You Are Not Weak, You Are Strong – Jenni’s Story
Hi all, and welcome back to my blog. Today is day 26 of my mental health awareness month. If you missed yesterdays interview with Mel get that here. Today I am joined by Jenni from rasing my little sup who is talkng to me about her battle with Postnatal depression. Please show your support, and like this post, leave a comment, and share.
I’m a Mum of two gorgeous children. I have a 9 year daughter and a 5 year old son
What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?
I was first diagnosed with Post Natal Depression two weeks after my daughter was born in 2009. I weaned myself off of my medication but was then re-diagnosed when my son was 2 and a half years old
When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?
I didn’t realised that I was suffering from PND after my daughter was born, it was my GP/OB who told me. Two weeks to the date after my daughter was born, after a four day labour that resulted in an emergency caesarean, I ended up back in hospital as my c-section scar split open due to a very nasty infection. As the nurses and doctors were cleaning up my wound, I was a complete mess and I said words to the effect og “nothing is going right, the only good things in my life is my baby” to which my GP/OB said “Jen, you have a beautiful baby and a loving husband and everything is going to be okay. But we need to put you on some happy pills to think logically.”
When I was re-diagnosed with PND
My son was 2 and a half years old, I was more aware of how I was feeling. I was still a bubbling mess in my GP’s office but not due to having a newborn nor was it due to having two very active children. It was due to the fact that we, as a family, weren’t being taken seriously by medical and educational professionals about my son’s overall health, development and challenging behaviour. I brought the possibility up with my GP that I thought that I may be suffering from PND again and he agreed.
Not many people realise that you can develop postnatal depression when your children are a little older, or that it can return.
How did this affect your parenting?
Being diagnosed with PND didn’t really affect my parenting as such. It made me more aware of my emotions and how I was feeling at certain points in time. Particularly after the birth of my second child. I was more aware of keeping on top of how I was feeling and as soon as I felt the same feelings of hopelessness return, I went straight back to my GP for help.
What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?
My biggest worry when I was diagnosed after the birth of my daughter was how I would be viewed by my friends, family and workmates. At the time I was on maternity leave as a police officer and all I could think was that police officers do not get PND. I had the mistaken belief that people would view me as weak and not capable. I really wasn’t thinking logically about how I was feeling about my PND. And I can now see that my illogical thoughts about PND back in 2009 were due to the misconceptions that I had about PND.I now know that PND is quite common amongst both women and men and yet there still seems to be somewhat of a taboo status surrounding it.
Definatly, it has become more of a talking point, but we defiantly have a long way to go as
Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?
I received assistance from my GP on both occasions in the form of general chats during appointments as to how I was going. I also sought assistance from our child health nurses just to talk about how life was going. After I was re-diagnosed in 2014 I was much more open with my friends as some of them had also been diagnosed with PDN so it was good to talk things through with them as we realised that we could all help each other.
Having a good support system really does make a difference. Especially when you have people that relate to what you are going through.
Has your mental health improved since?
It certainly has. When I was re-diagnosed in 2014, I was much more open about being diagnosed. I was also much more accepting of who I was, PND and all. It is a part of me. I have tried, with my GP’s assistance to wean myself off the medication, but it is something that I need to think logically. Staying on my happy pills, as I call them, makes me a better person for me, my husband and my children
What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?
I do as much self-care as I can through reading books, I blog about our families journey with autism, I spend quality time with my family, doing activities such as sewing and crocheting. I things that remind me of who I am. I am Mum and a wife but I am me first and foremost. To look after my family to the best of my ability, I have to look after me first. I have also started doing mindfulness activities with my children – these not only help my state of mind but also helps them with their anxiety.
Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?
To be perfectly honest, it is getting better but there is still a lot of work to do. There still seems to a taboo status around PND and as such people still seem to be embarrassed to admit that they have been diagnosed with PND or any mental health issue. The more we talk about these issues, then hopefully the taboo status will gradually disappear. It won’t be an overnight process but we will get there. As a parent I felt that I needed to be strong all the time, but I now know that I can have moments of weaknesses. And I honestly believe that be acknowledging that I have been diagnosed with PDN makes me strong as I have been able to recognise that I needed help.
What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?
Being diagnosed with PND doesn’t mean that you are weak. As mentioned above, you are strong as you’ve recognised that to be the best version of you for your family, you need a little assistance in the form of happy pills. Stay strong and talk to your family and friends – you may be surprised who also has been diagnosed with a mental health issue. Hugs and love, I’ve got your back xxxThank you so much for taking the time to complete these questions, and helping me spread awareness. Thank you so much for your great advice, and words of encouragement for my readers.
If you would like to follow Jenni’s jourey, her details are below. Tomorrow I am speaking Ann, who is talking about her son’s battle with mental health conditions.
Much Love 💕