I have had post natal depression since the birth of my little girl over two years now and, this time last year, leaving the house was a mammoth task for me, I would find any excuse not to go places, be it with my family or friends. When I did go up town I'd hide behind the buggy, do what I had to do and I'd never go up alone, I would always make sure I had someone with me.
Once my husband was at home, I would go upstairs a lot and just lie in the bed. If I wasn't doing that I would probably be arguing with myself or my husband over nothing, as most days I would cry for no reason while still trying to be a Mammy to two little ones and do all the Mammy things I should be doing. Most days I'd hold it together till my husband would come home, then I would just crash: I would hit my wall, some times literally! I am still being treated for post natal depression and my story has so much more to it than this; I am just giving you a snippet here. In time I'll write my full story but for now I still find it difficult.
But thanks to IGG and true friends like Siobhán, Stephanie (for giving me the nudge to go for it) and all my IGG ladies, a year on I now go to a Ladybird meeting every week, which I plan and carry out together with my fellow leaders. My ladybirds make me smile every week - they are so polite and funny, when we make buns or cookies one Ladybird says to me "I'll give you the tea but not the bun" - love it!
At the beginning of the year I took part in the Free Being Me training and then for six weeks I went to the local Guide Unit to bring the girls through the course. I was made feel so welcome by the girls and leaders, some of whom were my leaders back in the days! I now no longer fear leaving the house. I even walked the St Patrick's Parade - secretly I was bricking it but with the IGG gang all around I was fine.
Many people think IGG is all about badges and flags and learning off stuff; it's not! I've gone through the ranks from Brownies all the way to Rangers (now Senior Branch) and now I'm a Leader who knows what she wants in the future. The Irish Girl Guides, both as a young girl and a woman, has made me and helped me to be the person I am today.
~ Gemma McLoughlin, a Leader with Belleek Ladybirds in Co Mayo, blogs at http://mammyredhead.blogspot.ie/