We all know the risks of postpartum depression after you give birth. Theres resources always being discussed, and doctors to talk to, etc. But what if you don’t have postpartum depression, you have just fallen into the trap of being invisible as a person to everyone around you?
When my little one was born I was on the look out for any signs of postpartum depression. Having come of my antidepressants when pregnant, I knew I was quite likely to have that dark pull. However I was just full of the love of my little boy, and the happy hormones of breastfeeding. I felt for sure that I had luckily escaped it all!
It wasn’t until a few months later that I started to feel so very invisible to those around me. Everything was about the baby, or how my partner was doing… no-one seemed to ask how I was. It was expected that I must be fine, or that it didn’t matter as my primary goal now was to keep a baby alive.
If you are feeling low after birth, you are not alone. The NHS says that 1 in 10 women are affected by postpartum in the first year after giving birth. The NHS is a great resource if you are worried, and I strongly recommend you talk to someone close to you, and a doctor if you are concerned.
It has been almost a year and a half since the little man was born and I think this is just my life now I am a mum. I feel as though I am only seen for what I can do for people, as opposed to actually seeing me. I remember everyone’s schedule, I do housework, chores and shoulder the responsibility/blame for anything that goes wrong. All whilst trying to keep out of everyone’s way. My work (both paid, and passion projects) that I juggle around my toddlers needs, is always seen as the lowest priority to anything else that needs to be carried out. It is treated as unimportant when I ask for help with the little one, which I find I rarely do. I mostly just struggle to avoid feeling discouraged when I ask for help. As a partner, mother, daughter and friend I have always supported the people around me in all their endeavours. I have made sure to always be as available as possible so that my relationships with people didn’t falter once I became a mum. I consider myself a kind, dependable person, but perhaps that doesn’t matter when you are not seen? Me and my needs are the lowest priority to everyone around me, and in some situations not even on people’s radar! This has become the norm, to the point that I now have myself as the lowest priority, much to the detriment of my mental health.
And it seems that I am not alone in this. Women everywhere are crying out to be seen and heard. We are tired, fed up and invisible in multiple ways. So what an I trying to say? I am now going to take steps to move myself up my own priority list. I am going to try and remind people that I exist and need their help. I will take care of my mental well being above other people’s unnecessary demands, because how can I be the best mum to my little man if I’m constantly drained, both physically and mentally?
Check in on your friends and genuinely ask how they are doing.
The people who check in on me, I honestly thank them from the bottom of my heart for seeing me when other’s don’t.