I Felt Ashamed – Jess’s Story – Mental Health Awareness
Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 21 of my mental health awareness month, if you missed yesterdays interview with Erin, get that here. Today I am joined by Jess, who talks to me about her experience with PND. Please show your support, like, leave a comment, and share this post.
My name is Jess, wife of one, Mum of two little girls (6.5 years and 9 months). We live in the Snowy Mountains in Australia. I’m a WAHM as a Therapist and I get to train others to be counsellors as well. I’m naturally a relaxed person, go with the flow, take it as they come kinda gal. My faith has a lot to do with that part of me! Though I did have a temper when the right combination of buttons were pressed.
What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?
I haven’t been diagnosed, though I felt I was bordering on postnatal depression, if I hadn’t had my training it could have spiralled quickly.
When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?
Well this is a bit interesting. I had my second baby last year after many years of trying (the age gap was not intended to be that long!). I continued to work at home because I thought it would be achievable, especially as my eldest was such an easy baby
Isla was also an easy baby, though we had complications with an undiagnosed tongue tie which made breastfeeding an issue, it took three months of hard work and amazing support from knowledgeable GP’s in getting Isla’s weight up and boosting my supply. So all this considering, plus working still, added to quite a bit of stress.
Though, I could handle it, she was sleeping well and as long as she was, I was ok.
I started noticing symptoms though when my intuitive hubby asked me if I was ok. I was getting angry over things that really didn’t matter. Losing my cool in a split second with Charlotte, our eldest.
Though what started to join the pieces for me was some esearch I was doing, just out of interest from a postpartum doula training I was doing (yes, I was not a good role model of self-care!). I learned that synthetic oxytocin increases the risk of developing PND. This grabbed my attention because I was induced with Isla, which involves synthetic oxytocin. I had a moment of clarity and realised I was spiraling and needed to change things quickly.
I didn’t know that about Oxytocin. That’s an interesting fact. Sometimes it’s our significant others who first notice that there is something wrong, rather than ourselves. I’m glad you had your husbands support. A good support system really does make a difference.
How did this affect your parenting?
It was tough. Charlotte had a big transition to make and I wasn’t there for her in the way I needed to be. I was an angry mother and things just couldn’t go right. I knew things had to change for all our sakes.
What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?
Naturally, as a therapist myself, I reacted with shame, that I should know better and shouldn’t feel like this. Though, thanks again to my training and intuitive husband, and wonderful colleagues and supervisor, I was affirmed and supported which meant I could relax and accept my feelings even though I didn’t like them.
The other issue was that I didn’t tick all the boxes for a diagnosis. The community nurse had assessed me as part of the routine, but a lot of those issues didn’t come in until after that point, so I went off my own tools I would use with clients and all it showed was that I was under a bt of stress, but otherwise ok. I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
I know that feeling of not wanting to waste anyone’s time, and thinking that it’s not that much of an issue to see a health professional, but even the slightest change in your mental health should be looked at. If you notice a difference, and feel different, no matter how small it may seem, it is really important to speak to someone and to look after your mental heath.
Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?
Well I did, through my support networks. Which worked for me because I already had a lot of support, tools and resources, and information available. Though if I were in any other position, I don’t think I would have caught it in time and that being the case, I would have needed to formally see someone. Though what I realised, it’s that I would have needed to see someone trained in postpartum care, as I wouldn’t have had all the information that I did if it wasn’t for that training. So if you need to see someone, check their credentials to be sure they will be the most effective.
Has your mental health improved since?
It has! I’m keeping my cool, my anger is in check and calms down very quickly instead of simmering away for the next offence.
What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?
Enforcing my self care with plenty of time to rest, saying no as much as I can while maintaining important relationships with family and friends. I’ve also devised a tool that has helped me greatly for in the moment if I feel my anger is taking over again, which I’ve built into my parenting course I will be delivering later this year.
Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?
No, particularly in the postpartum care. It is getting better, though more support needs to be given to new Mum’s to make sure we don’t feel isolated. More information to show that a lot of our feelings are related to the body’s recovery period and to have a healthy relationship with those uncomfortable feelings.
What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?
If things are feeling hard, please reach out for help. Yes parenting isn’t supposed to be easy, though we aren’t designed to just push through on our own. Reaching out at the first sign of hardship is the best you can do to catch things early and actually get a chance to enjoy that bonding time. Spending your time with anger and uncontrollable tears
Thank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and help me share awareness. If you would like to follow Jess’s Story. Her details are below. Tomorrow we are joined by Misa who suffered from prenatal depression, which was sparked by the death of her friend. Post goes live at 9am.
Much love 💕