On Being OK

“How’s things?”

“You alright?”

“How you doing?”

These are all questions that we ask people at least once on a daily basis. Yet, I always think, how often do we actually want to know the answers. For instance, when I walk in to my local shop and Sheila behind the counter says “hiya, you alright?” automatically the response is “yes thanks, you?”. It’s courtesy, it is what we do, for the most part, as a nation. I know for certain that poor Sheila would get a hell of a shock if I turned around and suddenly started spouting about all the things that at the moment are in fact not alright.

Sometimes even when we meet up with family or friends, do they actually want to know how we are or is it easier and more desired to claim that everything is just fine and move on.

There has been a story in the news recently about Meghan Markle and how she has had some negative press in the papers and is having a bit of a rough time of it. She stated in one interview that no one had really asked her if she was ok. She even indicated herself how she was juggling learning how to be a newly wed and a new mum. Never mind that really she is still learning to be royal as well. Meghan only gave birth a few months ago and I can’t begin to imagine how much pressure it must be to be a new mum in the spotlight. Being a new mum is hard for just about everyone and according to the NHS website at least 1 in 10 women will suffer with post natal depression within the first year of giving birth.

Having a baby is supposed to be one of the best times of our lives. Whilst that may be the case, that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Having a new baby is a complete adjustment, you gain a whole new title and a whole new world of responsibilities. The difficult part is not feeling like you are able to say that you need a break.

I’ll be honest, before I had my son, I was one of those people who would say “you decided to have kids, you figure it out”. Oh how I wish I could cram those awful words back in to the depths of my brain and extinguish them forever. Because my gosh do I need a break sometimes. At the moment I feel like if I’m not at home with my son, being mum, then I’m at work and if I’m not at work then I’m at home being mum and trying to keep on top of the house work. It feels like there is no time for me time anymore. If by some miracle someone does come and take the little man for a few hours on my days off then I am usually busy giving the house a deep clean because I won’t have had a chance any other time. On top of that I usually get major mum guilt about not spending enough time with him.

Don’t get me wrong, hubby and I are some of the lucky ones who are extremely fortunate to have family and friends very close by that do want to hang out with our son for a few hours. Due to my recent work schedule though it has only really been hubby who gets to enjoy the piece and quiet.

I absolutely love my son more than anything else in this universe and often tell anyone who will listen how he is my favourite anything ever! That does not however mean that I wouldn’t like to spend a guilt free day in my bed watching some sort of strange crime documentary on Netflix and not have to worry about the piles of washing needing done. I often feel more guilty about wanting a time out because I wanted a baby so badly. I still wouldn’t change our son for the world but I don’t think that just because some of us want a baby so much, or even for those who didn’t plan or have to wait as long for a baby, that we should have to be all sunshine and rainbows all the time.

I have a lot going on in life at the moment and I have recently realised that I am still not okay, even after 18 months. I constantly walk around with a pain in my chest of fear and worry and stress and sometimes I realise I haven’t taken a good deep breath in such a long time. I am constantly exhausted and my mind is always on the go. I don’t remember the last time I had a really good, settled nights sleep and I also find myself crying at the strangest of things. Yet I feel like there is this mentality in our society that as parents we should have to just suck it up and get on with it.

So often after a woman gives birth, people ask how the baby is and are they good and do they sleep well. It is so important as well to ask the mother (or the parents) “are you ok?” and genuinely want to hear the reply. Also it is important for us as parents to be able to say no, if that’s how we feel, and just for everyone to know that it’s ok not to be ok

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