"Mummy don't cry,
Look at me, it'll be ok,
Please don't cry,
I'm here for you,
Mummy just look at me and smile,
Just smile mummy,
Mummy let me touch your face,
Just remember that I love you and you love me,
Mummy what can I say to make you happy?
I don't like you sad, you're making me sad,
Mummy don't cry,
I love you with all my heart".
Eva aged 4
This was how my 4 year old handled me during a bad day with post natal depression last week. At the time I was crying, sad, couldn't get up from the sofa. I was so lethargic. Anything and everything was making me upset and I had no strength or motivation in me. My husband's attempts at helping me failed. Everything was failing. Then Eva came along and uttered those words. As she stroked my face and cuddled me, I realised what an impact my illness was having on my children.
I felt awful. Here was my 4 year old girl who's supposed to be my baby, the one I care for, the one I nurture and protect, looking after me. It's supposed to be the other way around. I am supposed to be the one to tell her everything is going to be ok, to stroke her hair and face and cuddle her until she stops crying.
It was the first time I realised that my illness was having an affect on my girls. It's funny when I sit back and think of it now, there are times when what I would class as bad behaviour, now just seems to be attention seeking or playing up as a direct result of my illness.
I realised that on my deepest darkest days, all the girls have ever wanted from me is love, affection, playfulness and overall my attention.
When you're suffered with PND or any form of depression, decision making becomes overwhelming. This often leads to me being very indecisive or just giving up. This may have been effecting Eva's own decision making and problem solving. When I ask her to do things i'm often met with a response of I don't want to or lots of crying or lots of stalling. Therefore, just mirroring what she has seen me do over the last year and a half.
I've always put her mood swings down to her age but I am now worried that again she is just copying my behaviour. I'd like to think it was an age thing rather than have the guilt of knowing it could be from me.
Seeing how she behaved towards me that day was bittersweet. Part of me was overwhelmed and astounded by how much of a caring, sweet girl Eva had become. I was blown away by how grown up she seemed. However, that is the saddest part about it. She is 4. She shouldn't have to be dealing with things like this. She shouldn't have to take a mother role on.
I know things won't always be like this. In fact the majority of days are now filled with laughter and happiness. But when they're not Eva this is what I want to say to you.
"I do love you,
I love you with all my heart,
You do not make me sad and never will,
You fill me with joy and happiness,
You make the days bright,
You show me the light,
I may be crying,
But I will never stop loving you,
I don't know why i'm crying,
But I know the reason isn't you,
When I am crying just know that I love you,
And that it will get better soon."