Postnatal Depression

postnatal depression, perinatal depressionPost Natal Depression. Ah crap. That can’t be right. Not me. My husband is super supportive, I have fantastic support from my mum, family and close friends.
Mothering was ‘supposed’ to be my thing! I’m ‘supposed’ to be ‘good’ at this! I should be feeling seven shades of bliss and happiness right now. Not feeling so overwhelmed that I can’t make a decision about how to finish the shopping, or to even get out of the house.
I’m well educated and aware when it comes to PND – I’ve worked with vulnerable women and their families for over 10 years, including new mums and community agencies. I know that it’s a lot more common than people think, that it has nothing to do with your ability or education.

I was diagnosed with PND when my first bub was four months old.  And this came about because I knew how I felt wasn’t the way it had to be.  I talked to my husband and to my mum – a current Maternal and Child Health nurse.  A then I went to my GP.  She was brilliant.  Listened to me, reassured me, and basically acknowledged how I was feeling and just how hard and UNEXPECTED mothering can be.  

For me, a combination of counselling and medication helped.  But there again was another thing to ‘feel guilt’ about – medication whilst breastfeeding!  However, I was reassured by my GP, and to be honest, I needed something to help me out of the fog I was in.  Medication helped me with that.  I’ve always thought and advocated that if the mum isn’t at her best, how can the rest of the family be?  

In the time since this all came about, I’ve done a lot of thinking and reflection.  How have we developed such expectations of ourselves?  Why should I as a woman, automatically ‘be good’ at mothering?  Why do I think I should be?  Why do I think that I’m not?  Mothering, parenting, is such an amazing, tiring, funny, exhausting, wonderful and shattering experience all at once.  It’s not something that you can fully prepare for, despite the reading, the classes, the internet trawling you might do.  It is different for EVERYONE.  The pregnancy, the birth process, the feeding, the sleeping, the change to your partnership.  The change to yourself.  

The most important thing I think I can say to anyone about to become parents, or even those already in it, is to be kind to yourself.  Be gentle.  Love your baby and family.  But love yourself as well.  Chances are, you’re doing a fabulous job.  

If you think you could be feeling better, or your partner could be feeling better, check PANDA out.  They’re a good place to start.  

  • There is so much truth to this. Mothering is the hardest gig there is. X

  • Sharing is a great way for other women to recognise signs and see that there is a light at end of that tunnel. I think we need to be flexible in our own needs, and the way we perceive what parenting is about. Also we need to stop comparing with other Mums good and bad.

    • Annaleis, I agree! So much comparison going on all the time, it’s not good. And completely futile! xxx

  • It’s so good to hear you had a great doctor and received good advice and support. Unfortunately with me, the first GP I saw was not helpful at all, all she simply did was put me back on the medication I was on before I was pregnant and I just thought it was me and the way I was feeling was normal. I wasn’t diagnosed ’till my son was 19 months old and the doctor changed my dosage and referred me to a psychologist. Thanks so much for sharing this. I too share posts on anxiety & PND on my blog.

    • I’m so glad you stopped by Eva, I’ve just been checking out your blog – glad to have found another one to follow 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your PND story. Many women will be helped to know they are not alone. Society, social media and internal pressures all contribute to PND. Take care of yourself.

  • Great post..thanks for sharing.. I too write about depression..I think the only way we can break down preconceived ideas and stigmas is by sharing our experiences xx

    • Sharing is important – I’m so glad I was able to write this post and have such lovely support through the blogoshere from lovely women like you! xxx

  • I too had PND with both my kids. It was god awful. I am still taking medication now and it helps immensely. It is so important to seek help and support.

    • It is Sam, and I think the more we talk about it hopefully the more people will see this too xx

  • PND does not apologise and is not prejudiced is it? It can take down the most well educated and aware woman.

    It is crazy what expectations we put on ourselves. We can be so cruel to ourselves.

    Motherhood is just one big game of survival and sometimes that happens relatively struggle free and other times we can be placed in struggle town more permanently.

    I hope that you find your way out soon and through sharing, you will find strength and encouragement. Thanks for sharing xx

    • Thanks for reading, and for your thoughtful comments Vicki. xx

  • I know what you mean. My depression, anxiety and stress completely took me by surprise. And yes – a lot of it had to do with the fact that there were so many aspects to motherhood that I hadn’t expected. So glad to hear that you’ve got great support. Take care of you x

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