Does anyone have that Timehop App? I’ve been cringing over my Facebook statuses from years ago but also enjoying the memories it’s shown me. It is also reminding me about this time last year when my postnatal depression and anxiety was starting to get worse. 35,000 mothers in England and Wales suffer postnatal depression in silence and 49% of women who suffer do not seek professional help. Postnatal depression is the hardest thing I have had to deal with in my life and I can’t imagine suffering alone. If you are reading this please talk to someone and get some help. It doesn’t make you a failure and you are not weak. Parenthood is hard and you might find that just talking to someone is enough for you. Postnatal depression is not talked about enough in my opinion but is so common that parents to be should be made aware of it.
Here is my story.
I remember coming home from the hospital and being completely overwhelmed, a pretty normal response for a first time mum. We had visitors every day for at least the first week, I was tired and hormonal. When the health visitor came I mentioned that I was crying a lot and felt down and she mentioned the baby blues saying it was very common and it should pass.
When it was nearly time for Kelly to go back to work I started to get very anxious. How could I do this on my own? Kelly would be gone from 7:30-6 which is such a long day on your own with a newborn. Usually Kelly would come home to me crying, she felt so helpless and didn’t know how to help me. I said to Kelly that I thought we had made a mistake! I got in touch with the health visitor who came out to see me. She said it did seem like it was more than the baby blues and recommended I saw my doctor. I followed her advice and the doctor told me about some therapy I could refer myself to but also gave me a prescription of anti depressants called Sertraline. I was reluctant to take them so decided to see how I got on myself.
Amelia got to about 8 weeks old and I went to my first NCT Bumps & Babies group. It was the best thing I could have done. I met lovely mums who were all in the same position as me; not getting enough sleep, feeling hormonal and generally crappy. I realised I wasn’t on my own, everyone struggles with a newborn. These mums became my friends who I hope I have for life. They probably don’t know just how much they helped me in those early weeks. I made sure I got out everyday and on a Wednesday I went to Buggyfit ran by Vanessa Glew, another saviour! Vanessa is so positive it’s catching! Exercise is known to help with depression and top that with a good natter, cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards I loved it.
Amelia was about 4 months old when things went downhill again. Amelia’s sleeping was all over the place and my body didn’t know what to do and one night I couldn’t sleep. My brain was in overdrive, I couldn’t switch it off. I got up and tried to sleep in another room but I couldn’t get comfy and I didn’t want to go downstairs in case I couldn’t hear Amelia. I didn’t sleep all night and felt awful the next day. Kelly had to stay home to look after us both as I couldn’t cope. It came to bed time and I was so worked up about not sleeping I didn’t sleep again that night, or the next, or the next. I was delirious and so scared. I was googling how to admit myself to a mother and baby unit at one point because I couldn’t cope any longer. We went to the doctors that day and told her everything that was going on. She told me I needed to start taking the anti depressants and also gave me a prescription for some sleeping tablets. That night I went to stay at my Nana’s and Kelly stayed with Amelia hoping she would take a bottle of expressed milk. I got about 3 hours sleep that night even with a sleeping tablet!
I looked into ways to help you sleep and I got the Paul McKenna ‘I Can Make You Sleep‘ book. The night I practiced one of his techniques and I slept! Not for that long but I had fallen asleep on my own which was huge progress. We also started turning the telly off for an hour before bed, I had a sleepy tea and we read which calmed my mind. After about two weeks I started to feel the effects of the Sertraline. I had stopped feeling sick from them and my anxiety was the lowest it had been in months. One of Kelly’s friends who had been through postnatal depression told me to not delay taking them and I wish I hadn’t, I could have been feeling so much happier and like my old self sooner.
I went back to all my groups and started to enjoy life again. I started to really enjoy Amelia and the more her personality started coming out it just got better and better. I was always dubious about anti depressants before but they have worked for me and have served their purpose. It’s nearly a year on from my lowest point and I feel ready to start weaning myself off Sertraline now. I’m going the the doctors next week to talk about it and I’ll keep this blog updated with how it goes.
Just a quick mention to my rock Kelly. Without you through all of this I don’t know where I’d be. I love you x
Please click on the link above to see some useful contact from the Mind website.