Antenatal and postnatal depression – Stephanie’s story

In my first pregnancy I had postnatal depression It came on after I had my first baby, so when it came to thinking about having another baby I was a bit nervous but I wasn't expecting it to come on in pregnancy which it did this time

When I got to about 24 weeks pregnant I was working and I was I work as a GP and I was just finding that I was getting more and more stressed by what people were telling me I wasn't sleeping and I'd wake up with that horrible feeling of doom starting every day I'd cry at the drop of a hat and it just spiraled in a way that wouldn't normally happen and I had to take time off work which is something I don't really ever do So that's when I realised that it had hit early which I really wasn't expecting I was on antidepressants already I had been from the beginning of pregnancy so it was a bit of a shock to suddenly get this so severely really

My eldest daughter who was six at the time I would find her company harder because I would find that I didn't have much to give emotionally Luckily my husband knew what was happening and fully understood it so he could take over and say, "Mummy just needs to go and have a little lie down" I went to see the GP and I got referred to the perinatal psychiatry team locally so we increased the dose of my antidepressant and watched and waited and after a couple of weeks things had improved luckily I think the thing that helped me the most was was in some ways understanding what was happening to me I tried to make sure I looked after myself so you know silly things like getting your nails done, having massages, sleeping properly

All those things to try and relax me really, those were self-care I suppose Having time to myself so that I could try and put my thoughts in order and not feel so anxious all the time was really helpful and and then when I did go back to work for a few weeks I then felt a lot more able to cope with things When Alice was born she was given to me and I remember being nervous of her because when my eldest daughter had been born the moment they gave her to me I felt wrong I really didn't like that feeling Actually we had a nice cuddle and it was not so bad I didn't have the same instant moment, it sort of kicked in probably about 12 hours later

I think things began to lift, well actually probably not for about 4 months to be honest I saw the perinatal psychiatry team a lot The specialist nurse used to come to the house and I upped medication and was under quite close review The improvements in mood for me I always described it to people as like layers of cling film coming off My advice to anyone feeling this way when they're pregnant would be to go to share it

The most important thing though is that if you don't get the reaction that you need from the first person you see ask somebody else because every person who you ask is different and you will find the person who can help you

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