As I prepare to fly to my hometown for the first time in over a year, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come in my battle with post natal depression and anxiety.

This time a year ago I vowed to be more honest with myself and to everyone around me. A vital and important step. No point in keeping up appearances or pretending to be strong.

Don’t Label Yourself 
In my second therapy session I asked my psych for a diagnosis. She told me that it is unclear so early on and asked why it mattered. Looking back, I didn’t need to know in order to heal. Screw labels. I did not ask her again because I stopped worrying about it.
Based on my experience, if you’re unsure whether you’re suffering from PND, anxiety or otherwise, just talk to someone anyway. Paying a third party to listen to your troubles is invaluable no matter what you call it. You don’t need to come out as ‘depressed,’ let’s leave that to legends like the courageous Caitlyn Jenner. We Mother’s can be everyday hero’s simply by talking about post natal issues- that way everyone would feel a lot less stigmatized.
So what did I learn?
I learned to trust myself. To venture out into the world again. That sometimes people say things tinged with judgement but it could just be my own interpretation.

I learned to wrangle unhelpful thoughts before they completely derail, taking my mood with them. I can focus on the bigger picture and understand how to achieve goals, even if it’s one as small as getting through the day.

I learned to become confident in myself as a mother- even though I have no real idea what I’m doing. My cheerful daughter is proof that I am managing to fumble through with enough love and respect to feel positive about the whole experience.

I learned to let go of past hurts, for real, and am working on the second most important mother-daughter relationship in my life- the one I have with my own.

In many ways my last trip to Buffalo was a disaster. It started before we even got off the ground- nerves about the flight, driving myself crazy about what to pack, how to carry everything, if it would negatively affect my baby. I didn’t write about it much because I was in survival mode. And you’ll never guess what happened…we survived.

This time I’m not even nervous about the journey. I know to expect a level of (toddler sized) difficulty, and if it exceeds those expectations for better or worse we will deal. There is no point worrying about the things we cannot control- yes, I just said that (the control freak that I am.)

My family has experienced loss and heartache since the last time I was on US soil. This trip is bigger than a visit, more than a hello. In many ways it’s about saying goodbye, getting the closure, support, and familiarity that only roots can provide. I live everyday without the whole other half of my life around me. I need to go be whole again for a while.

I’m coming for you Buffalo, with my arms and heart wide open.

{If you or someone you know suffers from post natal anxiety or depression please seek help. I can speak for the resources here in Australia and they are outstanding. I can only hope there is something comparable in the USA however its probably locally based and you’ll have to do some searching. Let’s not forget that Father’s can suffer from it as well.}

In Australia
Bupa Parent and Baby Wellbeing Program (This is the program I participated in)
Beyond Blue

Author: dawnrieniets

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4 thoughts on “Moving Forward and Travelling Far

  1. Connection is so important I think with early motherhood. Just having a laugh (or cry) with a mum who is going through exactly the same thing can make me feel a hundred percent better.

    Posted on June 4, 2015 at 12:39 am
  2. That is absolutely true Robyna. I feel very lucky that even though I didn't have the people I grew up with around me when my daughter was born, I found such comfort and understanding in a group of strangers who would become my Mums Group. They have become such an integral part of my life- I see them more than I see my friends!

    Posted on June 4, 2015 at 5:05 am
  3. Can't wait to see you and the “Great One” …………..We can talk left wing politics in front of your pops and make him squirm….. as a birthday gift of course

    Posted on June 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm
  4. Sounds like a plan!!!

    Posted on June 5, 2015 at 12:42 am