Meet An Le – our Bonnie’s wonder woman who never missed a beat as a leader …and then came the baby!
I don’t think I truly understood what mental health and loneliness felt like until I had my baby….
He came early. I had expected to work until the very end of my pregnancy but when the baby appeared, it caught me by surprise. There was so much that I wanted to finish at Bonnie’s before being in labour. I wanted to squeeze in as much work as possible and being the sort of person I am, I never imagined I wouldn’t be able to! Even on the day that my waters broke, I said, “I’ll come back this afternoon.” I just didn’t expect things would happen so quickly. I didn’t expect a lot of things…
For example, I thought I would cope with being a mum differently. I thought I’d be relaxed, that I could handle it. I was so wrong. A month after I had my baby, I had the ‘baby blues’. I’d heard about the baby blues but had never thought much about it.
I didn’t know what was happening to me. When it hit, I thought, this will last a week or two and then it will go. But at week 3 I started to feel really scared. I was wondering, ‘What if this never goes away?’.
I felt so lonely even though I had all the support you could ask for. I had everyone around me: my mum, my in-laws, my girlfriends. My mum would come around very often. My in-laws would be there all the time. My friends were constantly on the phone to me and two of my girlfriends had also had a baby at the same time. But even with all that, I still felt so alone and scared.I just couldn’t shake the feeling.
I didn’t know what had happened to me. I would sit down and cry for no reason. I would watch TV and cry for no reason. I realised that this baby depended on me and that frightened me. I just wanted to have my old life back and so I felt bad about that too. Part of me felt really selfish. It was at this point that I finally understood what it was like to have depression.
A few months later, I woke up and suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt ok. Nothing significant had changed in my life or the way I was thinking. I didn’t have a sudden realisation that made everything better. I just simply felt ok again. The baby blues disappeared as quickly and unexpectedly as they had arrived.
And now, I am loving being a mother and I can’t imagine it any other way.
Written from a conversation with An