July 15, 2016

Maternal Mental Health Matters

Written by Rachel Hawkins

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

I popped into Sainsburys last night for a few post work purchases, while I was trying to negotiate the self-service checkout without kicking it out of pure frustration, I was stopped in my tracks.

I heard a new-born baby cry.

Strange reason to stop what I was doing you might think? Especially as this new-born baby wasn’t mine.

However, I began to feel a rising sense of anxiety.

I immediately felt transported back to December 2013 when I was in hospital after having my son. He was only 3 days old and I was desperately trying to change his nappy and understand why he was crying, whilst hobbling around in agony, recovering from an emergency caesarean section.

I frantically called my partner; Wes, who had left the hospital a couple of hours earlier. I pleaded with him to make his way back to the hospital. I felt alone, traumatised and like the walls were closing in on me. I wasn’t coping. Heck, I didn’t know what to do next.

This was almost 2 and a half years ago, I’ve experienced a breakdown in that time, endless therapy and following all of this, consider myself to be in a good place both mentally and emotionally now.

Thus, I was surprised to feel like past scars were open again. I was surprised to feel strangely vulnerable at that moment in Sainsburys.

I tried not to analyse my feelings too much, drawing on what I’ve learnt from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy sessions and bringing myself back to what I was trying to do. You know, not lose my shit with the self-service checkout.

While I was walking home from the supermarket, I found myself mentally writing this blog. I found myself wanting to articulate this experience, it felt quite profound.

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