Lisa's story: Motherhood and mental health
My name is Lisa and I am a Mum to my son Finlay (seven) and my daughter Rowan (three). I’m a make-up artist and work from my home-based studio in North Leeds.
I suffered terrible PND/puerperal psychosis after having Finlay, which wasn’t picked up until he was two years old, and my recovery has been ongoing since then. I’m passionate about sharing my experiences to raise awareness of mental health and get people talking about it.
During Mental Health Awareness Week, I ran my own my #itcantjustbeme campaign to highlight real motherhood moments – the good, bad and the ugly. The aim of the campaign is to show that it’s normal to have hard days as a parent and it’s OK to admit to this and ask for help. We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others, and thinking they ‘have it together’ – but it may just take one person to open up for others to do the same.
Lately, I’ve been sharing my own mental health struggles and the response has been incredible. I’m overwhelmed by the messages of support I’ve received but even more so by the number of people who have been affected in a similar way and are reaching out with their stories and experiences.
Worry, guilt and sleepless nights
I had Finlay in March 2011 and it was a bit of a shock, especially as I was the first one in my close group of friends to have a baby. Like all parents I was thrown into a world of nappies, breastfeeding and sleepless nights. I remember thinking to myself ‘what have I done?’ and ‘my life is over’ and if I’m being honest – I thought Fin was a bit of an inconvenience and getting in the way of life as I knew it (which now pains me to say).
Then there is the guilt. Guilt that I’m a dreadful Mum, and questioning why I’m thinking these things when everyone else seems to totally in control and loving their new life as a Mum. I remember I used to sit on the sofa for hours breastfeeding as I was scared Fin wasn’t growing enough. A feeling not helped by the incredible pressure I felt to breastfeed and being constantly told my son was underweight when we went for his checks. I should have used my motherly instincts to know he was a healthy and happy boy but I felt very vulnerable as a new Mum so instead took on the guilt and worry that I was not doing enough for him. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
This then led on to an obsession with the timings of his feeds and if I so much as went over five minutes then it would lead to utter panic. To say my routine ran like clockwork was an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of routine for babies. But looking back, this was irrational behaviour.
If only I’d known then what I know now my story would be very different.
This is just a tiny insight into what I’ll be sharing of my journey of mental health and motherhood – with a few Mummy make up tips thrown in. Check out my brand new blog and follow me on Instagram and Facebook if you’re interested in hearing more.
Lisa Hammond is a blogger and makeup artist who wants to help other parents by sharing an honest account of her post-natal mental health struggles. Connect with her on Instagram @_lisa_hammond_ or on Facebook: @lisahammond. Alternatively, head over to her blog at motherhoodmakeupandmentalhealth.wordpress.com .