It’s one thing that is being talked about much more now than it was 17 years ago. For that, I am truly grateful. As a mum to 2 girls myself, I always want them to be able to confide to me if they ever feel low after having a baby or at any time in their lives. To reassure them that there isn’t a stigma attached to having postnatal depression. As a blogger or someone who writes about parenting life, I don’t want it all to be about reviews, the latest toys, and fashion trends and rosy holidays. I need to be honest and divulge a small bit of my life to my readers. If me opening up helps one person or helps validate someone’s feelings then that will make me very happy. It was very much a taboo subject back then and for years prior to this. Even thinking that you have postnatal depression can leave some mums that they are a failure. To the outside world, they can’t cope. That other people may begin to look differently at them. Some will assume you don’t want/love your baby. The overwhelming feeling of being judged. With all these thoughts circling around your head how do you even begin to discuss your feelings to a complete stranger? Many women are scared to approach a family member or even a professional to discuss their innermost feelings. Its very much about being brave in your darkest of moments and taking the first step to getting help. Today I’m talking about Post Natal Depression – My Story.
Post Natal Depression – My Story
I can remember after having Lauryn 17 years ago the overwhelming feeling of love for her from the second I saw the positive pregnancy test result. My bond with her grew as she did. Months of feeling her little feet kick, her elbows push out whilst she stretched which made my tummy look like some sort of alien creature was about to escape and the little hiccups that made my belly jump. The textbook induction, the best of all my labours. I felt in control and the staff around me so very attentive. My beautiful bundle of joy entered the world. I knew she was a girl from 20 weeks. I had a small list of names that I liked but she remained unnamed until birth. But as soon as I saw her dark hair, little fingers and little toes I knew Lauryn was the perfect name for her. As we went home I felt so content, so happy, and my world was complete.
Over the following weeks, my baby weight began to drop off me. I was absolutely delighted to regain my post-baby figure and some, so quickly. Lauryn was an amazing baby from the of. Slept like a dream, no fussing just an all around dream baba. So why did I feel so odd? I felt exhausted mentally and physically. I cried at the drop of a hat, to a point where I began feeling embarrassed about my lack of control in various situations. I can clearly remember when Lauryn was around 6 weeks calling our telephone provider to add channels on to our package. A very standard phone call but I burst into uncontrollable tears for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t speak to the call handler as a sobbed so hard. As the seconds passed I hang up. I couldn’t compose myself as the sobs and the tears continued. I’m pretty sure that person on the other end of the phone thought that I was crazy.
It was at this point that I decided that things weren’t quite right. I needed to speak to someone about how I was feeling. Someone outside my bubble. I made the difficult phone call to the GP’s surgery to make an appointment. I opted for a female Doctor as I felt I could somehow connect with her more. I arrived ready to pour my heart out only to be met by a male GP and a nurse. The Doctor explained that the nurse was observing this day and was I ok with this? The entire situation, of course, became too much. The male GP the added pressure of the nurse, I ended up in floods of tears. Once I had composed myself I started to talk. I had this overwhelming feeling of purging, getting every single detail out. The relief that I felt was immediate. The worry about people thinking I was crazy disappeared and some sort of light at the end of the tunnel began. They left me feeling reassured that I wasn’t crazy and this can happen to some ladies after childbirth. That I wasn’t alone and that nobody had any worries about my parenting skills and that they were here for me along the way.
I was prescribed antidepressants to take to help alleviate the symptoms. There wasn’t any CBT back then and pretty much medication was your only option. Unfortunately, my first couple of courses weren’t for me, which can happen. My Doctor changed me to a new type and my recovery started. The fog began to lift, the crying over small things began to lesson, I began to feel like me again and that goofy gummy smile of mine returned. My weight stabilised, no longer was I dropping weight quickly whilst eating 3 meals a day. The gaunt look in my face and the black circles beneath my eyes disappeared. I talked when I had moments of feeling low, teary or not in full control. I knew I had a support network around me that cared and that wanted to listen. I also had the continued support of my GP who was at the end of the phone should I need to talk. Within a 12 week period, I started to see the old me resurface again, the hope of my normal self-returning. I began to have a spring in my step and although I knew I had a long road ahead the results were promising.
My story is one of being afraid to speak up. To know that you’re not being judged but knowing that there is help out there and it just takes courage to go and start the process. I know many who have been through similar. Some went it alone and let time pass with the hope that all would resolve. Others sought help and like me took medication. I’m glad that we are now in a position these days that talking about depression and mental health isn’t taboo. There is so much more understanding and empathy towards anybody who isn’t feeling ok. Although services are somewhat stretched don’t let this put you off getting help. Talk to your partner, family or close friends. Reach out, don’t feel alone, your feelings are important and nothing is too silly to address.