Postnatal mental health | Talking about mental health – Episode 13

My biggest fear about going and getting help was that they were going to take my baby away from me and actually, when I got the right help, that was the last thing that they would have done They said to me, you know, that would be absolute last resort

We would do everything we could to help you and your baby be together because that is what you want, that is what you need and your baby needs you You might not feel very present at the moment but, you know, just go through the motions, do those things that you’re seeing other mums do because you will always have that memory and that what I what I remember someone saying to me and that will always stick with me, is that I do actually have some positive memories from when she was tiny just because I just went through the motions I think it’s hard that we can, you know like we read in the media, this person killed their baby, they must have had post natal depression It makes you not want to share your thoughts but I think in hindsight, like my psychiatrist is amazing because from the beginning I was so honest with her what I was thinking and she never batted an eyelid She said I am not concerned about this, this is part and parcel of what you are going through

That’s such a good thing to hear I didn’t even know how to tell anyone and I was seeing a Para natal psychiatrist because I’m being monitored because I have Bipolar Disorder When I said it to her, I said you know, and I tried to play it down because I thought she’s going to think I’m gone, you know, I’ve gone crazy again She said no, that’s, that’s really normal How old was your child then? She was maybe a few months old

So it didn’t happen straight away? Well, it was growing but there was so much going on You know that kind of overwhelming Mine came on really suddenly as well really

Had a really lovely pregnancy, really really enjoyed it and I just couldn’t wait for my son to be born Had a good birth, well, as good as it can be, and I was fine for about four and a half weeks, you know Breast feeding and I thought, I’ve nailed this, this is alright Then I woke up, literally went to bed and woke up the next day and I thought he had been contaminated of asbestos for no particular reason actually, just a bit of plaster had fallen down from my ceiling From then on like my thoughts were around him being contaminated and I hadn’t protected him

And it was just like that, overnight? Yes, overnight, overnight I’ve had problems with anxiety in my life but I’ve never had intervention from a mental health team or, you know, it’s just something that’s part of my character I just had a doctor’s appointment and I said I wanted some sleeping tablets, I’m not sleeping, you know, I can’t cope with this and from there they could see that I wasn’t quite right so I got help pretty really quickly so I was lucky in that respect Yes, it is a luck thing sometimes when it comes to that You see I don’t think that if I made enough noise and shouted and screamed and got really crazy about how poorly I actually was I would have got the help that I needed

I told my health visitor, I told the midwife who came a few days after that I was having these I said you know I’m have a few peculiar thoughts and she said it’s the baby blues you know I was like this is not the baby blues and then it got to the point where I just

, I literally couldn’t cope anymore so I went to the GP and I took my mum, I have a really supportive family, and she said oh yes, it does sound like you’ve got post natal depression Because of the medication they put me on I had to stop breastfeeding overnight really In a way my anxiety sort of turned into a spiral so whilst I wasn’t depressed in the beginning I think I became so upset by how my kind of experience of motherhood was turning out, you know

Yes, it’s not the dream No and I’d begun to feel really isolated from other mums although I’m really open about what happened Being around mums that were coping it would turn into this what’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with me which I don’t think helped on the depression side of things and I ended up getting pretty depressed about it all really I went to a post natal sort of support group when my daughter was about three or four months old and I met a group of friends there who, you know, I’m really still quite close to Was it a mental health support group or just a general

No it wasn’t, it was just a general one but it was so useful because it wasn’t sort of like antenatal classes where you’re preparing for this thing, it was about talking through your experiences of becoming a mother and it was about adjusting to it and I found that, you know, there was a bunch of women there who all had these, from the outside, had these great lives, perfect lives, everything’s fine but when we all started talking we were all experiencing really similar things Maybe not to the same degree but there was a lot of doubt there, there was a lot of adjustment to being seen in society as a mother With postnatal depression something I was always told was you will always get better from

It’s one of the mental illnesses that you will get better from with the right help These mums that kind of act on impulse because it’s so real for them and then they take that step and they’ll never know how amazing it is to actually be a mother and to feel the love and to I find that so sad

I just remember you know when I was really really ill just thinking my brain was broken I was struggling to talk, I couldn’t even really have conversations, I couldn’t make a cup of tea I love my husband and I love my son but I just thought I can’t go on like this and I never would have thought I’d get to the place where I am now Like so happy, just so happy in my life and yes, I just find it really upsetting that if people aren’t helped what can happen

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