Local author sheds light on dark side of motherhood
Hands up if the early days of motherhood took you to some dark places.
It’s amazing what crazy hormones, lack of sleep and the realisation that you’ll be forever responsible for another highly-dependent human can do to the mind.
For most, the fog lifts and we’re able to regain a semblance of ‘normal’ life.
But others are plunged into longer-lasting and far more serious depression and anxiety, as one local mother can testify.
Jen Wight, from Hackney, has written a book called Day Six, which will be launched at Stoke Newington Bookshop on October 3rd (World Mental Health Day).
She told StokeyParents: “I'm hoping to raise awareness about mental health issues that affect new parents and talk about how I survived. I feel that if I can do it, anyone can and I want people to know that while things feel so bad when you have depression it is treatable and it will get better.
“I wrote the book while I was on maternity leave. When I was ill one of the delusions I had was that I was going to write a best-selling book about my experiences, make a million pounds, which I would donate to my favourite charity.”
While she was fighting the depression, Jen, who has an MA in Professional Writing, was helped by a counsellor who encouraged her to write about her experience.
“I couldn't argue with her logic” Jen said. “Just at this time my son started sleeping for two hours during the day, so I used that time to write every day. I finished the book before my mat leave ended when my son was 12 months.”
Day Six, When Madness and Motherhood Collide, is a compelling read which gives a very raw insight into the mania, psychosis and sadness that some new mothers experience.
In her most crazy episodes Jen became convinced she was Cameron Diaz, she and Obama were going to use Facebook to save the world and that she’d cure cerebral palsy with dental floss.
Her illness became so severe she was admitted to the Perinatal Mental Health Unit.
One extract reads: “I lie there willing myself to get up and start the day but feel so sad I just want to pull the cover over my head and never, ever get up.”
“I fell no joy when I look at The Boy. I love him fiercely but it is a grim, determine, come-what-may type of love, not the joyful, brimming with happiness love that I do eventually start feeling in many months’ time.”
Another reads: “There is such a taboo around saying how hard and sometimes awful being a parent is. It is similar to the taboo around mental health, in a way – not so much in origin but in outcome. This means lots of people suffer in silence.”
Written like a diary, this book is brutally honest, happy and sad. It highlights the thin line between wellness and insanity and the difference slight chemical changes in the brain can make to perceptions and behaviour. Ultimately, in surviving and recovering, Jen has penned a book that is brimming with hope.
Read more about Day Six and order your copy here: http://jenswight.com/2013/06/30/day-six-when-motherhood-and-madness-collide/