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PND and me

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

How would I describe post natal depression?

It’s like trying to walk in treacle with flip flops on.

It’s being in a constant battle with yourself.

Thinking ‘I should be feeling happy but I don’t.'

Why can’t I feel like other mums?’

It’s exhausting, lonely and scary.

It hit me like a truck. I was so excited to be pregnant after being told it might possibly not happen for us.

Then after our 3-month scan everything changed. I went from being a bubbly, outgoing person to a recluse. I didn’t want to see anyone for fear and shame that they might see through the façade that I’d painted for myself.

I didn’t want to hear the ‘Oh wow Kel, I bet you are so happy you are finally pregnant?’ when I felt anything but. I felt anxious, sick and just not myself. The shame and guilt I felt was overwhelming. I had to avoid as many people as I could to keep the game up.

My bump was tiny. This caused more panic. ‘What was I doing wrong?’ ‘I knew I’d be useless at this.’ Fighting my inner critic was exhausting.

Everything seemed to go wrong. She stopped growing, was breech and wouldn’t turn (she’s still as stubborn as a mule) and I had to have a caesarean. A far cry from the natural, no drug water birth I had in my mind for me and our baby.

I felt I was losing control. I had no control over my mind and now people were telling me what I should do with my body. It felt like it was happening to someone else and I began to feel detached from everything and everyone.

She arrived safely. Tiny but safe. The caesarean was a really positive experience. Calm, relaxed . . . nothing like I’d imagined it would be.

I loved her. With all my heart. But something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I felt numb. Detached. Like it was all happening to someone else and not me.

Those first few months passed in a blur and I’m ashamed to admit it. There are big chunks of time I don’t remember. Milestones, firsts. I still feel guilty now.

The doctors said that with our history if we wanted a bigger family to not wait around. So when Sienna was 7 months old I was pregnant again.

I showed almost immediately which made me feel a bond right from the start which made me feel guilty about the bond I didn’t feel I had with Sienna. What was wrong with me? What sort of mummy did that make me?

Another troubled pregnancy saw me in hospital everyday from 28 weeks because of lack of movement. We were frequently sent up to the labour ward when she was in distress. Then early slow labour which resulted in a 3 night stay.

Again, it felt like it wasn’t happening to me. Like I was above it all looking down and just worrying about this person. I didn’t recognise her but I knew she needed help. Help she was ashamed to ask for.

Hallie arrived at 37 weeks and when she was placed on my chest the bond was instant. A deep bond. The guilt was so strong I cried when I was left alone with her. Cried out of happiness and sadness.

I muddled on. Cared for both our girls and pushed how I was feeling – which often felt like 20 emotions in a minute – to the back of my mind. Each passing day got harder and I was withdrawing more and more as a way to protect myself.

January 2019 is when I hit what people call rock bottom.

On holiday in Benidorm I was sat on the balcony and everything hit me.

Why are you still here? Your daughters would be better off without you. Everyone would be better off without you.

Our room was on the first floor. If we were higher I would of jumped. Gone. Done what my head at been screaming at me to do for the last two years. I couldn’t hide anymore. I was too tired of fighting with myself all the time.

I spoke out. To my husband. To family. The shame I felt was overwhelming.

I went to the doctor who put her hand on my knee and told me it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for this to happen to me and I was ill and needed help. It felt like the heavy weight I’d been carrying for so long felt a little bit lighter, my head feel a little bit clearer. I took the medication she prescribed and spoke to a therapist which helped too.

It’s a long road to recovery, some days it hits me again and takes my breath away BUT I’m so glad I took those baby steps that January.

If I hadn’t of got the help I wouldn’t be here today.

The bit of advice that I would of given myself back then is to not be so hard on myself. Every little thing that went wrong felt like my fault. I felt guilty all the time. I didn’t ask to be ill and I was doing the very best that I could.

If you feel like you may be experiencing some of the things that I have mentioned, then please reach out. To a family member, friend or a health professional.

There are also a lot of amazing organisations that can support you too which you can find below:

PANDAs – offer information as well as email, telephone or Facebook group support

Association of Postnatal Illness – offer email and telephone support and a live chat facility

Samaritans – telephone and email support

Turning Point - a charity that can offer a wide variety of support

If you are local to the Wakefield area and would love a supportive class to attend where you can meet other parents and feel able to speak openly about how you are felling then please come along to one of my classes.

Above all else just remember there is help out there and even though things don’t seem like it now, things will get better in time.

Kelly xxx


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