Aimee joins this group of amazing mums who are sharing their stories out of postnatal depression. Here, Aimee discusses in her own words how terrible sleep deprivation kicked in and how starting her own business helped her feel like ‘more than a mum’ and herself again.
Fenn was the perfect baby in every way, except for the fact that she didn’t sleep. She was what I call a, ‘night terror’.
The first few months we’re utterly exhausting. At one year old she was still waking every three hours through the night to breastfeed. She had never accepted a bottle so I had to do every single feed myself. During the day she would nap for exactly thirty minutes at a time, and that was only on top of me. I had to go to bed at 7pm to give me any sort of sleep at all, meaning I never got a second to myself. This nonsense was still going on at eighteen months.
I was exhausted to my bones, and I am not one to operate well on little sleep. I was cranky all the time, blamed my husband for everything, couldn’t concentrate and was in tears at least three times a day.
I was utterly frustrated by my inability to create too. Before having Fenn I had a wonderful, creative career in couture fashion, and was always drawing, or sewing or making something in every spare moment. It was torture to not have a second to myself to do what I wanted to do, and I desperately needed to be more than ‘just a mum’. A few times I actually considered how much better off Fenn and my husband would be if I were hit by a bus. I never went to to doctors as I thought they would just fob me off with antidepressants, when all I really needed was sleep; 18 months of solid sleep.
Looking back now I was not in a good place and I was clearly in the realms of PND. I was just surviving each day, waiting for it to end so that I could snatch a few hour’s sleep. I wasn’t able to enjoy Fenn, and something had to change.
I decided that I would wean Fenn as it would allow my Mum to have her for more than a few hours at a time, even overnight eventually. That would give me time to a) sleep and b) get creative again. I had been planning on launching a babywear brand when I was pregnant, and I had done a lot of work on it before Fenn arrived.
The weaning went surprisingly smoothly and it was like something just clicked with Fenn. She started sleeping through the night and her daytime naps got a bit longer. I was waking up with a little bit of energy and I started to enjoy Fenn properly for the first time.
I had time to concentrate on my brand, which I decided to call Mint Cake Club, after Fenn (Fenndle… Fenndle Mint Cake…you get the idea) and launched with a small range of leggings tailored especially for cloth nappies. To my surprise they started selling.
I suddenly had something to keep my creative brain busy and I slowly started to feel like me again. As the business grew, I felt my confidence in my abilities return, and a sense of fulfillment.
I am now really busy as I still look after Fenn full time, and work and sew in the evenings and during her two hour (in-her-cot!) naps.
No longer am I an exhausted, frustrated husk. I am an Indie-Biz owner who has a toddler and an unbridled excitement for the future!