When I was a teenager I suffered from depression, contributed to by a number of difficult situations I won’t go into here, the older I got the happier I got and the more successfully I managed issues which had plagued me. When I became pregnant I was a little concerned about post-natal depression. Not extremely so as I felt so much happier and more emotionally resilient, but it was always at the back of my mind.
However, since having Little M I think having a baby has been had a positive effect on my mental health for the following reasons:
- I used to spend a huge amount of time thinking about myself, how I could achieve a more satisfying career, travel more, and look better. I spent a lot of time analysing my relationships with family, partners and friends. I have always been a person who looks to the future in a rather discontented and restless way. I definitely became more laid back and less obsessive as I got older, however these kind of thoughts still occupied my mind a lot. Now I have Little M I have to live a lot more in the present, she takes up so much of my attention. I currently live in a very much more physical than cerebral way and I think that has been good for me.
- I have also stopped procrastinating as much. Now when I have some free time as D is looking after Little M or she is sleeping I have to get on and do something I have wanted to do else the opportunity is gone and I won’t get it back.
- I always used to find the possibility of death comforting. Ever since I was a teenager I have thought that if ever my life became too much to bear, too painful then I do not have to continue and taking my own life is an option. This is not as dramatic an idea as it might sound and has really helped me get through painful times, although I have never got to the stage of taking any action as I have never completely run out of hope. Again as I have got older I have come back to this idea less and less. However, on deciding to become a mother I have had to relinquish this idea all together because I have a little person I need to help to adulthood, do my very best to protect and help grow to be happily herself.
The flip side of this is that I have become rather obsessive about my health, something that has never worried me before, as I need to make sure I keep myself alive to look after my little daughter. I keep imagining little things that are not quite right are signs of something much more sinister.
But on the whole I feel having a child has made me a little bit mentally lighter and live much more in the present.