Despite my best efforts and the efforts of my midwife (not my mental health team – another story) I am in the midst of postnatal depression (PND) for a second time.
Although this time is doesn’t seem as frightening or intense, I am well aware it is post natal depression.
I fooled myself early on that this time it was just the baby blues but after several months of feeling low and overwhelmed I knew it was PND.
It seems really unfair that I have to suffer with post natal depression, it hangs over me every day ruining what should be the amazing magical time for me. Don’t get me wrong I’m not miserable every second of every day but it certainly makes life a little less bright and makes daily life pretty tough.
Being in a persistent low mood is definitely a big sign of PND. If you know anyone who as has had a baby in the past few months it might be good to ask them how they are feeling? Are they coping ok? If they are a close enough friend/family member and you are worried then mention PND.
It is incredibly scary admitting that you have post natal depression. You immediately feel like a failure. A rubbish mother. Someone not fit to have children – “If I tell anyone they willl take my baby away!”
I had a friend say this to me many months ago. I knew she was struggling and with some gentle coaxing I got her to open up to me then I got her to call her GP. Before this her response to me was identical to the above;
“Am I a rubbish mum.”
“Are they going to take my baby away?”
The answer is NO – to both!
You have a chemical, hormonal imbalance in your brain causing you to feel crap when you should be feeling fine.
How is that your fault?
How does that make you a crap mother?
As for taking away your baby no body wants to do this.It would certainly not be done unless your baby was in danger in extreme circumstances. So please get help. Please don’t let these feelings or thoughts get the better of you. You deserve to feel better.
For me PND does manifest itself in low mood, feeling on edge all the time, severe mood swings and the feeling that everything I do is wrong and not good enough. On the flip side to that last comment I also have the overwhelming feelings of “I can’t let anyone look after my baby because they wont look after them properly.” “They don’t care as much as I do.” “They won’t do it as good as me!” “They will hurt him!”
AS I mentioned it was not as extreme this time around but the thoughts and feelings are still there. Hovering low, reminding me that I’m not OK.
Another part of PND I recognise is extreme tiredness. Yes of course all new mothers (and fathers) are sleep deprived, that’s a given, but this is something different. It is absolute exhaustion! You are a zombie. You can barely function except to do what your baby needs. Some days I wouldn’t want to shower, wash my hair, brush my teeth. I just couldn’t summon the energy to even think about those things, let alone do them! This quickly feeds the low mood and feelings of not good enough and it’s a nasty vicious cycle that in some cases for me has led to self destruct!
Anxiety is something else that can go hand in hand with PND and it’s not just feeling a bit anxious because you’ve not changed a newborn before, it’s very different. It quite often takes over your life. Frightened about leaving the house because something might happen to my baby, scared that people are going to look and me and laugh at how awful I look and how badly I am doing my job as a mum. Laughing at how fat I am. How tired I look. How crap I am and I am doing everything wrong.
This has stopped me leaving the house some days. Stopped me answering the front door and even the phone.
Post natal depression is very hard. It can be so lonely and confusing but it is vital that you seek help. Talk to someone, a trusted friend or family member. Then a Dr, midwife or health visitor.
I must also mention the amazing Rosey from PND and Me. she holds a twitter chat every Wednesday at 8pm. With help and support from other people suffering and sometimes professionals.
Get the help you need so that you can be the best mummy you can be and enjoy this amazing journey.
We all struggle. Some of us much more than others. Please never judge. Sometimes people are going thorough things that you know nothing about.
Be kind, always,
Love Amy x