Oh My Darling Clementine (Part Two: Losing my mind)

by - Wednesday, July 26, 2017


How good is sanity!

Well I can tell you... it's flippin good.

I know this because I temporarily lost mine a couple of weeks ago.

The sanity thief? Simply lack of sleep. Extreme lack.

Clementine was born in the morning after I laboured through the night. The following night I had a couple of hours of sleep.. maybe. The next night I had less. The next night I had less...and so on.. until I was getting none. Not even when Clementine was sleeping. Not even if I was sent to my room with someone else looking after her. Not even though I was painfully and desperately tired. I just could not sleep.

Then I started to have panic attacks. Any time I TRIED to sleep my limbs would all floppy and tingly, my mouth would go numb and my tongue would feel too big in my mouth, and I would look at the time and hyperventilate and become hysterical.

And then it crept into almost every moment of the day. On the worst day. My fingers were tingly or numb, my whole face felt numb and panicked anxiety gripped me if anything slightly stressful happened... one of the girls crying, being asked a question, making a decision (like what kind of hot drink to have) or even talking about how I was feeling. I couldn't breathe normally.

Thankfully this wasn't my first rodeo.

This had happened when I had my firstborn. Except then it was the first time, and I was scared out of my mind. That time, I had no idea what was happening to me. Anxiety is terrifying..it not only attacks your mind but your whole body so you can feel like you are completely falling apart. And it can happen so quickly.

At least this time I knew what was going on.

The part that upset me the most about it this time is that I felt like I was being robbed of these first weeks being beautiful and special. You look forward to these newborn days for 9 months, and you know how fast they go... I was heartbroken in feeling I was missing out.

My mum assured me in this time that I would look back and still see all the special moments.

And she was right. I already look back now and still see the intense crazy beauty of the first two weeks.

It took two nights taking a sleeping pill while my husband looked after Clementine and my mum took the older girls to her house, and I regained sanity.


I am so thankful I have this support. And to live in a country with midwives and doctors easily accessed to make this just a simple fix. Because it was a simple fix. But without it I have no idea what condition I would be in right now.

I wanted to write this in case anyone else has gone through, will go through or IS going through anxiety post birth. Because anxiety makes you feel like failure, like a bad parent, like a loser... but I want to say.. NOPE... you are fabulous... take all the support you can get and know that you will come out the other side! And tell your midwife/go to the doctor. It can feel like it's all in your head and really weird and you don't know how to talk about it. But talk about it. Because it might not actually take too much to get better.

So here I am now. Tired... but reasonably together.

Clementine is three weeks old and is the most delightfully peaceful little girl.

And thank GOD because the other two little girls living in this house are crazed dictators that lure you in with sweetness and smiles then work you to the bone with their endless lists of demands.

Anyone who tells you 'going from two to three is easy' with a casual hair flick... are LIARS! Don't let them fool you! Make them look you in the eye when they say it. Look for the telling twitch of the lip that lets you know they are going to tell you this then laugh all the way home. Then get home and tell their partner.. and laugh some more.

A very wise mother of three told me not to stock up on nappies but instead on wine. Now THIS is good advice from one mum to another. And even better.. I listened.. and now know that a wine a day keeps the straightjacket away.

In truth though, being a mother of three has already brought me the most amazing gifts (on top of the gift of three beautiful individual girls).

- My love for my children has become deeper, and richer again.

- My appreciation and love for my parents, my in-laws and my friends has grown again. We have the most amazing village who look after us.

- My husband has become my best friend again. I miss him all day while he is at work. I can't wait until the weekend when we will get to spend time together. We feel more like partners than ever before because boy do we need each other! (feel free to gag here)

- My world has become small again. But in a precious way that I know is only temporary. And I am going to do my best to remember that.

- I am satisfied by my family. This might sound weird. But I am an extrovert.. I always want to invite more people to hang out with us. But I have had breathtakingly simple moments... us all in the lounge playing duplo before bed, a trip to the botanic gardens.... where I have felt so surrounded in love and joy by 'just us' that I wouldn't have wanted anyone else there.

- The song 'Clementine' (see below) that I wrote in the middle of the most intense time after having her. A way to express all the love I had for her that felt like too much to contain.

Having three children is WONDERFUL yes, but by gosh golly it is not easy.

And I'm only three weeks in.


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