How I Dealt With My Postnatal Depression
There wasn’t a baby book that I hadn’t read when I was expecting my first child. I read them all and I read each page of them. Even the little bit at the back that is just the graphs for height and weight, wondering where my little bean was going to go. I even read and went back to the little square of cordoned off text that came after baby blues, the one on postnatal depression.
I thought I didn’t have it for a good while as I didn’t seem to have any of the signs or symptoms listed. Thus, leading me on a different journey of understanding it. It was a longer one, but one that has led me to this article on my experience of it, in an effort to open up the discussion of how people experience it.
1. It Was Subtle
Almost insidious. A little knock to your pride here, a little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough there, all cumulative. One minute you are a fully functioning member of society, able to interact, socialize, work, enjoy, not worry about the small things, the next you don’t want to leave the house in case your child cries and then you cry and then you have to leave the shop and never return even though it is the only one within walking distance that sells diet coke in cans.
2. People Don’t Like Talking About It
At all. Not one bit. Well, only to say that they don’t have it, but that’s probably down to any of the following reasons: their magical mythical sleeping baby, how well the breastfeeding went, how quick they lost the baby weight, how the baby is going to be on a solid diet of asparagus and broccoli soup… These aren’t the people who are going to make you feel better, it can take a while to find your group, but when you do, it’s just fabulous. As well as some fab chums in real life, I have reached out online and found new friends who are understanding and supportive, and most importantly, non-judgemental.
3. So Many People Have Experienced It
Once I made up my mind to actually start changing things and talking about my mental health, a magical thing happened, other people started talking about their experience too. It was heartening to hear stories of people who had survived it, rolled it up and kicked it out of the park. Also, a little bit worried about the amount of people who had a, ‘I think I had that but it just went away after a few years.’
4. It Can Flare Up
This was a surprise – after I had it and it faded into the background I thought it was gone! But I was wrong, a surprise ending of a work contract saw it jump swiftly out back into the limelight. I wasn’t quite back to square one again, but I felt as though I had taken a one step forward, two steps back approach. Similarly following the death of a parent after the birth of my second child, but I had the t-shirt at that stage.
5. It Doesn’t Have A Timeline
My eldest was 15 months when I went to the doctor, and I fully expected to get laughed out of the room. I was not, and in fact, she was so unsurprised that I was shocked myself. In conversation with her, it turns out I wasn’t the only one wandering around wondering what was wrong with me.
6. There Is Help Available
There are so many fantastic resources available, both online and off, to help you through your postnatal depression journey. If you are worried, speak to your GP. You can also reach out to eumom's Maternal Mental Health Expert, Nurture.
Would you like to share your experience, to help a mom who might be concerned? If so, please leave a message in the comments.