In my heart, I became a mother on November 1st 2013, when the words ‘Pregnant 2-3 weeks’ appeared on the test I took at 5am. In the eyes of the law, I became a mother at 11:58 on July 8th 2014. Yet it is now, a second baby later and in mid-March 2018, that the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together and I truly feel like a proper mummy.
I have loved and adored Toby and Martha from the moment I knew they existed, and through every high and low. I loved my bumps, the kicks and wriggles, I adored giving birth (genuinely!), and holding each of them for the first time as they took their first breaths was life changing each time. That protective mama bear instinct kicked straight in and I knew in an instant that I would both kill and die for those mini humans. And yet it’s taken nearly 4 years for me to feel like a mother. Well, the right mother anyway.
A couple of days ago Toby threw himself into my arms with the most perfect smile on his cheeky, beautiful little face. He exclaimed “Mummy!” with glee and my heart stopped. A breath became trapped in my throat and my world became nothing except for the little boy in my arms. My little boy. Suddenly the true feeling of being his mummy washed over me – tidal waves of emotions and a pure, raw, blinding love for the human I had made. Then I looked at Martha and felt the same way; like an actual mummy.
How silly do I sound? I mean I fell pregnant with Toby nearly 4.5 years ago, Martha over 2.5 years ago, and I’ve always loved them. Always done everything in my power to nurture and protect them. I gave birth to them, fed them from my body, held them through screams and laughter, through nights and days, through stories and nightmares. Of course I’m their Mummy! The thing is, it took me a hell of a long time to try and accept that I wasn’t the image I’d always had of myself as a mother. Then just as I thought I’d come to terms with it, I changed. I have approached my own issues head on, I have taken steps to change my mental wellbeing, and in the process I have started to be the mummy I grew up dreaming I would be.
Baking, painting, laughing, dancing, singing. These things have always felt alien to me and I’ve been relieved that nursery has been a fantastic source of those activities to absolve me of a bulk of the responsibility. I wasn’t happy about my inability to do them without feeling like my head was going to explode, but I wrote myself off as incapable of them. I decided that my mummy role was more as provider of milk, giver of cuddles, teacher of words (and soon apostrophes!), reader of books, washer of clothes, taker of photos; all important stuff, just not the full image I’d once had.
Just over a month ago I had a breakdown. On a completely inconspicuous Monday morning I sobbed until I could barely breathe. I don’t know what triggered it, although I’d not been feeling great for a while and had experienced a couple of panic attacks. This was different though; it felt so final, as if I couldn’t just cry it out and carry on. I called the doctor surgery and made an emergency appointment, from which I walked away red-eyed and gripping a month’s supply of the antidepressant Sertraline.
I’ll pop the video below which explains my first two weeks on Sertraline, and the side effects. In short, I felt relieved to have asked for help and that made me stronger from the get-go. I experienced nausea and dizziness while my body adjusted to the medication, but over the first couple of weeks that eased and this week – a month on – I realised that the fog was lifting.
The fog had been so thick that in my mind’s eye I was incapable of being a decent mummy to Toby and Martha, wife to Phil, daughter, sister, friend… you name it, I was too low to think I could do it. I was disorganised, overwhelmed, depressed.
On Monday March 12th the fog lifted. In the blink of an eye I was productive, positive, organised, truly happy. Down days happen to everyone, and I know I won’t be exempt from them, but my mind is now so open to what I am capable of being, what I am. I’m a good mama, I think I’m a decent wife (Phil says so!), I’m reasonably intelligent, I’m passionate about my blog, my freelance copywriting, my shop. I’m everything I wanted to be but couldn’t see.
And so, 4.5 years after becoming a mummy to the tiny embryo of a Toby in my womb, today I feel like a mother.
If you would like to see my unedited and very raw, emotional, video about my first two weeks on Sertraline, then here it is. If you have anything to share or ask then please do leave me a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter, and I will always reply.