Welcome to the third edition in the Creative Mothers Series. This is a space for people to reflect on the impact of parenthood on their experience of personal creativity. If you would like to take part with your thoughts, please take a look at the Creative Mothers page and get in touch!
I’m delighted this week to welcome Amy from PND Recovery. Amy’s blog is a place of beauty, full of thoughtful musings on life and on living with Post Natal Depression.
I’m sure Amy’s post here will resonate with many people, not just those who have been formally diagnosed with PND, but anyone who can understand depression and anxiety. Amy not only expresses how creativity can help with healing, she also offers a powerful reminder of the importance of recognising who we are after becoming a parent, and that we should take time for that person; our inner ‘me’.
I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression when my son was 6 months old. However, I’m pretty sure I was suffering for long before then, maybe even in my pregnancy.
I imagined that when my son was born, I’d have loads of free time to start doing what I wanted. To follow my dreams of creative endeavors. I’ve always enjoyed art and creating, however, in my pre-baby life I was always trying to please others. I got stuck in a career that was in a creative industry but did not enable me to explore my creativity. I thought, while on maternity leave, this is my chance.
However, things didn’t work out that way, the birth of my son was quite traumatic and the first months of his life I can only describe as a blur.
I so desperately wanted to do my own thing but my son took every waking minute of my attention. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with PND and realised that it was essential to take time out for myself that I really started to follow my creative path.
It started with a quilting course – I went to a quilting shop on a Friday afternoon where I learnt to make a baby quilt.
I had never sewn before and I’m not sure what made me interested in learning to sew but I’m glad I did.
Shortly afterwards, I was given a sewing machine for my birthday and I started to make things for my son. I can’t explain the awesome feeling I get when I’ve finished a project. I have made bunting, a quilted cushion out of his baby clothes, a teddy bear, a soft-toy dog and a hammer for my son to play with.
In the future, I am hoping that I’ll be able to start my own business creating products from old baby clothes – there is something really special about them and being able to reuse them to create a lasting memorial is wonderful. This is something that’s in the pipeline though – I’ve learnt from this journey that things take time. I have to be gentle with myself and take things slowly. After all, I have a son who needs me to be there for him. It’s a delicate balance between healing from PND, being there for my son and creating a fulfilling future that we deserve.
I have also started a daily ritual of creating a mandala. This helps me to fill my creative glass each day. It’s a great mindful practice that I find is really rewarding. It’s also accessible to those who may think they’re not ‘creative’ enough. I’ve written a blog post on it here.
I also can’t deny that my blog writing and the illustrations I create to go along with them is a creative practice that has helped me in my recovery from Post Natal Depression. I’m still very much in the midst of my PND recovery, however, I’m very thankful to have discovered my creative side. Creating to me is living – I can’t live without it.
I have realised on this journey, that I have the right to be who I want to be. I think this is so important to show my son. I hope that he’ll not only see me as ‘mum’ but also as an individual that is committed and determined to being true to herself.
Looking back, I feel as though, after the birth of my son I was sent into a state of turmoil. I lost me. I had to go back to my roots to find my identity again. I reflected on what was really important to me, and this helped in getting myself back. I’m so happy that I can now call myself a Creative Mumma and I’m really excited to see where this journey takes me.
Linking this post with #momsterslink