You ask me how I’m doing. And I say I’m doing fine.
“How are you?”
Every single time.
But the truth is I’m not doing fine. I’m far from being OK.
It’s a lie that I keep telling because I don’t know what to say.
How do I admit that I’m struggling? Admit that I’m finding it tough?
How do I admit that I often feel like I’m just not good enough?
How do I admit all of these things without you judging me?
How dare I feel any of these things when I’m one of the lucky ones – I have a healthy baby?
How dare I moan of my struggles? Moan that my life is tough?
When others have it harder – they’re the ones who have it rough.
So I push those feelings down. I hope that they’ll go away.
I put on a smile, turn up and say I’m doing OK.
But what lies underneath the surface is a completely different story.
Negative thoughts and mum guilt just eating away at me.
All those awful feelings and crippling self doubt,
Tearing me apart from the inside out.
But I don’t know how to tell you. The words just won’t come out.
So I’ll continue to suffer in silence when all I want to do is shout.
So you’ll keep asking me how I’m doing. And I’ll keep saying I’m doing fine.
“How are you?”
Every single time.
– – –
But maybe one day you’ll notice that I’m lying to you,
Or I’ll find the courage to talk about what I’m going through.
Then once it’s out in the open I’ll be able to start to heal,
I’ll be able to break the cycle. Get unstuck from this hellish wheel.
Maternal Mental Health Matters Week
This week is Maternal Mental Health Matters Week. The aim is to encourage all mums and mums-to-be who are struggling with their emotions to speak out and get support for their mental health.
If you’re reading this as someone who is struggling, know that you’re not alone.
You are not the first person to feel this way and you are certainly not going to be the last.
I know I’ve been there and from my experience keeping it bottled up only makes it worse.
Talking to someone and asking for help takes immense courage, especially when there’s that mum guilt shouting at you for feeling this way or the fear of being judged weighing down on you, but it is the first step to feeling better.
So, if you’re struggling please talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a doctor, it doesn’t matter who. But talking to someone is the first step on the road to recovery.
There for her
And, if you’re reading this as the friend of someone who might be struggling, remember that “I’m OK” and “I’m fine” might not be the truth.
So, next time you ask someone how they’re doing really listen to the answer and make sure they know that you’re there for them no matter what. Maybe they’re just too scared to admit that they’re not. I know I was.
The No Filter Mum has launched a There For Her campaign. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. Be there for her, the mum who needs support, the mum who say’s she’s doing OK but isn’t. Look out for her, find her and be THERE.
You can join in by posting a selfie with “there for her” written on your hand. (Here’s mine, in rhyme format of course). But more than that you can join in by actually being there. No one should feel like they’re alone and you have the power to show them that they’re not.
I’m there for her. Are you?
If this resonated with you take a look at these poems too :