Sunday, May 20, 2007

mad mummies group

I went to my first PND support group meeting last thursday. The social worker had told me that there would be women 'from all walks of life there'. I took this as meaning "You'll be the only doctor. Hell, you'll be the only one with a degree. From an actual, like, University".

Well, that was pretty right. I think I provided the only diversity. Most of the mums there had given up work to be full-time mums several years ago (I know! I didn't think that happened anymore either!), and the ones who were working weren't exactly doing rocket science or, well, neuranaesthesia (brain surgery's easy. I've done that).

But although I felt very different from these women in terms of my life circumstances, sitting there in my boutique black and Spencer and Rutherford handbag
we all had at least one thing in common: we all have PND. That in itself was useful: that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, this is not something that obeys (dare I say it) class or social boundaries. We can all get it.

We talked about the myths of motherhood. That it would be somehow "natural" or that we would know what in the hell to do with our babies. That it was somehow a great glowing wonderful awesome experience. That you would fall instantly in love with your baby. Things like that. We talked about how some days just nothing seems to get done. How partners
(well, ok, men) just don't seem to 'get it'. And several of us said there was no shame in being on meds.

The only time I truly felt like an outsider was when people were talking about cleaning the house and I thought, "well, actually, Thursday, that's the day Peter the cleaner comes. In fact, he's there right now!"

I learned a few ways that other women cope, like just getting outside for a while, and just being 'kinder to yourself'. Part of the reason I'm such a sitter for PND is that I'm so used to functioning at a high level, and it gives me no satisfaction or comfort to think "I've done four loads of washing today, I've achieved something". For me, that would only compound my feeling of failure ("I've only managed to do four loads of washing today. And saved... zero lives").

So I have to learn to lower my expectations of myself. Or at least re-orient them.

Starting now.

Today at 1159am I have already achieved the following: three breastfeeds, a nappy change, dressed the boy and patted him back to sleep for a nap, a blog post, checked my email, said goodbye to my parents (on their way from Hobart to Coffs Harbour for the Ulysses club( ) AGM (my parents are 'growing old disgracefully' and continuing to embarrass us by turning up to family events on a motorcycle), finished off one of my bibs for Paddy, taken the car for a service and walked for half an hour. I've also had a shower, eaten breakfast and read an article about Al-Qaeda.

Wow. I'm actually really and truly impressed with myself now!

PS: Mum and Dad babysat for us last night and we went out to see 28 Weeks Later. It was gooood
PPS: Firefox is now behaving itself and I can see minnie and the grrrl again. Yay!


Anonymous J-Le said...

geez, i'm extremely impressed with your morning's achievements today. by 11.59am today i had managed several doses of mylanta, gotten myself to the ob and back and snuggled back into bed with my book. plus a generous amount of self-beration for not having the energy to achieve more.

21/5/07 03:58  
Anonymous Matthew M. F. Miller said...

You are a super productive lady. That myths of motherhood class sounds fascinating, and I'd love to learn more about that.

You know what, though - some men do get it. I get it, and there is no shame. You have to preserve yourself to nourish another.

21/5/07 14:02  
Blogger jen said...

hey matthew- one of the reasons I love your blog is you *are* a man who "gets it"! (When I get around to doing it) you'll be a "thinking Blogger" award winner. I love your perspective on the whole wanna be parenting/infertility thing; it opens my eyes to a new world.

21/5/07 22:51  

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