The Summer of Cricket (Adventures in PND)

28 January 2012
I've been watching a bit of test cricket lately. No one is more surprised by this than me. I've never watched cricket in my life - I'm Irish, so it never figured in our house growing up - and I still have very little idea what's going on. You don't really need to, though. What appeals to me about the cricket is the very soothing dullness of it. As Bill Bryson described it:

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to center field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket. (Read more here)

Watching a dull game I don't understand is all the stimulation I can take at the moment, just what I need. You see, up until a few weeks ago, I was getting a little smug about this motherhood business. BabyG slept well, was hitting his milestones early, at the top of the charts for growth. I thought I had the hang of the whole thing and was getting ready to return to work. Then, yippee-ki-yay, the dreaded four month sleep regression hit. BabyG went from sleeping twelve hours with a tiny feed he just about slept through, to screaming himself awake every ninety minutes and being almost bloody impossible to console. Once 5am came, that was it, he was up for the day. The lack of sleep was at first a novelty, then disorienting and nauseating, and finally caused me to slip into territory I smugly thought I had avoided: the land of post natal depression. I ticked several risk factors for PND, but showed no signs in the early months and thought it wasn't going to happen to me. But as I stared down the third day in a row where I'd been up with the baby for three hours by 8am, DH hadn't even left for work yet and wouldn't be home for another ten, crying over being trapped and clawed at and really freaking exhausted, I had to admit it might be time I got some help.

PND has lost a lot of stigma over the last few years, thanks to brave souls who are willing to go public with their stories. Still, very few are prepared to admit they have PND when they are in the middle of it - most will only describe what happened to them when it's all over. I think it can be hard to see the signs of depression when you're actually suffering them (both DH and I have long histories and professional training in this, so we knew what to look out for and spotted it straight away); but also, by admitting you have post natal depression right now, you leave yourself open to being judged. "Is she hurting her baby? Surely if she loved/wanted him enough she'd be happy?". I've got a heightened fear of being judged - a couple of years ago, some cruel soul who admittedly knew me best in my mid twenties, when I really wasn't a great candidate for parenthood, told me they hoped I couldn't have kids because I'd be a crappy mother. I've never quite shaken it, and I'm always worried that if BabyG isn't clean, well-dressed, well-fed, bright, plump and happy that someone will say "See? Right! Terrible mother", and take him away. I know this paranoia is a symptom of my depression, but having worked in child protection, I'm also aware of just how hard health professionals look for signs of neglect or abuse, and I'm terrified of inadvertently showing any.

We live in a nation where perhaps 40% of the population think Tony Abbott is a fit and proper person to become Prime Minister, so it's perhaps not surprising that so many misconceptions about PND remain. During the many heartbreaking years I waited for the time to be right to have a child, I thought to myself I wouldn't possibly get PND, as I had waited so long and would love my child so much. How wrong. It's got nothing to do with love - no one with post natal depression loves their child any less because of it; I absolutely adore BabyG. Why PND? I don't know. Why does anyone get depression? It's not about being tough or resourceful or needing to harden up, it's about a chemical imbalance in the brain, which I am genetically prone to. That's all.

There's so much going on at the moment. I've started wonderful new work with endless opportunity; we're contemplating a major move; this week has been ripe with events for the blogger to sink their teeth into. I'm too tired for any of it. I feel like life, and my only child's infancy, is passing me by. We are lucky to live in a nation with an excellent health and welfare system, even now - I'm receiving treatment, and therapy, and sleep school are getting involved; we don't have to pay a cent for any of this. I had myself together enough, with the help of DH, to get help early, and I'll be better soon I'm sure, with no harm done to me or BabyG in the long run. But for now it's all beyond me. This summer, cricket is all I can handle.


Post a Comment

Recent posts

Back to Top