Former 'motherexic' shines a light on postnatal depression
A North London mum who coined the phrase ‘Motherexia’ has written a moving account of her experience of postnatal depression:
“I don’t deserve my child. I am a total, utter waste of space. My son’s not eating or sleeping because I’m doing something wrong. He cries because I don’t know how to comfort him. Everyone knows I’m a crap mum, they’re just too afraid to tell me. Anyone could do a better job than I’m doing. My son would be better off without me. I’m not fit to be a mother.
This delightful set of thoughts has popped in uninvited to see me more times than I care to remember over the past 18 months. If I’m feeling vulnerable, I let them sit down and make them a cup of tea, ask them to tell me more. If I’m feeling stronger, I’m able to make an excuse and scarper before they have a chance to put a foot in the door. You see, now that I’m getting a bit more sleep and the fog of hormones has cleared, I’ve recognised that I suffer from Motherexia – a syndrome which makes you view yourself and your mothering skills in an entirely unrealistic light.
Like her evil cousin Anor, Mother Exia revels in distorting what we see when we look in the mirror. Mother Exia, though, enjoys not only messing with how we see ourselves physically, but also how we regard every aspect of our personalities. BUT.. Ahaaaaa, Mrs Exia, the game is up! I have discovered your weak spot, the chink in your armour – the simple, powerful reality that thoughts are not facts.
Thinking something is true doesn’t mean that it actually IS. If a friend you wave to across the street doesn’t wave back, is this because they didn’t see you or because they’ve decided they hate your guts? It’s all a matter of interpretation. Just because we decide they’ve spontaneously deemed us unworthy of a wave doesn’t mean that they aren’t actually just absorbed in figuring out how to get Johnny Depp to fall in love with them (I WILL find a way). Just because we think we’re a terrible mother doesn’t mean we are one. I know this may all sound a bit obvious, but realising that your thoughts are not facts can be more than a bit handy for we insecure mums and those with postnatal depression.
Deep down, I know that no one can care for my son better than I can. I reckon Mother Exia’s days are numbered around here. And now I’m off to gulp down a Mars Bar and a couple of cupcakes just to p*ss her cousin off as well."