Hiding behind the smile


She laughs and smiles, playing with the children, happily chatting away. Nothing much to say about what’s going on with her but the children are doing great. The eldest won a dance award and the youngest is cutting a new tooth. Full of questions about your life, she listens intently, nodding, smiling and offering words of encouragement if needed. She’s happy, right. Life is great – she said so herself. She smiles all of the time and always knows what to say to cheer other people up. Of course she’s happy!

You go home and she is alone with the children. She loves the children but she hasn’t got the energy to play with them. She flicks listlessly through the TV channels. Nothing captures her attention and it wouldn’t matter anyway because not much really interests her at the moment. The house is a mess and although she knows that she needs to clean it, she just can’t face that chore. The youngest child comes over for a cuddle. It brings tears to her eyes. She knows that the children love her unconditionally yet she can’t bring herself to be the full of energy Mother that she once was. Where has that person gone? Where has the love for life gone? It was there not so long ago, she’s sure that it was. The eldest child wants to go to the park. Getting out of the house might do everyone some good she thinks so coats and shoes go on, changing bag is packed and half an hour later everybody is ready to depart. The park is bright and sunny with children running around and parents happily chasing them. She looks enviously at the happy families. They look care free.

A friend spots her and approaches to say hello. She laughs and smiles, playing with the children, happily chatting away. Nothing much to say about what’s going on with her but the children are doing great. The eldest won a dance award and the youngest is cutting a new tooth. Full of questions about her friend’s life, she listens intently, nodding, smiling and offering words of encouragement if needed. She’s happy, right. Life is great – she said so herself. She smiles all of the time and always knows what to say to cheer other people up. Of course she’s happy!

Do we really know how people are feeling inside? According to the World Health Organisation more than 350 million people worldwide will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. This doesn’t mean that all of these people will receive help and support however. Mental Health issues such as depression still have a social stigma surrounding them even in this day and age. Many people hide how they feel for fear of not being taken seriously. Depression is an illness and if we can raise awareness of this, then maybe more people will seek the help and support that they so desperately need.

Mental Health Awareness Week

16th – 22nd May

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

Image Credit – http://quotesgram.com/quotes-about-hiding-sadness/

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My breastfeeding disappointment

 

Attempting to breastfeed baby boy was one of the worst experiences of my life. I wrote a post about it early on in my blogging journey so I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that after my boobs being manhandled by more strangers than could ever be deemed necessary and still not getting the hang of it I threw in the towel. I felt like an absolute failure! It wasn’t until he was 12 months old that a health visitor asked me about his tongue tie. What tongue tie?! Apparently he has a fairly severe tongue tie and according to the specialist it’s no wonder we found breastfeeding so difficult.

With that in mind I was determined to get it right with baby girl. I read all of the information again and watched the videos. Having a csection with an epidural this time instead of under general anesthetic meant that we could have skin to skin straight away and I was sure that it was going to work this time. However, over the few days that we were in hospital it was clear that we were having difficulty. I had exactly the same problems as with baby boy. She just wouldn’t latch and when she eventually did she either fell asleep straight away or came off after a few minutes and I had to start the whole process again. Knowing then about baby boy’s tongue tie, I asked for her to be checked. 3 different people checked her and they all said that she was fine. I was told by a midwife that I just had to learn how to latch her on myself. It wasn’t how it was supposed to go! I carried on trying once we got home but nothing worked. Baby girl was losing weight and I could feel myself going back to the dark place that trying to breastfeed baby boy took me to. There was no way I was going back there again so I stopped trying. I stopped trying to breastfeed and I gave my child formula. And guess what… I didn’t feel guilty!

However, formula feeding didn’t end the problems. Baby girl still had difficulty with a bottle. Milk would pour out of her moth when feeding. I knew that there was something wrong. It was when she was about 5 weeks old that I started to notice that her tongue looked like baby boy’s did at the same age. If I hadn’t found out about his tongue tie I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but it got me wondering. I mentioned it to my midwife who agreed that it didn’t look quite right. She referred us to a tongue tie clinic and I’m so glad that she did. At the appointment the specialist said that she never seen a tongue tie as thick as baby girl’s and it was the most difficult one that she had ever had to snip. It was horrible watching my little girl go through such a traumatic experience but once it was done she calmed down quickly. She even took a bottle without milk pouring of her mouth. I am quite angry that despite 3 professionals checking my daughter for tongue tie it was me who found it. However, I’m glad that it has been sorted at an early age (if baby boy ever needs to have his snipped it will have to be done under general).

My breastfeeding journey was quite frankly rubbish! I regret not being stronger and maybe trying harder but ultimately I don’t regret the decisions that I made. My decisions took me out of a dark place and enabled me to focus on my family. They were the best decisions for us all. Some people look down on me for formula feeding. Some people think that I didn’t try hard enough. Some people think that I have let my children down by not breastfeeding. Well those people are one’s whose opinion I do not need! I did my best and I am doing my best and that’s all that matters.