Yesterday I was relieved to be diagnosed with a simple hormone imbalance that’s rendered me massively stressed and anxious recently. The difficult thing about being diagnosed with anything, post-partum, is that many symptoms of illness are shrugged off as ‘normal for new mums’. (This is also how a raging infection was missed in the week after Ada was born.)
So I’ve noted down some of the differences between normal new mum anxiety and the perhaps-you-should-call-your-GP kind, for anyone else who feels completely mad at the moment…
Normal: You lose your bonus pregnancy locks.
Not normal: You develop a widow’s peak.
Normal: You cry at the John Lewis ad.
Not normal: You laugh so hard at the Wheeler Dealers Grease ad that the mere memory of it renders you hysterical for a week.
Normal: You gaze at your sleeping baby.
Not normal: You spend eight solid hours pressing your face up against the cot bars. The baby jumps in alarm when she wakes to see your insane, bloodshot eyes boggling at her.
Normal: You eat one-handed.
Not normal: You eat standing up, over the sink, straight from the pan. Your husband queries your self-respect.
Normal: You change your baby’s nappy.
Not normal: You change your baby’s nappy four times in a row until the bin is overflowing with perfectly good nappies and the confused baby is happily weeing all over the changing mat.
Normal: You push your pram in the park.
Not normal: You get suddenly exhausted and have to call someone to come and push the pram home for you. The pram weighs roughly the same as a large baguette.
Normal: Going out in Bath is a hassle.
Not normal: Going out in Bath feels like trekking Mount Doom. You can no longer recall the taste of strawberries.
So if you’ve recently had a baby (or not!) and you recognise any of these madcap symptoms, don’t be fobbed off with ‘welcome to parenthood teehee’ – you might need a proper check-up.