When this post goes live, I'll be on my way to have my first ultrasound. I'm expecting, and it's terrifying, and overwhelming, and wonderful, all at the same time!
As I'm sure most mums experience, I've had moments of paralysing self-doubt over the last several weeks as I've progressed through my first trimester. What if I'm not a good mum? What if because I've lived with severe mental illness for so long, my child ends up with some of the same experiences as me?
And then a troll gave a voice to one of my worst fears over the weekend: "how are you going to look after a child if you can't look after yourself?". She included a screenshot of an article I wrote and had published over two years ago that cited my history of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
How do you react to that? "Congratulations on finding a two year old article", I wrote. But the seed of doubt had been planted. Well, 'planted' is really the wrong word, as I've asked myself the very same question so many times. It was more that she'd watered the seed, I suppose. Still, I found myself considering all of my fluctuations in mood over the last several months, hyper-analysing my own mental health.
Eventually, I concluded that there is no shame in my struggles, and similarly there is no shame in having been open about them. If my child should experience mental illness, then I'll have set the example that it's okay to talk, and it's okay to ask for help. I won't have led my child to believe that mental illness is something to be ashamed of, unlike the trolls who launched their vile attack against me over the weekend.
I'm not going to be a superhero of a mum. I'm going to be a human being. And it's okay for human beings to struggle occasionally.
It's also okay to tell the trolls to "f*ck off" once in a while!