Having a Breakdown With Postnatal Depression

I’m not going to lie, Sunday night I had what can only be described as a little bit of a brakedown.

If you read my weekly blogs, it’s fine if you don’t, then you’ll know that I had a rough week in general last week. I wasn’t in a really bad place in terms of my depression, I’ve certainly been in worse, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t feel connected with Isabelle again.

It all started on the Tuesday when I was singing Isabelle to sleep to Sam Smith’s song Too Good at Goodbyes. It was the following lyrics that just hit me:

I’m never gonna let you close to me
Even though you mean the most to me
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts
So I’m never gonna get too close to you
Even when I mean the most to you

People can take lyrics in many different ways. But for me, all of a sudden I just felt this wave of emotion and this overwhelming feeling that I don’t want to love Isabelle. I don’t want to be close to her in case anything ever happened to her. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve struggled to form a bond with her since she was born. I’m scared. I’m scared that something will happen to her and I just won’t be able to cope. I’m far safer if I don’t love her and don’t invest all that vulnerable emotion into someone that may go away.

There’s also a part of me that keeps telling myself that I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to be happy and I sure as hell don’t deserve a child. I still feel partly responsible for taking away someone else’s son (long story) so there’s no chance I deserve a child of my own. Ever since that night back in 2008 (not going into detail here, sorry if it’s confusing), I’ve never really cared about anyone that I didn’t already care about before. Instead, not including my wife, I care about people less. I guess there’s a subconscious force that’s telling me it’s better that way.

But on that Tuesday, I just put my head against Isabelle’s sleeping face and cried. I cried and apologised that I didn’t love her like she deserved to be loved. I cried because all I want is to love her more than anything, but for some reason I just can’t. I’m trying. I’m really trying. And some days I feel like I do. But it’s almost like my brain panics when it starts to feel more love for her and just goes into shut down mode. I can’t control this, but I wish so much that I could.

There’s Not Just Isabelle In This

The thing is, it’s not just me and Isabelle in all this. I am married, and as you would expect, have a wife.

giphy

So she has to be there through all of this. And sometimes she just wishes I would be a little more normal. I don’t blame her, I’m on her side, but however hard it is for her to hear me talk about the fact that at times I don’t feel love for Isabelle, it’s a thousand times worse for me. Even if I am biased in that remark.

So the following days from that Tuesday we had our ups and downs. And eventually, as they always do, things got to a breaking point where it had to be talked about, even if that involved some arguing. As she put it, I just wasn’t there all week. I was distant, I didn’t care, and at times, I just didn’t want to be there. Eventually, after a few words were said that I didn’t like, I can’t remember what, things got too much and I just broke down. I’m not afraid to admit that I cried to the point of being breathless. It was five days in the making, and when it finally arrived, it hit me with an unbearable amount of force.

But that meltdown was a good thing. The very next day I was back to normal, back to feeling like I care and love Isabelle. As of this writing, I’m looking forward to being the one to look after her when Rachel returns to work. I want to be there for her, and I want to spend time with her.

Can I say that I won’t lapse back into that state where I don’t love her? No, I can’t. I know I there’s a good chance that I will. I’m probably going to struggle with this for a long time, but I’m trying. The more Isabelle grows, the more my love grows too. It might be taking a heck of a lot longer than it does for most, and it may never get to a point where I want it to be, but it’s growing, and that’s all I can ask for.

Thank you for reading this. I’m not sure why I wrote about this other than I often convey myself better via the written word than the spoken. I understand that this blog is a source of catharsism for me, and talking about something like this is only going to help. So I guess I did this more for me than for anyone else.

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38 thoughts on “Having a Breakdown With Postnatal Depression

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your trouble with bonding, I’m glad you and your wife had a talk and that the breakdown helped you. I do hope you can find a way to some professional counseling, maybe they can make the struggle a bit more bearable. #BloggerClubUK

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    1. Thank you, and I have been to counselling in the past, but haven’t found it effective. I tend to deal with my issues myself in some way, and hope that’s enough. I’m back to normal as of this writing though

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It strikes me that you do love her – you just don’t want to admit it to yourself? Otherwise you wouldn’t feel this way – you wouldn’t care that you feel this way. I live in constant fear that something will happen to my children – I have a 4 yr old and a 4 month old and I’m so stressed about losing the child somewhere or SIDS with the baby. But a lot of these things are out of our control. We literally have no control over it and so whether we allow ourselves to love or not – these things may still happen. They most likely wont but either way its not determined by us. Just keep going – you sound like a great Dad to me #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Thank you! And a lot of the time I do feel like I love her. Other times I hold her and look at her and feel nothing. I sometimes picture what it would be like if she wasn’t here and it doesn’t really bring on any emotion. I’m not sure why, but I’m just going to keep going. I can’t choose how I feel I guess.

      And thank you, sometimes I feel like a good dad. I’m a solid 5/10 😂

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  3. We all meltdowns from time to time – our children bring out such strong emotions in us that they’re impossible to avoid sometimes. I’m glad you’re feeling better now – and the most important thing is that you’re working at it. #ablogginggoodtime

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  4. I think it can be hard to bond with little ones – they arrive and turn your life upside down! There’s this expectation that you will love this complete stranger (who stops you sleeping, demands attention all the time, & is sick on you) immediately and completely. It often doesn’t pan out like that.

    As a word of encouragement, don’t think that just because you struggle to bond now, doesn’t mean you always will. The older she gets, the more you will have something to bond over because she will be able to offer more, rather than it being a one-sided relationship. Maybe she will be arty like you, maybe she will be good at telling jokes and make you laugh, maybe there’ll be a special song that the two of you sing together. The more she grows, the more she will be a “real” person, and the more in common you will have.

    Also, I think it is great that you are able to write so honestly about your struggles. I’m sure there are lots of people who have felt this way and appreciate having someone else talk about this. #sharingthebloglove

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    1. Thank you, and I hope that the bond does continue. I think it will, and I dare say when she’s talking and all that, I’ll see her much more as a person and enjoy time with her even more 😀 hopefully anyway 😂

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  5. Even if you’re writing this mostly as a kind of therapy for yourself, I’m sure there are many who can relate, and who’ll feel better for reading this, as it helps somewhat to know you’re not the only one feeling this way.
    Wishing you al the best x
    #ablogginggoodtime

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  6. I love hearing this. We have kept postpartum depression in the dark for far too long. There are so many movements recently to bring these mental health issues into light….headed predominantly by women. Not many dads share their stories, and I love your honesty.

    I think all parents have their low points. We want what’s best for our children…and that can be so hard to live up to. Your disappointment in the amount of love that you have for your daughter is the best proof that you love her and want her to have all the love in the world. You’re enough, and I’m sure she will grow up knowing that.

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    1. I hope my love for her can grow as she grows, and if it doesn’t then I guess I’ll have to deal with that then. And thank you, I think more dads are coming out with this, but considering the statistic is around 10% of fathers who experience PND, they’re not really that represented. But it will change, it’s a slow process

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  7. I can tell you do love her because of the way you have written your post. Caring for a baby is the toughest thing, ever. I think we often forget about how the birth of a child can affect the Daddies and it can be tough. I hope that as you see your lovely little girl begin to respond to you and love you unconditionally that it helps you to create the bond that you hope for. Your daughter needs her Daddy and you sound like a very caring one. My partner found it really tough when our first was born as it is such a shock. He explained it in that the sudden sense of responsibility was overwhelming and that was really hard to cope with. He just kept thinking that our daughter needed him to love her and of course, he did. Good luck and take care. #blogstravanganza

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  8. Suffering from postnatal depression can be so heartbreaking, I’m glad you’re finding that blogging about it as an outlet. It’s not only mums who can have it but also dads and it’s a good thing you’re speaking out about it to also raise awareness.
    Have you considering seeing someone about it? in Australia we have a hotline dedicated for postnatal depression and anxiety, I hope you have something similar.
    sending you and your little family lots of positivity #Blogstravaganza

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  9. I think so often with depression it takes that big breakdown to jolt you out of things. You feel like you’re just slipping out of your life, detached and not present, and it takes something to shock you back to it. I’m so pleased you’re feeling better, hopefully it will get easier from here. It’s so clear from your writing how much you do love your daughter though, and in my experience, that bond just deepens the older they get and the more they can interact with you. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  10. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too find it much easier to write my thoughts than to vocalise them. If in doubt, write it out, is probably my motto for life.

    You are not the only one who has found becoming a parent scary and cataclysmic. Everyone talks about what it it like to have a little baby utterly dependent on you and the challenges that that presents both physically and psychologically. What I found most challenging was realising how utterly dependent I am on my son. I am a single mum , he is my only child, and I know that I could not live without him. If he died I know that I would not carry on.

    I cannot love him though, I just have to block out all of the horrific thoughts, that occasionally pop into my head, of bad things happening to him. Sometimes it is tough, but as a parent, and indeed in life, you really have to focus on the real problems here and now. My son is fine, so I don’t need to think about all of those worst case scenarios.

    Good luck and take care of yourself. These feelings are not unusual, by any stretch, and will pass. Hang on in there. Pen x #ablogginggoodtime

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  11. As I read your post I can tell that you do love her. It must be hard to go through these thoughts, even more so when you’re always reading how it’s supposed to be love at first sight. It isn’t like that. Love grows. You sound like you have an awesome relationship with a very supportive wife.
    I hope things start to feel a little easier for you #Blogstravaganza

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  12. Thank you for sharing this. It has made me realise we are not alone. My husband is suffering from pnd and won’t get help for it. It’s now affected me to the point I have now been diagnosed with it due to the lack of support. I get you with the words from the sam smith song as I feel the same myself when I listen to it. My son (3 months) has terrible reflux and choked a few times while trying to get the right meds for him. I’ve always been scared to love him due to the overwhelming fear of sids. We are getting there I do love him but have good days and bad. Seems to be more bad these days. Hang in there you are doing a great job.

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    1. He really does need to get help, but at the same time you can’t push someone to get it. Sometimes you can give them a nudge. Years ago my wife was the one who booked me a doctors appointment for my depression, it was a great decision. It’s hard making that first step, but now for me, I’m that used to talking about that it doesn’t feel like a big step to write something like this. And being able to do this has helped me loads. Hopefully you can both get better, and it does take time to form a bond with a baby, despite what the movies will have you believe

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      1. Thank you Ross.
        I’m hoping he does see sense and get help for it. I’ve ssked him too but he is too embarrassed. The alternative though is that he is constantly out the house from morning to night leaving me to deal with the children with no support from anyone and feeling pushed away by him hence why I’m struggling myself now. We have talked and talked and it took a massive meltdown from me yesterday and today for him to realise how his actions have affected me. I do not blame him, I feel sad it is like this and I want to help him but I know that he needs professional help but he just won’t budge. He said he will stop it and help out more and be home more but unfortunately I know this is illness and these feelings aren’t going to go away he’s probably going to just feel worse making himself be home more and help me. He feels utterly embarrassed and ashamed of himself that he feels like this. I just wish he could get help. As for me I opened up to the health visitor about how I’m feeling not the entire truth of what had instigated it. Anyway screening quiz score for pnd is sky high and she has made me an appointment for the gp for Monday.

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