This has been so strange and quite difficult to write this post. If you have read my other posts you will see I’ve tried to be as open and honest as possible. It’s hard to believe I felt like this with my first baby, it’s actually really quite sad. Me and him have such an amazing bond now, and I love him more than life itself! So to go back through how I felt then hasn’t been easy. I hope that if you read this and you are suffering from PND it may help in some way to know you aren’t alone.
I was between 25 and 30 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I can’t remember exactly, it was 6 years ago now. I had an appointment to see my midwife. I remember sitting in the waiting room, trying my hardest not to cry. I felt sick, I was upset, scared and knew I shouldn’t be feeling like this.
When I got called in, I didn’t recognise the midwife, she was new and she had a student with her. I remember thinking I don’t want to tell her how I really feel I don’t know her! But she asked the question “and how are you feeling?” Well that was it, I broke down, I was an emotional wreck. I couldn’t even speak for crying so hard. When I calmed down enough to speak to her, I said “I don’t feel like how a pregnant woman should feel, I don’t think I want my baby” what soon to be mum wants to feel like that!
I spoke to her about the troubles I had been going through with the baby’s dad. My relationship was far from happy. He’d practically kick me out every week for me only to go back! (Idiot that I was!) I had no money, I was living with his mum, and so far away from my family and friends, so my support system wasn’t great. My friends and family didn’t like Bens Dad either so I was trying to prove a point by staying down there.. I should have left half way through my pregnancy, but I was worried about being a single mum. I was so scared of what lay ahead of me.
I wasn’t getting on well with my hormones, and the changes that were happening to my body were difficult to grasp. It’s such a shame I felt like this, as the rest of my pregnancy was physically great, but feeling like I didn’t want my baby put a damper on my pregnancy.
I felt a lot better after my chat with the midwife and she assured me I wasn’t alone, and that there wasn’t a particular way a woman should feel when they are pregnant. I got in the car and went home. My phone rang as I was about to go into the house, and it was someone from the mental health team. My midwife must have phoned them straight away. Which thinking back was really good practice. Maybe if more health professionals did this, then there wouldn’t be so many woman suffering. I felt abit silly however like I was over reacting. I mean they asked me if I felt like harming myself or my baby, I defiantly did not, but I’m not surprised they asked that, after what I said to the midwife. They were satisfied that I was ok, and reassured me that I could call them back at any time if I felt I needed their support.
The rest of my pregnancy continued in a similar manner, sometimes I’d get on ok with his dad, other times I was packing my stuff as he was telling me to leave again! However my bond with my unborn baby started to grow, and I think I was realising it was just going to be me and him, and we had to be there for each other. I gave birth to Ben on the 5th of December 2011, he was a healthy beautiful 8lb baby boy, and I was so proud of him, and was so in love with him 😍
The first couple of weeks of his life flew by in a blur, lots of people visiting, getting used to sleepless nights, trying to grasp breastfeeding. Being a new mum was difficult, I didn’t know what I was doing, I was relying on everyone around me for support. It defiantly wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be! I had a smile painted on my face all day long, even though I was crumbling inside. Once Bens dad had gone back to work, I started to realise how alone I was. It was just me and my baby, and the dog! I had no one to talk to all day long, and I had no one for support. I tried to join a couple of baby groups and meet up with other mums but it was really difficult to motivate myself. I’d rarely get out of my pyjamas, I wasn’t looking after my body, I was eating shit all day long, anything with sugar to keep me going. I’d do everything that was needed for my baby, change him, feed him, cuddle him. But that was all. I soon realised I wasn’t myself, and spoke to my Dr at the time. I was diagnosed with post natal depression, and given anti depressants to help.
Looking back I don’t think Bens dad really understood how I felt and what I was going through, and really wasn’t there to support me through my post natal depression. My ex mother in law however was a great support at the time. I was able to talk to her and cry when needed, but it wasn’t the same as having my own mum there. I was still so far away from home and all my family and friends. Now as well as being in a crappy relationship, I was going through PND alone, and scared.
When Ben was around 3 months old, I’d had enough. The thought of being so far away from everyone who loved and supported me, in a relationship that had more downs than ups was scarier than becoming a single mum. So I made the decision to move back home.
Instantly I felt better, I felt a huge amount of relief. I was ready to start my life again. I had come of the anti depressants pretty quickly, I think that was because I was back around people who supported me. I reconnected with friends,
Started back working ( a lot sooner than planned as I now had to support a baby on my own) and I moved into a flat, just me and my baby. It wasn’t easy, I had a lot of down days, but I had people around me who supported me and helped me through the dark days.
Second time around, I was really conscious of my mental health in my pregnancy and post natal. This time I seem to have more anxiety than depression, read about that here but I still have the occasional blip. Where I feel myself crumbling. Usually because I have cabin fever and being stuck indoors for me is a big trigger. I try to make a point of going out daily to help keep my mental health in good condition. PND and other mental health conditions are still rarely talked about, yet so common. If other woman see and read that mothers and mothers to be go through this on a daily basis, then they may not feel so alone. That was my biggest issue.
I’d love to hear other experiences from parents and parents to be. Please leave a comment and let me know your experience 😊