I think overcoming post-natal depression would be a very difficult topic to blog about. It’s so complex a story I would be here all night! Maybe another time…
For now I’m going to chose my pride in becoming something I’ve wanted to be since I was a very little child -a midwife or nurse. It all goes back to when I was little and I seen a birth of a child on television and I wanted to be a midwife and help ladies help babies into this world.
I applied to get into nursing at 17 and didn’t even get called to interview. I’d dropped out of school just a couple of months into doing some highers, as I had the necessary qualifications to get into university to do nursing. I presumed it was because there were others there with more qualifications than I did – perhaps some highers, or had done the pre-nursing college course. You see, as I live in the Highlands of Scotland, there is only one place to do nursing up here, and it’s pretty competitive. I decided to do my pre-nursing course, however I was living with my then long-term boyfriend who wasn’t too keen on me doing my nursing, and I was having fun being young and sharing a flat away from home – lots of parties and fun to be had! I never got around to starting to do my pre-nursing course (HNC Health Care) until I was 19.
Once I passed my pre-nursing however, I split with my boyfriend and moved back home to my parents. Shortly afterwards I met someone else and quickly became pregnant. I had my nursing university application form pretty much fully filled in at this time – it went in the bin. I had a new future for the time being. I had ante-natal depression whilst I was pregnant, and post-natal depression after Daniel was born. Then Daniel’s father and I moved into a 2 bedroomed home of our own that I bought. More responsibilities, more expenses… more problems. Though eventually when Daniel was 2 I applied to do my nursing and was successful.
About five months into the course, Daniel’s father and I split up. I was now by all means a single parent in full time education, with a part time job and a full time child.
I had to work 16 hours a week, whilst doing my course, to be able to qualify for all the tax credits we needed to stay afloat here in the house. The nursing university course is 50% theory and 50% placements. Two of these placements had to be out-with our home city. In first and second year we had to work 30 hours a week during our placements, and in third year we had to work 32 hours, and in our final placement we had to work 37.5 hours. When we were out on placement we were also required to do a 3000 word essay.
So during times when I was on placement, I had to juggle the different shifts I was given by my placement area – a lot of them being 12 hour placements causing childcare issues. I had to work 30+ hours a week in my placement area, juggle work around so that I was still also doing 16 hours a week there. I had to research and write a 3000 word essay. Try and learn things on placement, and submit additional things I learned and things like Reflective Accounts, Mind Maps, additional mini essays and Significant Reading reports etc for for my Portfolio of Evidence – a bunch of outcomes required to pass the course. Do all the housework/household running things myself. All of this, as well as being Daniel’s Mummy – pretty much the most important one.
Even now when people say they’re proud of me, and what I have done, and ask me “how did you manage it?!” I’ve honestly got no idea…! It was tough I know that, I remember being exhausted a lot of the time. So much so I even went to the doctors a couple of times during my training to be tested for anaemia! Of course, looking back on it all, I was doing a lot at that time… It was most likely just overdoing it and just exhaustion from it all!
Daniel went to day care 3 days a week all day, and the other two days his two Grannies looked after him. Though eventually my Mother moved to a nearby town, and his other Granny became to ill to be able to help out, so he began going to nursery full time Monday to Friday aged about 3 years old. I always feel bad that he had to go to nursery all the time so young, even though he really loved it there! I think I just feel I missed out on things, with him going there all the time. But he loved it so much that even now, 7 months after he left there because of starting Primary 1 in school, he asks if he can go back! This helps a little with the guilt.
Throughout my training when I felt this guilt I just kept trying to tell myself it would be better for the both of us in the end. I’d have a proper career, with a job I get decent pay in – and certainly quite a bit more than my old job I spent nearly 11 years doing! That I could give him more things, and we’d have a more stable future afterwards.
This is definately true. Our future has never been more bright – for the both of us.
After I qualified I got a job which for me, is a dream job. I’ve always been interested in surgery. I loved to watch real life medical programmes on the television all my life, even as a child I remember watching brain surgery and my Mum calling from the kitchen next door telling me to turn it down as she couldn’t handle the sound of the drilling through the skull! During my third year in university I requested to do a placement in the operating theatres. I was allocated to the orthopaedic team. Ortho is surgery on bones though our team also do skin surgeries such as lacerations etc that come in as trauma as we do not have a Plastics specialty in our hospital. For ortho at our hospital we do both joint replacements as well as trauma – broken bones. I was fascinated straight away, and just loved every second of it. I’d found my “calling”, I’d found my home! They seemed to like me too – or at least my rampant enthusiasm – as I was given a job once I qualified.
I’ve been working there for a year and a few months now. I even get to be a part of the nursing worlds I wished to be. I am a nurse, I get to help the surgeons with their instruments for operations and I get to see and assist the obstetric doctors with births.
When I look back even now at the 3 years of hard work, near constant stress and worry, and guilt… I can’t help but to feel proud.
I did it. I achieved my lifelong dream…