Family Life

some of the darkest days


There was nothing more exciting then finding out we were pregnant and going to give our little girl a baby brother or sister. With IVF you never really know how “successful” or not you are going to be. How many “rounds” and how many cycles. It is a gruesome process. But we were lucky. We were very lucky.

And those pregnancy days were what any pregnancy day you could expect. Yes, a little harder because through the toddler wrangling, sore ankles, sleepless nights, and those pregnancy hormones, time out to rest was just a little harder. But that was ok. I dealt with it. In all honesty, in terms of how pregnancies go, it was actually an ‘easier’ one, if you can technically say that.

And then, the little man came, he arrived. In style, screaming and yelling. Nothing can describe those first cuddles you get, those first moments together, that joy, that exicitement, adrenalin and shear delight. Nothing. But then it just got harder. Those breastfeeding days were hard.. Really hard. I was in agony, I was trying to bond with my baby while trying to feed him, while trying to be there for my daughter, while trying to organise a sleeping pattern, while trying to cook dinner, while trying to go to the toilet at a moment when there was no screaming, while trying to still be a good wife, daughter, sister, and friend, while still trying to be a professional and run a business, and do the washing, cleaning….. Get my drift?

If I told you I didn’t have dark days, I would be lying. If I told you there were days I did not want to curl up into a ball and just lay there, forever, I would be lying. Because there were moments I was struggling. And when I reflect on it today, I realise how many of those struggling and dark moments I ignored. Because I put it down to those “new motherhood emotions“. The ones that are there just after you have had a baby, and stick around for a little. And with everyone telling me “it gets easier”, “those first few months are the hardest”, “wait till you get to twelve weeks, then it gets easier”…. well, I kept on ignoring them.

And I waited. And I waited. And I waited.

But those dark days were still there. Fewer than before, less frequent, but still there. There were days I didn’t want to engage with anyone, not my children, not my husband, not my baby. I wanted out.

I was lucky in a way, because I could have those “time out” moments to myself, take a break and know when I needed it. I had spent years learning about emotions, feelings, moods, techniques of how to manage them, and ways to become more insightful and “in tune” with yourself and your body. Years. Being a therapist and all, you would think it would be easy for me to do myself, right?

I got there. I got a little extra help. I got extra support and my husband was AAAMMMMAAAZZZZINNNNGGGG!

Slowly, slowly we reached a rhythm. A dance. An appreciation. When those “dark days”, as we called them, crept in, I took out my toolbox and did what I had to do to help me get through it. Talking to a friend, going for a run, having time-out to myself, and even taking myself off for a weekend alone, no children, no husband, just me.

But no one tells you how hard it can be. The health nurse asks you to “tick the boxes”. Some were yes, and some were no. But of course every new parent is going to have those hard days and those tough days. It is a given. It is just whether or not those hard and dark days become more frequent and regular than the good and great ones?

And while I am juggling motherhood, new parenthood, wife duties, work and everything else between, I literally told all those negative and dark feeling and moments to “Piss off”. But truth, it didn’t help. What helped, what still helps, is acknowledgement. Acceptance that these dark days are going to happen will happen and pop in every so often. It is just about  how I tackle them that makes the difference to them turning into something more extreme or not.

Every so often I still ignore those niggling emotions and moods. But more often than not, I now call them for what they are. We, my husband and I, now name them and acknowledge them. We have found a new dance, a rhythm and method to cope with my dark days. And when they happen, which we both know they will, we know what to do. Sometimes acknowledgment is the best answer.


Currently 1 in 7 new mums are diagnosed with postnatal depression and PANDA provides the only national helpline. At capacity, PANDA is only able to support 7% mums with PND – that means that 93 out of every 100 struggling mums miss out on vital support they need.This May PANDA are asking you to quickly and easily email your local MP via the Million Mums website and let them know that this essential service deserves their support.

Linking up with Essentially Jess to help me spread the word x

{photo credit: ‘Ajnagraphy’ via photopin cc}

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  • Rhianna

    Good on you for sharing your story. The more we all talk about this stuff and let each other know we all feeling something similar at one point or another is so important. Life is tough and some days it does feel like it is going to get the better of us and we need to remember we are not alone and there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      So true this Rhianna. Asking for help can sometimes be hard, but it is SO okay to do it! We all need to do it a little more maybe ,…. xx

  • Ai Sakura

    Thanks for sharing your story and raising awareness! I’m sure a lot of mums will also appreciate this.

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      Hanks Ai. I hope so xx

  • kim@bachelormum Style

    Good post Tahlia – no one needs to do PND on heir own or to wander around feeling like they’ll never see the light of day again. I was very lucky to escape it but before having my baby i went to a series of mornings put on for mums that may have been susceptible to it – in my case i was doing pregnancy alone as my partner and i were not together (we’d just separated before we found out the news and decided not to get back together) – it was run by the Benevolent Society and I think the hospital had put me onto them or perhaps vice versa. It was the best thing i could have done – i was prepared to do anything to feel good as i knew it was all such a fragile dance at the time. Whatever way women deal with it, understanding and acknowledging it exists is a great start. I’ll visit the site. Cheers, Kimx

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      Thanks Kim. There are some great program’s out there. And to hear that yours helped you is really encouraging and inspiring! Sometimes that is all it takes to help new mummas through a difficult time at the very best of times.

      Here is trusting that your dance is currently wonderful, exciting and filled with lots of joy. Those dances are always the best! I love them!


  • Jodi Gibson

    Well done for sharing your story. It will help other mums suffering and hopefully make them feel less alone. Dark days are hard to face, but hearing stories of hope gives just that x

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      Thanks Jodi. I hope so! It is so hard to acknowledge those dark days looming and hanging around.

      I hope we can all change the stigma that it doesn’t make anyone less perfect or less able to be a mum. It is so common. No one would be human of they didn’t have a dark day or two somewhere in their life xx

  • Aroha @ Colours of Sunset

    Thanks for sharing Tahlia. I sat here nodding, knowing exactly what you were saying, exactly what you meant. I put it down to “new mum hormones” for 18 months. 18 long, dark months with no light at the end of the tunnel. Then finally a GP listened to me, offered me help, and the fog lifted. I’m honestly surprised it’s only 1 in 7 new mums.

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      Avroha thankyou. I am so encouraged and inspired to hear that your fog has lifted. And what strength you had to take the first steps. They are the hardest!!

      I hope your comment can inspire other mums to take that step. Because their is amazing help out there. And no one has to be alone!


  • Zanni Arnot

    It can be such a difficult period, Tahlia. I am glad at least you received a lot of support and have a supportive partner. I hope that helped you move through it. I know lots of people who have experienced PND. Actually, it was what inspired me to study psychology, as there is noone in this area who focuses on the post natal period. I think raising awareness of the issue is so important, and also strengthening communities to reach out to women following birth. We shouldn’t be doing this in isolation. xx

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      So true Zanni. It is the isolation that is the real issue! And there is no one out there that focuses on the post natal period..: really.. Now that is scary!!!

      Mums need support, all mums! We need to all support each other! Hopefully the government can get behind this fabulous cause and campaign!!!

  • Julie

    Wow. You shared this story so powerfully Tahlia. PND is unfortunately so common, and raising awareness is so important. Thanks for being part of that.

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      Thanks Julie. Who knows if a doctor would have ever said to me I had PND. Sometimes it is not about the labels, but finding the strength to overcome the hard times.

      PND or just really dark days… It is real. I just hope I can help just one mumma xx

  • EssentiallyJess

    I’m still on medication, almost three years after the birth of my last children, because the dark days were too dark and too long. It’s so good when we all stand together to raise awareness.

    • tahlia @ the parenting files

      It is all about coming together, raising awareness and changing the stigma. xx

  • Trish

    Thank you for sharing your story , so that other mums know they are not alone and can work through dark days too.