Over the past year, the very meaning of depression has become apparent to me. I have previously defined my experience of depression as ‘postnatal’ after all as a Mum of three children under 7, that seems like the less daunting reason for the way I feel. This would be completely justifiable in my circumstances and in the circumstances of many women. Now, I wouldn’t usually accept a male perspective on the intensity of labour, however my Father said something to me that changed my outlook on birth from my second child. The empathic man that he is, he told me as I dwelled on the fear and anticipation of giving birth for a second time “the thing is Beth, labour is called labour because it is laborious. It’s hard work but you can do it” – in that moment, I was so focussed on the pain of labour that his comment completely stunned and rationalised the situation for me. He transformed my approach to labour, he turned my fear of unpredictable pain into something I could hold and control.
Hard work is a constant within motherhood, it builds up resilient, dedicated and selfless individuals. How then, could such an experience cause depression. For many, postnatal depression, anxiety and trauma is a very real part of their ongoing experience. We can however embrace the hard work of motherhood as an experience like no other, one that not only makes us fulfilled Mothers but skillful individuals that have an abundance of maturity and experience to bring to our careers and relationships.
The reasons behind my depression are deep and personal. I do however, feel immensely grateful for the hardwork I have in front of me, from toddler tantrums to university papers; I feel a huge sense if fulfillment in my role of Mum and truly believe it is a constant remedy for the depression I experience.
Thank you Dad for being the rational, caring and bold individual that you are.