Postnatal depression – and me

We are honoured to have a guest blog this time from Charlotte, who joined Baby Journey last Summer when she was expecting her first baby. Her honest and inspiring experiences with postnatal depression (PND) have shaped her journey in Motherhood. And she wanted to share that, making sure others who maybe feeling similar don’t feel alone. Thank you Charlotte for your story:

“PND – or the Pain N D’Ass as I like to call it.

Where to start with my journey with PND. I don’t think you can really pinpoint how or when it creeps into your life but I just remember one day thinking this isn’t right, this isn’t me. It’s easy to lose yourself after your little miracle is born because let’s face it 100% of what you’re doing is seeing to them that when even do you have time to think of yourself?

I can’t say I had a particularly bad or traumatic birth, Alfie shot out in a 1 hour 45 minute labour and the recovery was uncomfortable but what was to be expected after pushing a human out of your body. It really was love at first sight when they placed my wrinkly, old man looking bundle of perfection in my arms and I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love and protection that surged through me.

I was surrounded by family after the birth for the first few weeks and lucky enough to have my husband by my side for four weeks and there has never been a shortage of love or support.

So how did I get to where I am right? Everything sounds perfect so why did this effect me? Who knows and to be honest I don’t think anything in my life triggered PND, I think it’s just one of those things that happens. The bigger question, and my real battle, is how to accept that it’s happening and how can I make it go away.

I knew something was wrong when Alfie was about 8 weeks old as I would start crying for no reason. To be honest the sleep deprivation is enough to make anyone get a bit emotional but this was something different. Then the anxiety hit and all these ifs would float around in my head: “what if he cries and I can’t fix it”, “what if people stare”, “what if people think I’m a bad mum”. One morning I felt so worried that I didn’t want to leave the bedroom. The weeks then passed and Alfie was thriving. He started to laugh, he started to roll and was sleeping through the night. Mummy on the other hand hit rock bottom. I felt so low, I would rarely smile (unless I was entertaining Alfie) and the crying became worse. My mind was battling with itself with one half saying you’ve just had a baby this is fine and the other half shouting this isn’t right get help. So why didn’t I reach out for help sooner? Because I was too proud. Depression would never happen to me. I am, and always have been, a strong confident person that has battled through anything. Ha. I was embarrassed and ashamed to talk to anyone about it but my problem was my husband and mum knew me too well. Once I realised and accepted that it was noticeable, I began to talk. This was step one.

The next battle was trying to describe how I felt and figuring out what would help. The only way I could describe it was that I was in a dark pit and even then that didn’t really describe it. If I knew what would help I would have sorted myself out a long time ago so that question was impossible to answer. Then they mentioned reaching out to the doctors and that thought terrified me because then it would become official. I saw PND as a weakness, something that meant I had failed.

Well I needed to get a grip, I had a beautiful baby boy to think of and he HAD to come first. So I called the GP. He was brilliant. He completely understood how I was feeling, didn’t pity me and didn’t immediately shove the PND label on me. His words were “this is a difficult time for you but we are going to help you and this will get better”. I had taken step two.

I am now about to start tackling stage 3 and I know it won’t be all smooth sailing but i try and view it as part of my motherhood journey rather than my difficulty.

I’ve written this blog as it is a coping mechanism for me and I also hope to make others realise that they are not alone. Being a mum can be lonely at times, especially if your partner works a lot or family aren’t as close as you would like them to be. But there are other mums out there who know EXACTLY how you’re feeling. Reach out to them whether it’s by WhatsApp or catch up over coffee.

If you are reading this and think you may have PND I urge you to talk. The longer you stay silent the harder it becomes. Also, if all you have managed to do in a day is care for your little one, you have not failed because you haven’t gone out, had a shower or even brushed your teeth. PND aside, motherhood is hard and you need to realise you are bossing it whether you think so or not.”

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