This is a tough one to talk about. After I had Lily, my mood and outlook on everything, just fell through the floor. I felt sick all the time, constantly worrying and just seemed to always feel terrified that something bad was going to happen.
When I first mentioned this to my health visitor, she told it was normal for some mothers to feel down after having a baby and it normally just goes away after a couple of weeks. I thought “okay then” and that was that.
Fast forward around a month and half later and things had just gotten worse. Matt was back at work and I found myself alone at home with a small baby who just seemed to cry all day. I realised something was truly wrong when one day I just fell into a heap on the floor in tears for a reason I can’t even remember. I do remember calling my mum and she came over and ended up cleaning my kitchen and just hugging me. The way she looked at me showed me something was wrong with me, at the age of 20, I’d learnt to just read my mums face like a book!
I booked an appointment with my GP and explained the whole day to him. He told me to sit down, take a deep breath and not panic. He suggested to me that I had post natal depression and my heart sank. All I could think was “people are going to think i’m a rubbish mum” and “what if they take my Lily away?”
He gave me a short questionnaire called the ‘Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale’. It had questions on it relating to your everyday life for example, “In the past 7 days I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things” and gave you options to tick ranging from almost every day to not at all. I admit most of my answers where ‘not at all’. I couldn’t even remember the last time I laughed.
He was so nice and went through all the different options to help me. I was put on a course of tablets that helped me control my mood a bit more and calm my anxiety. He also gave me the number of my local Sure Start centre (find your local centre https://www.gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre ). I arranged to meet with the women in charge there and it was the best thing I have done.
She helped me get back to being me. I would meet up with her once a week and just talk about how things were going. She got me signed up to a support group specifically for mothers suffering from post natal depression. These groups and support sessions really helped me. Combined with my medication, I became less embarrassed about the whole thing. I also met a few other mums in the same situation and the help they offered was amazing. It helped me get back on track to being the best mum for Lily.
I don’t think post natal depression will ever leave me. I still take my medication some days, especially now i’m at university as well. The advice for this one is if you feel really down and not yourself, go and see someone, don’t just leave it like I did. I regret not going to see my doctor earlier and be able to enjoy those first few weeks with Lily.
Until next time…