#ShoutieSelfie Supporting Maternal Mental Health Week. It’s ok not to be ok or the story of how I went crazy. I am well aware that I look like one of those mums who’s got their shit together. I wear makeup, I often have my nails done, I have expensive sling, I don’t use word “naughty”, we don’t do “cry out”, I birthed my second baby at home, my house is mostly clean at any given moment and I’ve got a master’s degree. It’s like a weird combo of hippy high achiever person. And exactly because of that I went totally bon….nu…crazy. I was raised in the way that I was “good” if I achieved things, high grades, certificates of achievement and scholarships. And I’m not blaming my mother I know we all muddle through this parenting malarkey and do the best we can, and not all things are down to parenting maybe I’m naturally anxious and nervous. And you know getting things perfect and parenting don’t go together, but when you have certain expectations of yourself and your child that don’t work out its particularly difficult to accept if you have the kind of personality that I have. My anxiety trigger was breastfeeding. When it didn’t work, and it didn’t work I can openly and honestly talk about it after years of struggling to accept it, and feeling like a “failure”, it send my brain that was struggling with post birth hormones, sleep deprivation and isolation overboard. But because I was too busy looking after my son, moving countries and trying to look like I’m managing, I didn’t allow myself to grief about it. Yes, if you feel sad about anything, even not being able to breastfeed which to some isn’t important at all, and it’s fine too, you have to allow yourself to fully experience the emotions that come with it, whether it’s sadness, disappointed, feeling like a failure, anger and frustration. I know so many mothers who had C-sections, and I always feel that they are superheroes, because they have gone through major surgery, quite often after being in labour for hours, experienced the stress of having to have it quite often in emergency situations, who feel like they “failed” their babies. Everything we think about ourselves is down to our own image of what “perfect” should be. To me C-section mums are superheroes, some of them think they “failed”, to someone breastfeeding isn’t important, to me it was the only way and when it didn’t work I “failed”. For years i have felt like I failed, at the back of my head I thought that I wasnt “womanly” enough or “motherly” enough, I wasnt enough and I wasnt good enough. I struggled to enjoy my child, because all I saw in him is how I “failed” him, what I haven’t given him and what he was “deprived” off. It sounds crazy right? In the modern world where formula is so good, where it’s full of vitamins and minerals, in the world where mothers can choose how to feed their child I thought my child was deprived off something, because my anxiety told me this. And then I had another child, and the breastfeeding was tough again. And my anxiety went totally out of control, I was loosing sleep about it, I was crying about it, I was only thinking about how I failed my son and how I’m going to fail my daughter, I had memory flashbacks, I was upset and worried. My husband noticed, my friends noticed, my postnatal doula had to come to talk to me about it, my friends had to come and talk to me about it in the middle of the night because I couldn’t take it anymore. My husband took me to the doctors and asked for help. I remember sitting at gps office and loosing it, I was crying and I needed help. I was referred for counseling. Did I go and get it? No, because I was anxious, I was worried that medical professionals who are there to help will judge me that I’m a “failure”, that they will think I’m not managing and that I’m a bad mother. It took me a lot longer than it should have done to come to this point in my life where I can say I’m no longer experiencing anxiety and I no longer feel like I’m a bad mother. I finished my EMDR therapy about a month ago and I finally feel liberated. I want to say please don’t think that you’re alone in this, when you’re struggling you might feel you’re all by yourself in this and everyone else is managing but you aren’t. It’s ok not to manage, it’s ok to be upset, it’s ok because it’s really hard work. And also remember it’s ok for admit it and it’s ok to ask for help. Please reach out for help. There is always someone who will listen to you. It was my friend who almost forced me to go to EMDR and I am forever grateful. You are not alone. And also you are enough and you are good enough.