10 Sep When You Can’t See The Baby-Joy Woods For The Big Anxiety Trees
I had horrendous post natal depression after giving birth to my eldest daughter.
I ummed and ahhhed about sharing my experience.
I’m still ashamed of some of the feelings I felt back then and I’m scared to go back to that moment but then I think…..if there is even one mum at home now, feeling how I did, that may come across my blog and see that I’m doing ok then it has been worth it.
Any of you that know my story may think that I’m talking about how I felt after having my youngest.
Esmé was born tiny and is having investigations still to determine why.
Whilst I did suffer terribly with anxiety since her birth, they were completely normal feelings of a worried parent.
There’s no cure for being a worried mum unfortunately.
I experienced PND after the birth of my eldest, now 7.
I knew there was a chance of this as I have periodically had anxiety and taken anti depressants from being 14.
What I didn’t realise was how these feelings would manifest.
Niamh’s birth was horrendous. No two ways about it. 36 hours long and it resulted in a tear and some very messy stitches that left my Mary looking like a pan of scrambled eggs.
My physical recovery took over 12 months.
When I came home I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t walk much and I found feeding her difficult. I didn’t have the breastfeeding knowledge that I do now and I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.
I started to get horrendous graphic unwanted images in my head of her coming to harm.
Not by me, I held her whilst going upstairs I would think ‘what if I were to faint? She would fall and hit her head and die’.
This would lead to me freezing on the spot, gripped by fear. I would break into a sweat and my heart would pound out of my chest.
I developed an obsession with the end of the world and spent so much time on the Internet weighing up the likelihood of it.
I was terrified to tell the health visitor incase she advised that the baby was taken off me because I was crazy.
I carried this fear around for weeks. I stopped leaving the house with her and I hated anyone holding her.
She wasn’t sleeping much at night and lack of sleep added to the panic, and it had to come to a head.
One morning I couldn’t face being alone and I sobbed, begging Neil to stay home.
He called in work and I spent most of the day asleep on the chair having cried myself to sleep.
I went to the doctors later that day. He prescribed me Sertraline and CBT and that was the start of my recovery.
PND isn’t always an obvious disinterest in your baby.
Mine was at the other end of the spectrum. I had something so very precious that I couldn’t bear the thought of the world getting to her.
It took a long time to enjoy motherhood and let go of the terror.
PND robbed me of those first 4 months.
My advice is to not dismiss any negative feelings as ‘baby blues’. If you feel on the edge all the time and afraid to go out then don’t hesitate to seek help.
A certain amount of worrying is completely normal. Becoming a mum is amazing but also overwhelming and scary as shit.
If those feeling take over your life and you fail to find enjoyment in anything then chances are you will benefit from speaking to someone.
PND is very common and is treatable.
It’s only because we feel like we have to be superwoman from the get-go that asking for help sometimes feels like failure.
What would health visitors think if they see me just about holding it together in my 4 day old pyjamas?
That you have just pushed a goddamn human out your foof that’s what.
Ring the doctors.
You’re not on your own.