It’s not just you.

When you first have a baby it can be really magical. Everyone is so excited to meet them, friends and family appear with tiny little hats, meals and helpful hands…

new mum

The first couple of weeks are tiring but amazing, you feel protected in your little bubble of love. But it can’t last forever…

reality

People start to disappear. It’s not their fault, everyone has their own responsibilities and you have bills to pay. Normal everyday life must come crashing back…

new mum2

You always thought looking after a baby would be hard, exhausting even, but maybe you weren’t fully prepared for the total life hijack. The sofa covered in sick, the numerous cups of cold tea littering the living room, the endless dirty nappies and the half eaten bowls of cereal…

mess

How can one tiny, beautiful human cause so much chaos? Sometimes you look around and feel like you aren’t achieving anything. Sometimes you miss the freedoms of your old life.

shots

NO! The jäger train has left the platform!

People tell you that it’s important to get out, go to baby groups and have coffee with friends. That helps, it really does. But even when you are surrounded by other people you can end up feeling quite alone…

other people

It can seem like you are the odd one out. The only one who is not enjoying it. The only one who is wishing the time away. The only one who can’t work out the logistics of taking a shower.

other people2

How the hell do other mums manage to look so together?!

hair

Those thoughts can get on top of you, make you feel anxious, make you feel down…

bad thoughts

But it’s not just you. Sometimes we forget that other people tend to put on a front and share the good sides of their lives. We all do it right?

facebook

Social media lies.

Nobody lives a perfect life and you won’t be the only one who is struggling.

me too

Talking to other people will make you see that you are not alone. Whether it’s your partner, your family, a friend or a doctor. There are people who will understand.

help

You will see that It’s not your fault. That you are a great mum. That you love your child but you are only human. That all you needed was a little help.

And we can all help each other, we just need to be honest. We just need to talk.

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Books3

72 thoughts on “It’s not just you.

    1. TamE

      Not a bad bloody idea!! Every where you look are happy smiley content babies and neat tidy well rested post natal mums. It wouldn’t harm to remind new mums that not everyone ( a lot of new mums) find the first few months a roller coaster and it’s OK to ask for help I really struggled after no. 2. Everyone said it was normal but no one really told me how or where to go for help. No 3 was a breeze after that x

      Reply
    2. Catherine

      This is so very true. New Moms go through it, as well as Moms for the second or even the seventh time. Believe it ladies. It makes no difference how perfect someone’s life appears on the surface, they truly are going through their own personal hell. It is inevitable. Reach out to your support system. Parents, set yourselves a date night away from the home and allow the little one to be cared for by a sitter and have an adults only night. Go and enjoy yourselves. Recharge your batteries. You’ll be glad you did!

      Reply
  1. Vicki Garneau

    Oh my! Thank you, thank you for writing about this! Not just the feeling blue moments but the truthful, raw moments where a mum does reminisce about her pre-baby days! That, and the truth of the societal “support”. Katie, you are right, most of society pressures us to be perfect mums. Reading this post, feels as if an elephant has been lifted off the shoulders!

    Reply
  2. jg

    It was only recently (four years on), my sister in law and I talked and realised we both had a terrible time with our sons (born 3months apart). We are best friends and never really told each other how bad it was. We both cried when we found out. And hugged. Albeit 4 years too late speak up. Its important.

    Reply
  3. Charlotte

    Suddenly the things I felt make sense!!! I still get those feelings and my son is 14 months old. May seek advice. Thank you x

    Reply
  4. Claire

    So so true. And I used to say it to people! This is shite. I still morn my old life yet love my son!! I’d say it’s not him it’s me! And it took 6 years and 3 Ivf’s to have him it’s like I wasn’t allowed to find it shit. I’ve only now got him broken in at 2!

    Reply
  5. Janey

    This is so, so true. It makes me well up remembering how shitty I felt and how I couldn’t it admit at the time because I worried it meant I didn’t love my baby :-( Looking back, of course I bloody did! It’s just the hardest adjustment. Some people adapt easily but I’m sure plenty don’t. Well done for articulating it so well Katie! Wish I’d read this at the time.

    Reply
  6. Jayne

    They should hand this out with Bounty Packs to all new mums. Absolutely spot on. Loved the one with “actual shit in hair”, made me laugh out loud. Just brilliant. If I’d read Thai before I had my first who was a fucking silent reflux nightmare maybe I wouldn’t have judged myself so harshly and realised I was not alone. Well done Hurrah for Gin. X

    Reply
  7. Jess

    My first born turned 9 today and this post still brought a tear to my eye! I wish I had read this 9 years ago. I agree with ‘Tales from the Dad side’ this should be a leaflet with every pack of Pampers (or whatever organic stuff people use these days!!)

    Reply
  8. Lisa

    My little girl is nearly 5 now and I still remember all those feelings. My little one had colic and I felt I didn’t cope at all, just felt like a robot going through the necessary tasks yet deep down just wanted to run away. Such a precious time lost and not helped by inadequate health professionals until I found that one health visitor who was a diamond in the rough and with her advice helped me through. This article is spot on and there needs to be more awareness out there well done and well said !

    Reply
  9. Hilary Shannon

    That is brilliant, it really resonates.
    My babies are 29 and 28 but I will never forget how I felt.
    I remember standing at the top of the stairs on the first day my husband went back to work and I couldn’t work out how to get down the stairs with a baby in my arms.

    If you are washed and dressed by mid afternoon you are doing amazingly well.
    If you’ve brushed your hair by dinner time you are absolutely fantastic

    Reply
  10. Alex

    This is such an important post. I wish I could have shown it to 2 years ago-me! Even just getting out of the house to a baby group (because I thought I ‘should’) would overcome me with anxiety and I’d just sit there feeling like a fraud while everyone seemed so together and happy.

    I’m only just starting to let go of the ‘should’ toss, and accept i cant do a french plait and can’t be ringed with baby cinema, and instead laugh my ass off with my daughter at the weird noise our toilet flush makes.

    Thank you Katie for, as always, helping us to feel OK to be ourselves x

    Reply
  11. Jane

    So true. I was 37, independent and could cope with anything … but found myself squirting breast milk into my baby’s mouth as she screamed because her weight had gone down into the next half centile and I felt so guilty. 22 years later she doesn’t seem to be suffering any after effects of my terrible parenting.

    Reply
  12. Melissa Hebbard

    There is this part of not coping with the mess, demands, lack of sleep, baby not feeding well, expressing, housekeeping and all of the demands that make up a normal feeling of being overwhelmed, but this isn’t post natal depression. Someone with PND can think to themselves that they are just not coping and are shitty mothers, but that doesn’t explain the dreadful feeling of rage and hate that simmer like a volcano in the chest and then erupt in rage over little things. It doesn’t explain the urge to want to pick baby up by the feet and hurl him against the wall. I battled this for a year with my first, put off the next baby until number 1 was in kindy then battled it for over 2 years with #2. At the time, I just thought it was nasty disposition, terrible parenting and lack of coping, but each time I felt that ‘volcano’ of rage leave, and suddenly all was fine, and I loved my children. Fortunately I managed to not hurt my children but my greatest regret is that I didn’t seek help and wasted over 3 years of those precious early years. No one realised how bad it was because I managed ok in public, even when my husband was home I coped enough for him not to realise.

    Reply
    1. Me

      I think the important thing to remember is that everyone’s experience is different. What feels authentic to you as a description of PND (or indeed depression of any sort) won’t necessarily ring true for others. That doesn’t make anyone else’s experience less valid. It’s just important to be kind to each other and not judge when someone does open up. So glad you’re feeling better now and don’t feel guilty at all – it’s out of your hands and it’s so difficult to admit the issues to others and ask for help.

      Reply
      1. Katie Post author

        Sounds horrific, I’m sorry you went through that. This post isn’t saying all of the above things mean you have depression or anxiety though, a lot of those thoughts and feelings occur to all mums. It’s just saying that we should be open and talk more and that in itself could really help prevent mental illness or encourage people to get help from professionals before it becomes dangerous x

        Reply
      1. Ruth

        Thank you for writing this. I had a horrible time when my daughter was tiny, but mainly because of my abusive partner, and I kind of coped with every day with her ok; she was my haven. But at the same time my cousin had a baby; on the surface evrything was good, but at times I’d witness her awful rage, and eventually she banished me from her life, and I was pretty heartbroken. 20 years on, we are reconnected and we love each other dearly. Thank you for expressing what I am sure she was going through, and helping me understand what happened to us.

        Reply
  13. Hannah

    I feel like the odd one out here. Wherever I turn there’s people discussing/posting about what a hard time they’re having an d we’re great. Sure, things take a little bit of planning but it’s all fine.

    Reply
    1. Me

      That’s very honest of you, and it’s great that things are going well. But everyone has their own battles, and not all babies are the same! There are other factors which come into play, too. Whether BF is working out. Sleep deprivation. Lack of social support. Not having a Mum around. Predisposition or previous history of depression. Whether teething is easy or a two-year battle. If you feel things are going well, and if you feel up to it, I implore you to reach out to someone who is having a hard time. Take their baby for a walk so the Mum can nap. Clean their bathroom. Make them a cuppa and listen without judgment. It could make all the difference.

      Reply
  14. Sophie

    Can this be in New Born Bounty Packs, I’m sure you could swing some kind of partnership with Pampers and Citalopram.

    “Take 40g with every shit on your face”

    Reply
  15. Karen

    Absolutely blimmin marvellous description of pretty much exactly how I felt. I’d burst into tears when other people asked me if I wanted another child. I started shunning friends when they did have another child. I couldn’t understand how they could be so OK as to want more of the same. I’d keep a tally of people I knew who had 2 children younger than my 1, and maybe even some older kids too.
    I loved my son but I did NOT love Motherhood.
    Eventually I got counselling when my son was about 2. Then I started enjoying being a parent (plus my boy’s goofy personality started coming out more).
    Now he is 5 and I feel ready to take on another tiny person. Who is due in 6 weeks. Wish me luck.

    Reply
  16. Rach

    This is great, it really is. I was looking over it for my sister who is a new mum. It’s great that people can share their secret fears and reassure one another nowadays. It’s so important that people are encouraged to seek help and talk problems out.
    BUT… Please, don’t any parents have anything positive to say about having kids?! All I see on social media is how horrendous it is. I’ve been trying for several years myself and undergoing fertility treatment, which means that I’ve thought through the prospect of having kids a lot more than many other wanna-be parents ever do before they take the plunge and get pregnant. The media makes me very anxious that maybe motherhood is utterly dreadful and that I’m making a huge mistake. Do all parents secretly wish they’d never had kids? Are they secretly jealous of my infertility? Is that the unspoken truth lurking behind these ‘maniacal-laugh-through-the-tears’ articles that pop up everywhere? All I see is Facebook friends and journalists complaining about how their life/career/body/health/relationship is ruined to extents that they never could have imagined. Unless parenthood really is a 100% terrible thing, I suggest that all these ‘motherhood is secretly awful’ articles should also include some positive, encouraging points, too, to remind mothers what it’s all for, and to reassure the rest of the world that it really isn’t the worst mistake a person could ever make. (Unless it actually is the worst mistake you’ve ever made…?)

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      Hmm I’m not quite sure as for me I would say my experience was quite the opposite – every blog, advert or magazine I saw portrayed parenthood as being some sort of sundrenched happy fest and I really struggled to find any honest representations. Maybe it’s just what you notice?! Anyway in answer to your question parenthood is hard but the best thing I’ve ever done, I try and portray all the sides of it on here, the many happy and funny moments too. I sincerely hope your treatment works for you soon as that must be very tough. Best of luck x

      Reply
    2. Yvette

      Rach,

      I understand your points. I also understand what it can feel like to struggle with infertility. But here’s the thing: I absolutely am grateful for my children AND they have been and continue to be an incredible amount of work. The points illustrated in Hurrah for Gin regarding Pre & Post Natal Depression Awareness Week are just the beginning. There are so very many other things that come up as the child(ren) ages and those can be very difficult as well. I’ve got one who is in college now and the way she speaks to me at times is absolutely horrific. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me, while that sweet little three-year-old cuddled on my lap, that the Little Delight would be able set off flash bombs in my heart as a 19-year-old. But I digress.

      Kids are a lot of work (did I mention that?). Sharing that one is struggling with this or that and having another person acknowledge the struggle can be like a salve on a sunburn: soothing and comforting.

      So here’s the real reason I’m writing to you Rach: If you do end up having your baby, you may struggle with real things that until then have only been ideas. And then you may feel like you have somehow given up your right to be tired, to be scared, to be overwhelmed because you so very much wanted this child. Know that you will have just as much right as anyone else to reach out to others. We will be here for you and let you know that struggling is real and part of this thing called Life.

      I wish you to have your heart’s wish. Take good care of yourself.

      Reply
    3. Alex Waugh

      I had a rocky start with my first. She was very small and needed to be breast fed every 2-3 hours round the clock and she screamed a lot…A LOT. What saved me was being able to say, “Fuck this..I’m buying baby milk.” Turns out I was so run down that she was basically getting water, not milk. After that I endured a bunch of well-meaning twits saying things like, “You mustn’t think you’ve failed..” To which I would reply, “I don’t.” From then on I had a great time, with both my daughters. We went everywhere and did everything and they are now my best friends. The secret? Ignore about 99% of all advice given to you – especially by people who have never had kids. Talk to people who have and be honest with them and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Do what feels right for you and your baby and nuts to the housework, other people’s expectations and, most of all, the whole fantasy island ‘Mother and Baby’ publishing industry. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just people doing the best they can. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar and you should say so to their faces!

      Reply
  17. Jen

    Love this post. So important to raise awareness. You do a fab job on this page. I love your little drawings, make me giggle all the time, and I’ll look out for the book. Xx

    Reply
  18. Clementine

    I like this, it’s funny and I appreciate the confidence boost to struggling mums but I don’t like the suggestion that any mum coping has a front or is lying. I mostly manage to sort my hair out and shower, I don’t find things too difficult, I think I’m the cow with highlights but I’m not lying or putting on a front and i would hate the thought that my mum friends who find it harder might dislike me or think I’m lying to them x

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      Hi clementine i see what you mean but it’s meant to represent the delusions in peoples heads that other people have perfect lives, no one does really even if you are coping well. I doubt anyone would hate or dislike you just for finding things easier, especially if you were understanding and supportive of what they were going though x

      Reply
  19. Yvette

    As usual, with your art you are able to touch on what really goes on in family life with kindness and fun. I appreciate your work and I appreciate that you reveal true issues and allow for them to be discussed and shared. Thank you!

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Your post just stopped me feeling alone; after three years, two babies and a lote of perinatal depression.

    Thank you for making me laugh, cry and feel like the great mother I wanted to be and am.

    Book order… Done.

    Reply
  21. Holly K

    This post sums up my experience perfectly. My son is nearly 2 and I still feel like this a lot. Blogs like yours are a real life saver for keeping me sane! X

    Reply
  22. Louise

    Hi Katie, wow what a fantastic post and absolutely spot on. Becoming a new mum is just so hard. A newborn baby demands every ounce of energy at a time when you just have none at all due to lack of sleep, food etc. I realise after reading some women’s stories that I was nowhere near PND but I really felt like I was losing it. The only thing that got me through was two friends from NCT who had babies a week before who would text daily to a) see if we were all ok and b) compare horror stories. In those moments, we were not alone, we knew it was all ‘normal’ and we got through it together. We forced each other outdoors and to baby groups (mostly gossiping about the smug mummy who dared to brush their hair and wear makeup!).
    But you are right, the key is to talk to people who understand, get out of the house and tell yourself that it will get easier.
    I definitely agree that your post should be given to every new mum! Perhaps it could be sellotaped to the back of every newly delivered baby by the midwife.
    Thanks Katie

    Reply
  23. Sian

    I thought it was me too. I still think it’s me. Everyone else seems to have it better than me when it comes to parenting. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old, and I struggle every day thinking I am a bad mother. Thank you for this post xxxx

    Reply
  24. Helen

    Such a great post Katie. I wish I had known that so many mums have the feelings that they are useless, can’t cope and feel that they can’t read their babies’ needs, I thought it was just me. I don’t think that back in 1998 there was such awareness of PND but looking back I think I started to sink through sheer lack of sleep looking after a colicky little boy.

    I have never written this down before but was due to go to my first post natal group one day. I didn’t go as my baby boy was very unsettled and I felt useless and embarrassed that I couldn’t seem to make him feel better. Sadly later that day he died of SIDS. The sadness and guilt is always there. If only I had been brave enough to go he might still be here today.

    Reply
    1. Katie Post author

      I’ve just cried for you Helen, I’m so so sorry to hear of your son but please please don’t feel guilt that his passing was anything to do with you. It was just a heartbreaking loss that could have happened to anybody. Please take care xxx

      Reply
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  27. Honest mum

    Love this Katie and it’s wrapped up exacly how low I felt after my first child Oliver-I started my blog as a means to find my voice again and importantly reach others who were being honest about how hard it was online (as it just wasn’t the case really IRL for me, everyone seemed to be managing or just not confident to admit (even to themselves) how tough things were. Twitter was a lifeline, for the first time I didn’t feel so alone. So moved and saddened by Helen’s comment above. You are helping so many women Katie, those of us who felt and sometimes still feel alone or an outsider when it comes to raising our kids. Parenting can be so bloody hard and you reflect all aspects of it-and most importantly always keep it real, thanks, and congrats on your book, I know it will be brilliant and I can’t wait to read it x

    Reply
  28. Mummy and The Boy

    Beautifully written as always! Perfectly sums up how I felt in the early days dealing with my colicky baby (6 hours of solid crying was his personal best!)
    This is why I adore your blog, and why I have started one (inferior one) myself! Because it’s ok to absolutely love this motherhood malarkey and hate it a teensy bit too! Yin and yang! Coffee and wine! Bing and Pando! X

    Reply
  29. Nicola

    I’m crying and laughing at this while trying not to miss my bus stop due to being pissed. My youngest is 3. you have ruined my make up i hope you’re happy

    Reply
  30. Sarah

    Sometimes you withdraw from people so much you can’t claw your way back, and when you need help the words just don’t come out and there’s no one there anyway.

    Reply
  31. James

    I can relate to all of this. For some extra practical help I can recommend “Finding Your Way with Your Baby” which won the First Prize, Popular Medicine at the BMA Medical Book Awards 2016. The authors “engage with the most difficult emotional experiences that are often glossed over in parenting books – such as pregnancy, through birth into bonding, ambivalence about the baby, depression, and the emotional turmoil so often brought to the surface by being a new parent. Acknowledgement and understanding about this darker side of family life offers a sense of relief that can allow parents to harness the power of knowing, owning and sharing feelings to transform situations and break negative cycles and old ways of relating.”

    Reply
  32. Sherine

    Thank you for your post, it’s great. It took me right back to the early days with my 3 children in a flash. I work as a health visitor and spend a lot of time supporting mums with PND. I would love to use this post as a resource. Would it be ok to include the web address on our literature? Or do you have it on leaflets. It would be a lovely way of introducing the subject to mums to be without it seeming judgemental and scary.

    Reply
  33. Pat

    I have both laughed and cried at these comments, remembering vividly how it was when l had my children.
    I am a grandmother now, sometimes I am amazed that my 3 children survived my “parenting” and became happy & well- balanced (I think!) adults.
    No matter how much advice you are given or books you read, nothing prepares you for the massive life changes children bring…how every ounce of strength in your body and mind is stretched by their demands and how exhausted and useless you feel at times, not wishing to admit it or ask for help. You can feel so alone.
    So l think it is wonderful that there are blogs like this for sharing problems and even laughing at them!! The cartoons are hilarious, great to see humour in these situations and l can identify with all of them. A brilliant support for mums, I have passed it on to my daughter who has 2 young children and didn’t realise how tough it could be at times….
    But it’s not all negative, generation after generation of mums have “muddled though” motherhood just like I did, making it up as you go along – and surprisingly come through it intact. Motherhood brings many rewards!

    Reply
    1. Phil

      This is a great article, I’ve told quite a few friends that the first year is usually the most difficult year you’ve had to date. But it does get easier and much more rewarding after that. These days of Instagram and Facebook where all your mummy friends are posting regular perfect pictures can make mums feel very insufficient and put extra strain on your new family.

      Throw post natal depression into the mix and 4-6 months of irregular sleep, the huge change of having a baby around non stop can put a massive strain on your relationship (with your partner). We always tried extremely hard to never row in front of the children.

      I found myself just wishing them older but now I’m the opposite and don’t want them to become teenagers.

      Being a parent and a child growing up can be extremely tough and scary for both parties but it brings so much joy with it as well.

      Hang in there anyone who is really struggling, just count down each 3 month period as you’ll see big changes offer the course of each.

      Sorry for the essay, up with my youngest right now, little darling!
      Phil

      Reply
  34. Cecile

    I love this post, so true. Some people told me about your blog when I felt down lately cos I just couldn’t wait for lo to go to sleep all day.
    I feel so much better now reading and laughing at your posts x

    Reply
  35. Sharon Yomek

    Oh my! Thank you, thank you for writing about this! Not just the feeling blue moments but the truthful, raw moments where a mum does reminisce about her pre-baby days! That, and the truth of the societal “support”. Katie, you are right, most of society pressures us to be perfect mums. Reading this post, feels as if an elephant has been lifted off the shoulders!

    Ambera
    http://www.ambera.co.uk

    Reply

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