Author and mum of 3 Bunmi Laditan has written a powerful essay about her struggle with postnatal depression, and we thought you ought to read it.
In a lengthy post on her Facebook page, Bunmi, who lives in Canada, describes exactly what it felt like to have PND for the 1st time with her 3rd child.
She talks very specifically about a feeling of something not being quite right – and feeling like her baby son was not her own.
“With my first two I felt that magical insta-connection,” she wrote. “You know what I’m talking about.
“That mama-bear-I will-kill-a-mofo-who-touches-this-stroller-primal-let-me-drink-in-your-euphoric-scent-Jacob-imprints-on-Renesmee-you-are-in-my-bones-realness.
“But when I came home with my little cub, while he was cute as a button, I knew something was missing,” she confessed.
“He didn’t feel like mine. I felt like I was taking care of someone’s else’s child.
“My body felt distinctly postpartum and was leaking from too many places but as I’d change his diapers and gently push his sweet little arms through his yellow and white pajamas, I remember looking my bedroom door, half expecting his real mother to walk in and say, ‘Excellent work, fräulein, I’ll take it from here.'”
The feelings lingered until she was diagnosed with PND, and given medication to help treat her condition.
But recovery took her a long time. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And she says that feeling like she was her son’s true mum – and shaking off all the guilt she’d experienced during her PND – took her 3 whole years.
“In [those 3 years], I loved my baby boy, took him to play centres, parks, we cuddled, I painted his hands and pushed them into soft clay for keepsakes, and snapped a million photos, but there was a valley between us that I prayed he didn’t feel.
“Then one day, or perhaps over several days, or maybe through each day of showing up, his real mother finally walked through the door and it was me. 100% me.”
Bunmi then goes on to share an important message: one to other mums with PND who might be carrying a tremendous amount of guilt for having similar feelings.
“So, mother, if you’re going through this today, changing a baby’s diaper or giving a toddler a bath with the shaking fear in your heart that this little one will never feel like your own, please just wait.
“Keep showing up. Keep rocking them to sleep searching their little faces for what you need. Keep wiping down that high chair and kissing their pillow soft cheeks.
“Every time you do you, the angels throw a handful of sand into the canyon between you.
“One day it will be full and you’ll walk across it to find you were always there somehow.”
Images: Facebook/Bunmi Laditan