This was recently shared with me, by a fellow mama who had PND. She is remaining anonymous at her request. I’m sharing it with you. Not only is it a beautiful piece of writing, but it also is an insight as to how someone with PND feels.
PND to me was like being in a glass box. I could see people and people could see me. I could hear people and people could hear me. But ultimately I would walk around/sleep/live in a glass box all alone. I wanted to get out but couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why I was in the box and why literally no-one else I saw was in a box. In fact not only were they not in a box they were running around free as a bird, laughing, genuinely smiling in the breeze.
On a couple of occasions the lid would lift a little and I could stick half my head out. It would make me feel a little better, but then someone would push me back down in it and I’d be alone again.
Sometimes it would feel as if the box was getting smaller, closing in on me so I would want to take my own life to avoid my failure of being able to live in the box without getting squashed. My baby needed someone else other than me. Afterall how could a mother care adequately when she is always in a glass box. My husband didn’t like me. What husband would love a woman who could never leave her glass box and would moan about being in there all the time.
So I would cry alone in there. Not knowing why I was put there or when or if I was going to get out. Because to me the glass box was firmly nailed shut and had a padlock on it. There was no way I would ever ever get out, I would be stuck in it forever.
When I read articles about ‘PND’ or when a doctor showed me empathy, my glass box would move closer to another person who I could suddenly see was also in a glass box. That made me realise that in the world I wasn’t the only one. But ultimately I was still alone. I would walk the streets even surrounded by the glass box. I would drive inside it, go to baby groups inside it, even spend Christmas Day inside it! Whilst I watched my little girl who I adored more than the world in her pretty velvet dress unwrap presents. I wished I could get out just even for a day but I couldn’t.
Then one day someone came and unlocked the padlock. I felt a bit better. I was still trapped inside but the lid felt lifted somehow. It would lock again but bit by bit the unlocking incidents occurred more regularly. Eventually and over time, without even knowing it, the glass lid lifted and slowly I was climbing out. Then one day, I realised that not only had I got out but as I turned around to look at the box that was my prison I saw….that it had shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and I knew I would never ever go back in there again. I was free! Free to run in the breeze like other mums. As I turned, I noticed an egg timer next to the shattered glass. I had never noticed that before. And it was empty. I started to see other women in glass boxes and now I was the free one. I wanted to give them hope. Each of them had a different amount of sand in their egg timers, but I knew that they would run out eventually.
The only thing that helped me during my time in the box was to play music in there. Music that I used to love that made me feel happy. The odd glass of wine in there, reading loving letters from friends and texts of compassion.