I Was Too Ashamed To Tell My Husband – Kaila’s Story
Hi all, and welcome back to my mental health series, if you missed yesterdays interview with Ann, get that here. Today I am joined by Kaila from Successfully simple sisters who is talking to me about her battle with Postpartum depression. Please show your support, like, leave a comment, and share this post.
My name is Kaila Penner and I’m a mother of one boy (born December 2016). I’m happily married to my husband of 4 years. I have a degree in psychology, a background in mental health counselling, and I’ve worked in a group home setting as well. I currently work in Learning and Development (providing training and development opportunities to employees) at a tech company in Iowa.
What type of Post Natal metal health condition did you, or do you have?
I suffered from post-partum depression from the time my son was born (or shortly after) until he was about 5 months old. I go into much more depth on this in my blog post
When did you first realise that you had a mental health condition, what were your first symptoms?
I think I finally admitted I had a mental health condition when my son was about 5 weeks old. I was sitting in my living room and I stared at my son on the floor feeling detached from him. He didn’t feel like mine. I saw my husband cuddle with him and I could visibly see the love in his eyes toward our son and I knew I didn’t look like that when I held my son.
After this realization, I started to realize that I cried almost all day, every day. That might sound like a exaggeration but it’s absolutely not. I cried several hours a day, every single day of the week. I knew that wasn’t normal.
That sounds like it would have been exhausting too.
How did this affect your parenting?
Dealing with PPD made me question my ability to be a good mom. I constantly questioned why God gave me a child that I couldn’t even handle while there are people who would be awesome parents and may never have children of their own.
I took an 11-week maternity leave and I didn’t appreciate my son during that time. I literally counted down the days until I could go back to work. I somehow felt like he could tell and would later resent me for it.
What was your biggest worry about having a mental health condition?
I had two worries: The first worry was that my family and friends would tell me that I wasn’t capable of taking care of my son. The second was that I would end up being a bad mom because I personally lived it. I personally saw the struggles my mom and grandma faced from raising children with depression. I didn’t want to end up like that. I didn’t want to struggle every day like they did – and I know they would wish the same for me.
Did you receive any help? If so, what was it?
I didn’t receive any help for two reasons. The first reason was because I simply couldn’t afford it. We actually weren’t even able to pay our bills during my maternity leave from my decreased pay (my husband owns his own business that isn’t yet profitable). Secondly, from my formal education, experience in the field, and personal experience with my family, I was convinced that I was above this. I was convinced it was normal and every mom felt that way. I was scared.
We are fortunate in the uk that money doesn’t come into healthcare. It’s unfair that it was a big issue for you. There should be support for new mothers regardless of cost, especially when their mental health comes into it.
Has your mental health improved since?
I’m fortunate enough to say that I have completely turned around from this. I woke up one day when my son was around 5 months old and realized I felt, different. I felt better. I felt normal.
I’m glad you were able over come this.
What do you do personally, to help your own mental health?
My faith is the foundation of my life. I find comfort in prayer, so I sought out God whenever it got rough. Additionally, my blog has been a great outlet for my mental health, as well. I find writing therapeutic, literally, so I often write when I start to feel those thoughts coming on.
Do you feel there is enough support out there, for parents with a mental health condition?
There is definitely not enough support for parents with mental health issues. The mental health stigma limits the number of people willing to come forward with such issues (I’m one of them, until now).
What advice would you give to parents suffering from a postnatal mental health condition?
My advice for you is to tell someone. I was too ashamed to even tell my husband (which is unusual because my husband and I are incredibly close.) When you are dealing with a mental illness, you are clouded by the symptoms and likely unable to see the situation objectively. It takes someone on the outside who isn’t personally battling the same things you are to step out and take the first step toward recovery.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and to help me spread Awareness. If you want to follow Kaila’s journey, her details are below. Tomorrow is the last day of this series, and I’m going to be talking to Amy about her battle with PND.