Jo is a trainee Integrative Counsellor with 9 years Midwifery experience and has been supporting mums and their families affected by PND for 5 years.Click here to read Jo's Story.
I previously worked as a Midwife for 9 years so thought that I knew everything about looking after babies etc but I don’t think that even that prepared me for life as a mum!
My son was born in 2006 after a long labour but I was overwhelmed with love for him and very happy. We came home and life was exhausting but we pulled through! Two hourly feeds night and day, colic, feeling shattered, arguing over who would make the bottles, it’s fair to say your world does get turned upside down! I was tearful on and off but put it down to the exhaustion and lack of sleep. “It will get better” I thought to myself. Looking back it was like a rollercoaster, a few good days then some bad...there can’t be anything wrong because some days are ok... 5 months later my body was screaming at me to get some help. I was crying every day – I didn’t even know why. Panic attacks would come totally out of the blue. My confidence had totally gone. I felt so afraid that I didn’t even want to leave my home. I could not eat due to the anxiety and lost a stone in one week. At times I felt so low and that hopeless and that I could not get through this that I thought that I would be better off dead. My son kept me going – I had to be there for him and hoped that these feelings would pass.
I suffered terrible nightmares and even when I could sleep, and I was so exhausted my mind just would not switch off, it was racing with all sorts of weird thoughts and images. Even five minutes seemed an eternity to get through.
I seriously thought that I was going mad. I needed help. In hindsight I know that I wasn’t going mad I was suffering severe Postnatal Depression. I reached for help and it came.
I had medication, support from my Health Visitor, Psychiatrist, Counselling. This all helped me to recover. With this the other thing that helped me enormously was talking to Karan because she had been there and came through it. To see her looking so well gave me hope that I too would recover.
I had times when I thought that day would never come but it did and I am proud to say I got through it. My bond with my son was never in question, that’s one of the myths of PND, that you don’t love your child. My son was and will always be the apple of my eye.
Karan and I set up House of Light because every mum affected by this illness should have the opportunity to speak to someone who has been there.
You can get through this, there is no shame. PND is an illness but with all illnesses you can and will get better.
If you are reading my story thinking this sounds like me, please pick up the phone or email. Don’t go through this on your own. There is a future ahead and it’s going to be good.
Having antenatal depression does not necessarily mean you will develop postnatal depression. Many mums do feel well once their baby is born and having help and support as soon as possible makes all the difference.
Postnatal depression is a type of depression some women experience after having a baby. It can develop anytime in the first year after giving birth.
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