves. And speaking of screens - we've now got social media to deal with which that allow us to be whoever the hell we want to be but also has us comparing our lives with some seriously unrealistic shit.
This is why I find it so important to be open about my own mental health. Because I really appreciate it when I see other mothers, or just other people in general talk about their struggles. Talk openly about the fact that parenthood is fucking hard work and sometime really fucking lonely and isolating.
I didn't recognise my own mental health problems for a long time. I guess I was in a bit of denial. But I had experienced quite a few big life changes in a short period of time so I guess it was inevitable, really. I was living in the city, seeing at least 1 gig a week and going to the pub far more often than that when I met my baby daddy, and after only 5 short months I moved in with him. He owned his place so it made sense for me to move out of the apartment I was renting with 2 friends. I moved from a really lively inner west suburb of Sydney to a country town in Victoria that literally only had a pub and a post office and where I knew absolutely nobody else. I was lucky enough to get a transfer with my employer but that meant I was driving a minimum of 1hr20m to the city each way for work. I tried for a really long time to get work closer to home, but unless you want to work in hospitality there's basically nothing available. I was really struggling being 8+ hours away from my family and my best mates and then about 14 months after I moved I got pregnant. Throw in all the fucked up hormones and the insane amount of stress raising a child can bring and it's not hard to see why I was diagnosed with PND when my babe was about 10 months old.
After psychologists and medications I'm still not where I'd like to be. I cry a heap less but I still struggle on the daily. While it's totally not fun, this shit is SO normal. And we need to talk about it more. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. Talk to your doctor. Talk to other mothers you know. Or mothers you don't. Stop competing with each other and reach out to that random on Instagram. We don't need to suffer like our mothers did.