Depression · Parents · Postnatal

My battle with Post-Natal Depression

I have suffered from depression most of my life stemming from issues in my childhood. The NHS states that parents who have suffered from depression are likely to experience post-natal depression, combine that with the fact that as a PCOS sufferer, symptoms can include anxiety and depression meant that I was almost certain to suffer the same.

As soon as we found out I was pregnant, I was referred to a consultant to monitor my depression. I initially didn’t have any issues with my mental health. The three months mark came and passed. I did research and found out that women with PCOS have a 50% chance of miscarriage within the first four months comparing to 14% within the first three months of a textbook pregnancy.

At our 20 week scan, we were told there could be issues with Ben’s health. They told us his nuchal fold was thicker than they would like which could mean Ben had Downs Syndrome. For me, this was a shock as everything had run so smoothly, but I tried to remain positive. It didn’t matter what Ben had, all that mattered was that we had the right support networks in place for him and for us. We went for a further scan the next day and were assured that everything was ok and the nuchal fold measurement was fine.

I do think in hindsight this was the start of developing ante-natal depression. I didn’t know this existed but it does, and I was diagnosed with this. Shock horror if you suffer this then there is AGAIN an increased chance of post-natal depression.

At the beginning of March we were involved in a car crash where the van crashed into my side of the car which made Ben go into distress and required monitoring. Followed by a major fall out with my brother which ended up with placid me telling him to come round and we’ll have it out – those pregnancy hormones really make you bulshy!

Easter Monday was the day where me and Ash realised that something needed to be done. I had refused anti-depressants throughout the pregnancy but wallowing in my room refusing to get out of bed was not me. Ash contacted the midwife who was amazing, she arranged for an emergency appointment for the next morning to discuss my mental health.

I felt like I finally could feel better, I had no reason for the depression; but I could help feeling so low. So off we trot to the midwife appointment to have nothing mentioned about the call the previous day; it was just a routine check up. I was fuming. I then noticed the midwife we saw had written in my notes “mother feels ok” SERIOUSLY??!!

I made an appointment with my GP for the next day and was given tablets. Within two weeks I felt so much better, and I was annoyed I refused the tablets for so long, however only taking them for the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy limited the chance of side effects.

The birth and labour was traumatic. I endured 96.5 hours of my back locking every time I contracted and the midwives kept sending me home as I wasn’t progressing. I kept saying it was due to my back locking therefore I was in too much pain to progress; however they were the experts therefore what they said went.

Due to the long labour it is thought that it is the reason why Ben couldn’t breathe on his own and required to go into NICU. I am not seeking sympathy as compared to others in there Ben was barely ill. Within 24 hours he was off of oxygen and was kept in there until he showed signs of feeding independently. However it was not nice seeing your baby in an incubator with tubes and wires covering his body.

This coupled with ear infections, eye infections and mastitis, it is no wonder my ante-natal depression turned into post-natal depression. I went from loving my pregnant body to loving how quickly my body snapped back into a reasonable shape within the first two weeks and my boobs got even bigger with the milk coming in. But then it started to go downhill very rapidly.

I felt my belly hadn’t returned fast enough (I’ve gone up to a size 14 when I could fit comfortably in a non-maternity size 10 when at full term) I tried to shower and put on clean clothes everyday but the older Ben got, the less time I had to poo let alone get washed and dressed!,

Being restricted as to what I can do in the daytime has meant the house is cleaned by the hubby when he gets back from work therefore by the time he sits down its Bens bedtime and I’m currently the only one who actually gets him to sleep (Ben laughs when daddy tries). So it’s usually 8pm by the time I get some adult time and due to hubbys work he goes to bed a little while after.

Being a mum has opened up a whole new side to life that no one tells you about until you’re in the club and then everyone is all like “yeah I totally get that too!” I have plans to write another post soon with things about parenthood that is not mentioned until you discover it. So when I finally get time to do it I will (currently been trying to write this piece for six hours in between nappy changes, failed attempts at feeding, many repeated singing sessions, two naps; Ben not me and several wash loads)

I feel like I am Bill Murray in Groundhog Day as my day consists of the same chores, the same to programmes and the same failed attempts at eating lunch (my day now only has breakfast and dinner)

Trying to be positive about a child you’ve been so desperate to have but knowing I wouldn’t be in this mental state if he wasn’t here is hard. There are days when I hate myself for wishing I didn’t have a child, but there are other days when I thank every god that exists that I was fortunate enough to have a child who looks at me with such love.

I just wish that there was a better support network out there for parents with PND. The NHS has things in place such as extra support from health visitors, but mine would always turn up nearly an hour late, pressure me into going to breastfeeding groups and make me feel bad that Ben was underweight (even though given his NICU experience they said it was normal to be behind other babies). My 6 week check up was all about Ben, not me. So it was only when I made a separate appointment did they up my medication dosage which still isn’t working as I still feel low. There has been no counselling suggested or a follow up appointment by my GPs which just shows that although the NHS has things in place they are not being utilised due to budget constraints and with SMP it is near enough impossible to cover our regular bills, let alone consider going private.

I still feel like an awful mother – even though my child sleeps for nearly 10 hours straight every night and eats like a horse. However I know from previous experience that I won’t feel better until something changes. So therefore I have decided to return to work 2 months earlier than planned. Hopefully returning to work will make me feel better in myself. Having some adult conversation and me time should be what is needed to start making me feel happier. (I’ve only had two occasions where I’ve been without Ben and both times I stayed at home.

I suppose my main question is, how can a parent be truthfully honest about their thoughts and feelings with their PND without the fear of social services getting involved? Surely that puts the fear of God into people and in turn makes matters worse?

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11 thoughts on “My battle with Post-Natal Depression

  1. Post-natal depression… one of the worst things that could happen in a mother’s life. I’ve almost been there.
    My mother-in-law suffers from depression and i know how tough is for everyone around.
    I’m glad you are ok now.
    Wishing you well.
    #brilliantblogposts

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  2. Nobody noticed my antenatal depression – not even me! I was so paranoid that somebody would take the baby away that I never sought help even though after the birth it was very clear I was in a bad way recovering from the birth and unable to breastfeed. I relied entirely on my family, not the professionals, but although they were kind and supportive they couldn’t offer proper mental health support and I wish I’d sought help sooner.

    It was really brave of you to share this and I hope you know you’re not alone. It’s not a club anyone wants to be part of but it’s a big club for what it’s worth!

    You do whatever works for you. Self care is important.

    X

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    1. Aww thank you! I hope you’re feeling better now!
      Since posting this the amount of people telling me they also suffered has made me feel better as I know I’m not alone. We can all help each other! Xx

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  3. You make such a good point about how we can be honest with professionals. When I adopted my 2 kiddies I think I had post adoption depression – everything was hard and nothing I did made me feel better. It culminated on Christmas Day – our first Christmas with our kids – when I gave them the presents and then proceeded to spend 2 hours sobbing my heart out in my bedroom, feeling awful and low. I never went to professionals for help because I was so worried that the social workers would determine that I wasn’t a fit mother. Looking back I wish I had gone to someone for help. The thing I realised was that I had to look after me first or I wouldn’t be in a fit state to look after the kids. Thanks for sharing a difficult story. #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. What is with the bathroom being a spot for breakdowns! I had a major one a little while after Ben was born where I would only talk via text nod refused to unlock the door.
      It must be so hard as I’d never heard of postadoption depression until I started blogging so to most people they probably didnt understand you. I hope you’re on the right path to recovery though!
      I need to remember happy mummy = happy baby but it’s hard at times to put me first! Xx

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  4. I’m sorry you feel like this and it sounds like you haven’t received the support you need from the health profession. But well done for recognising that you the best thing to do is return to work. If this is what you need to do, then this is the best thing for everyone. Not an easy post to share and thank you for sharing it with us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

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  5. I’m shocked at how you’ve been let down by the NHS. I was always under the impression that there was lots of support existing for PND sufferers, but it sounds sadly lacking in your description. I remember my 6 week checkup being all about my baby too – I put it down to the fact that by chance, mine was done by a doctor on her first day back from maternity leave, so she was very interested in him rather than me. Although she did then write me an incorrect prescription which was picked up by the pharmacist. I didn’t suffer with PND but I did feel many of the things you described – the sheer monotony of the days when you have a small baby can be hard to deal with, and if you’re suffering with depression on top of that, I can only imagine how difficult that is to tackle. Thanks so much for sharing this with us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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    1. It’s frustrating at the lack of support in my area, it seems that although things are in place it is never offered as it costs too much and they try to fob people off with tablets. My husband works in our local hospital so unfortunately I know just how bad the NHS is becoming! However I still can’t fault them for the treatment Ben got in the NICU xx

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  6. This sounds like such a difficult time, but it good that you can spot the tell tale signs and have tried to seek help, I know that many others wouldn’t. I am concerned about the advise from the health visitor, I feel that too much pressure is put on mums to breastfeed and on baby weight loss. I can speak from experience. Well done for making the decision to return to work earlier, I really hope that helps you feel better. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  7. My heart goes out to you as i can completely empothise with you.I know what you mean about not wanting to talk to the NHS about how you really feel as i felt like that too.I have an amazing hubby and friends who pulled me through the darkest moments and though i know it will always be a part of me i do feel i have come through te worst of it. If you to chat feel free to contact me theunnaturalmother@gmail.com X X X #FortheloveofBlog

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