Postnatal depression is something that we need to talk about openly and honestly. It is not uncommon and is a real threat to the wellbeing of mums and their families.
It was never mentioned in my ante-natal classes which seems madness to me because it meant that when I got it I did not have a clue what was wrong with me or how to find help.
Today marks the beginning of Pre and Postnatal Depression Awareness Week 2017 and I am proud to be an official supporter of the week. Pandas is the foundation that offers support to those going through the very real challenges and trauma of pre and post-natal depression.
Postnatal depression and me
I had the usual baby blues with my first child and my husband often says I had post-natal depression with him. This goes to show how people cannot get in our head because although I was sleep-deprived with my first son, I managed OK and saw joy in him. This was not the case with my daughter who I certainly loved but I was aware all was not well. I could get very freaked out by simple things like ants crawling around and I wanted to live in darkness with the curtains closed. I did not engage with my daughter properly and would just do the minimum and sit staring at her wondering what my role was and why I could not do it. My parents would come to pick up my son to help out and they would go on days out leaving me at home feeling abandoned. Like so many mums, I said nothing about my struggles. If anything I put on an act that everything was fine and would hide things. For example, I would know what time my husband came home from work and do a quick bath of my daughter and open the curtains so he did not know that I was living in darkness day in and day out. Personal hygiene nose-dived and housework just seemed totally overwhelming.
My big mistake
I did not seek help. I was fearful if anyone knew how I felt they would take my children away. I had a third child and was still depressed and did not even bond with this baby for a full 6 months. I felt there must be a way to feel better but could not work out what it was. Eventually years later I saw a GP who prescribed Prozac and before I knew it I started to recognise myself again, the real Kate with all her flaws, skills, qualities and individuality.
What would I like you to do?
Watch out for new mums and even not so new mums who just don’t seem very happy with their lot. They may just be having a bad day but they may be in the grip of pre or postnatal depression.
Check out the film on the PANDAS Facebook page along with other useful posts on the signs, symptoms and treatment of pre and postnatal depression.
Get involved in the online conversation using hashtag #PNDAW17 and tagging @Pandas_UK in each post.
If you would like to donate to PANDAS Foundation ensure they can continue to help support families affected by both pre & postnatal mental illnesses please text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660 or visit their website for further information and support.
Did you experience pre or postnatal depression?
Sharing is caring and if you hit one or more of the buttons below, this post might just reach the mum who needs it most.