So I guess i'm writing this to get some more awareness out there, after letting something posted on FB get the better of me today, I have come to realise that many people really have no idea what a parent struggling with PND goes through.
I'll start from the beginning..
I fell pregnant with DS1 when I was 18, I barely new his dad, we met on a train on my way to the city for a night out with the girls, we parted ways. The next morning I got a text asking if I wanted to hang out, I didn't even remember giving him my phone number! But I remember he was cute so we decidded to go on a double date to the beach. After speaking for hours and getting on like a house on fire, we didn't want to end the date so my friend and I went back to his friends house for a few drinks. We spent the whole night speaking and learning more about each other. The next night came and I was still there, it was then we decided to sleep together and then my life would forever change...
10weeks had passed, this mystery man was now my DP, we had started dating and I was spending most nights at his house when he suggested I move in. 2 weeks later and we were living together.. At this point I was 12weeks, I started feeling quite unwell and it hit me, I couldn't remember when my last period was!! The next morning I went down to to pharmacy and brought a pregnancy test - BFP, I was scared and nervous, but also slightly excited. I rung DP and he was happy. I had a scan the following week which revealed I was over 13wks.
My pregnancy was bliss, I had never been more happy in my life, We started organising the nursery and filling bubs wardrobe with adorable little outfits, I couldn't wait to meet my little man.
The labour was fairly short, but quite intense. i handeled it really well, I had been going to Young Parents antinatal classes since I was 18weeks and I had joined BH, gathering as much information as I could on labour, birth, breastfeeding I felt extremely prepared. After a 5hour labour, my little man was born, he was perfect. Everything was perfect. Breastfeeding came naturally and he latched quite easily and spent the next hour feeding and sleeping up against my chest. After spending 3 days in hospital, my milk came in and I was given the all clear to go home....
Home, home sweet home. I was the most happiest lady alive, all those new mummy endorphins must have still been with me.
Fast forward 1 week. DS1 has been demand feeding, I've been up every 2 hours, sometimes less feeding during the nights, on top of everything i've come down with mastitis, of course I don't know this yet, I just think I have contracted the flu from hell and i'm having trouble looking after my son, I just want to sleep, I can hear him crying out for me but I don't have the engery to get him. I call my DP and tell him I can't do this, he needs to come home. 2 hours later DP get home, I still haven't gotten DS1 he's fallen asleep though. DP gives me a cuddle, I feel horrible, and breakdown and tell him i'm the worst mother. DS1 must hear us and wakes up, I'm feelign better now and DP brings him to me and he has a long feed. I tell myself that it was just a once off, and that tomorrow will be better. I manage to shower myself and bathe DS1, DP takes care of dinner tonight, I feed DS while I wait for my food. He's asleep! I should too, but I can't, eventually around 9pm I get myself to bed, just as I fall asleep DS starts to stir, but he settles. An hour later and I wake up to him screaming for me. Wake up and give him another feed, he doesn't want to be put down so i rock him until he falls asleep, I try to place him down as gentle as possible, but he wakes and screams again, i'm losing my patience so I bring him into my bed. DS falls asleep, but I can't I worry i'm going to lay on him, but I don't want to deal with his screaming so I let him sleep, eventually I fall asleep too. The next time he wakes up, I feed him and he goes down for the rest of the night.
My nights were like this for the next 8weeks. I feel like I am failing, everyone else seems to have babies that are sleeping through already. I starty to doubt whether or not he is getting enough from my breastmilk, people start telling me to switch him to formula, I don't want to, and the reality is, we can't afford it either.
I haven't spoken to anyone about how I have been feeling.. everyone keeps telling me I should try this or that, or it's normal newborn behaviour, is it normal that when my baby crys, I am that tired, that exhausted that I conteplate putting a pillow over his face, I just want peace, quite. I break down, I'm almost about to lose it with DS1, I can feel myself getting frustrated. I call my mum, I tell her she needs to come now, that I am scared i'm going to do something I regret, she tells me she is on her way and to leave DS1 and have a shower. Mum arrives and I break down, I tell her how I am feeling and how I feel like I am failing as a mother. She comforts me, but I don't think she knows quite what to say, she tells me things were get better, I tell her things seem to be getting worse. I have some expressed breastmilk in the freezer and she takes DS from me for a few hours. I sleep, and my mum has to go, I don't want her to go I don't want to be left with DS again, i'm scared, I have no control over the situation.
The next day I have DS1's 8wk needles and check up, my GP asks how I have been copping I smile and tell her everything is well, why? I don't know, I mixture of embarrssment and failure. I've been faking this happy mum gig for a while now, everyone thinks I have adapted well. I know i'm not but I keep convincing myself that things will get better, I really still don't know much about PND, i've suffered depression in the past, and eventually I start puzzling together the similarities, I'm barely eating, all I want to do is sleep, I don't want to be near my baby.
We have young mums mothergroup, it's the same group of ladies that ran the antental classes, they are all midwifes and a CHN visits once a month. I decide to tell the CHN how I have been feeling, she gives me a big sympathetic hug and puts me in contact with a lady named Eliza who runs a local PND support group and playgroup, she also gives me the number to a PND helpline.
Eliza calls me the next day and lets me know when and where she runs the local groups and invites me to their next meet. I'm anxious, scared and embarassed but I decide to go. I spent most of the time listening to others and their stories and awkardley speaking to other parents in similar situations. I catch up with Eliza who is a lovely lady and makes me feel very welcome. I leave the group feeling much better about myself, about my whole situation, I realise that I have nothing to be ashamed of.
My struggles at home were up and down for several months, I had days where I didn't want to be a mum at all, other days I felt like I was on cloud 9. Non the less there was definielty an improvement and I no longer felt like I wanted to harm my son. Our bond grew and after recieving so much support from so many different mothers, I started to get past my PND.
It's been 4 years since I had DS1, after I had DS2 I felt like I was back at square 1 again, but with the support I have recieved from several different associations, people, mothers, forums etc. I am able to deal with my PND much better. To this day, I still have struggles, I am scared that once this baby is born my PND will come back worse then it ever has been, but I am prepared, I am no longer scare or ashamed, I have the support I need and I am a good mum, to my boys and I will be a good mum to this child too.
I apploud anyone that made it through my whole post, thanyou for listening and I hope my story has raised some kind of awareness. Mothers, don't be afraid to ask for help, and to those that have not been through anything like this, look for the signs, don't belittle a parent, not all mothers adapt aswell as others, it's doesn't make them any less of a parent. If you see or hear of a mother struggling, don't judge her, help her. We all need to stick together.