Yeah, as much as I hate to admit it... it was a dude who changed my life. Twelve months ago, 8 months pregnant and in the depths of antenatal depression, all I could see was the end of the line. Complete, bleak, apocalyptic awfulness at the event horizon of my due date. All I could see before me was this void, terrifying in its stark, empty nothingness. I really felt as if the world would end. Had I made the world's most enormous mistake? How can a self employed person have a baby and expect their career to survive? How can a 37 year old woman justify the self indulgence of ditching every one of her other responsibilities to do something so life-jeopardising? I saw no hope. I saw only fear, failure and devastation. I wrote off my entire future in 8 months of hormonal madness. Mentally, I closed my business, stopped striving, stopped hoping, stopped caring, stopped dreaming and figuratively, stopped breathing. I blamed this unborn person for every terrible thing I saw in my future. I was so angry with someone who was not yet even breathing air.
And now, I approach Charlie's first birthday, in less than four weeks, with joy in my heart and a passion for life, work and motherhood, beyond anything I have ever felt before. Every day feels like a challenge, an opportunity, a quest. The next year stretches out ahead of me to be conquered, to be overcome, to make my mark upon. There is always hope beyond the darkness, I promise.
The personal success I have experienced in the last year has been despite having a baby. Despite seriously spraining my ankle (6 months of physio, yo). Despite my mum being on life support for a month (daily trips to London). Despite some days feeling wildly out of control. Because, as soon as I saw Charlie's face, I wasn't angry anymore. All I wanted to do was make his whole world a better place. In doing so, I made my whole world a better place, too, and I keep trying, as hard as I can, because I never want him to feel the same way about the world as I did before I met him.
I thought he was going to break me. Yet, in so many ways, this little guy has been the making of me.
If you, or someone you love, suffers with antenatal or postnatal depression, they need to get help. I was very lucky to receive all of the medical support I needed from the NHS, but they can only give it if they know you need it. Never ever be afraid to ask for help. Hormones, brains, all of it... you are not alone x