Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Survivor of self-imposed Mother's Guilt!

Just taking a moment to explain why I was so riled by the fact that Kal is receiving emails pretty much telling her to move on from her current project and start putting 'real art' up instead!

My issue is with the extra pressure people put on others, especially Mothers and in particular mothers of newborns. Mothers put enough pressure on themselves to 'perform' adequately, to provide the best for their children, for their family and for themselves. MOST of the time...they always put themselves last.

I talk from experience. I have four children. After the birth of number three, I fell on my a$$ big time. There had been some pretty extenuating of them made front page news here in Western Australia...I was five months pregnant with number three (she was born a month after number one turned three!) when number two drowned in the bath.

I had left Josh and Jordy in the bathroom (NOT in the bath). I had asked my mother to watch out for them and I headed off to the other end of the house to dispose of a dirty nappy and to collect fresh towels. My heart fell through my guts when I heard Josh cry out to me..."My Baby, My Mamma, My Julie!" I knew something was very wrong, the urgency in his voice was something I had never heard before. My mother appeared from the bathroom, holding Jordy in a postural drainage position~head down-bum up~ (my darling God-Son suffers from Cystic Fibrosis...the postural drainage position is one that I have used hundreds of times to help drain his lungs of mucus)!

Jordy was limp and blue. She was not breathing and had no pulse, she was dead!
My late, first husband, worked in the mining industry. The time he spent with his family was minute. I did many things on my own. He would work away 6/7/8 sometimes 12weeks at a time and had one week at home before heading off again. I was, essentially, a single parent! I'm a bit of a perfectionist and that personality trait can be a flaw. I felt like I was a failure if I asked others for help. So I didn't, I built up this perfect facade. Keeping up a facade is tiring and if you're not careful IF that facade eventually tumbles down it can be HUGE!

(If you click on the image you can zoom in and read the story)

Dealing with Jordy's drowning was something I did by myself...M actually rang, when the Ambulance Officers arrived. He learnt that his daughter had drowned over the phone and that we were RIGHT in the middle of assessing the situation. I am blessed because I knew CPR and because I was able to apply that training to revive my daughter. I am also blessed that I WAS able to react...some people freeze in emergency situations and this truly was a life or death moment. I remember carrying out CPR on Jordy, but listening to my mother give instructions to the '000' Operator. I remember screaming at her when she faltered, after being asked what the nearest cross road was. I was yelling for the Ambos to just get there, because I knew if I couldn't resuscitate her, I would need their help. In my mind I was already counting up how many precious minutes had passed since Jordy had last had oxygen! It was a very surreal moment.
I had never suffered post natal depression, hardly even had a teary day! So when PND snuck up on me...I didn't recognize it. Ugly and sinister, it invaded my life...and I kept the fact that it had invaded my life quiet. I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know what it was. When I found myself loosing my hair and dissolving into tears for no reason, I knew there was a problem. I went to my Ob Gyn and bawled myself stupid in his rooms. He prescribed drugs and referred me on to a psychologist. Clearly there were issues impinging on my mental health. I was glad he did not simply prescribe drugs...he knew that there were stressors in my life that were impinging on my ability to function normally. Addressing those stressors and issues were imperative for me to get better, for me to start out on the road to wellness.
I was wearing the guilt of Jordy's drowning like a thick heavy coat...and it was smothering me. Though it was keeping up the facade of being a 'perfect mother' that was my undoing.

I found it hard to have a shower somedays, most of the time I forgot to eat, and sleep was just something I remembered with fondness...but was not experiencing first hand. I was so busy doing things for everyone else that I was not nurturing myself and that was one of the reasons I fell on my a$$. When I did fall on my butt it was a long, long time before I was in a place that resembled normality once again.

So, when I see people placing demands on new mothers, it tweeks something deep inside me. If new mothers are embracing something that feeds their soul, I am all for it. If a mother is not nurturing herself how can she nurture anyone else properly. She might do a good job but it won't be the best she can do. How can you save someone else from drowning if you're drowning yourself~that's my analogy!

Now Kal is NOT a nutter...she is not losing her mind HOWEVER, she is nurturing her soul by doing her posters for others. She is nurturing herself by producing posters that are meant to be soul food for OTHER people. Let her be, let her do what she feels good doing, and be grateful that she is still blogging and putting stuff out there for others. Don't send her emails setting out demands for more of what YOU want. Think about what SHE needs for a moment. Stop being so selfish.

{{As a small post script I'd like to add this with regards to mental health. Until I suffered PND in a HUGE kinda way (I actually needed hospitalization), I didn't put too much weight on people needing prescription drugs to help them deal with clinical depression. I thought there were other ways to deal with 'depression'. It wasn't until I'd been there myself that I realized that, just as someone with heart problems may need drugs to keep their heart people suffering from clinical depression may need drugs to help them back to normality. Don't give people a hard time if they do indeed need chemical help to deal with their depression. It shows great ignorance. Nurture them, offer help or support but keep any destructive, as opposed to constructive, criticism to yourself. }}

(Now as a post post script...PPS) Because no one actually saw what happened we all thought that Jordy had slipped, fallen into the bath, conked her head and was rendered unconscious. It wasn't until I was retelling the story months later, when Josh's verbal skills had improved, that he piped up from the back ground and said.."No no no Mummy she didn't hit her head, I sat on her!" needless to say we were gob smacked. This also taught me never to assume know the old saying, to ASSUME anything could just make an ASS out of U and ME!
Food for thought don't you think?

♡♡♡Treasure your loved ones ♡♡♡

Have an AWESOME day


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