Have you ever found it hard to understand why someone is not high on life after having a new baby? Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture so I can fully understand – we all must have our hairy moments and days that we just have to grin and bear it. What about if it goes even deeper than that though? It can be easy to make judgement about things that we don’t understand. Thanks to those who were brave enough to be so straight talking about this frighteningly common condition, allowing me to write this on their behalf.
Never give up
I am so tired. I wish the baby would just stop crying. This is so hard. I thought that this was meant to be the happiest time of my life. I want to run away. When people come over I act like normal. I pick the baby up when she cries just like they would expect me to. I don’t tell them about the times I close the door and leave her alone so I can get a minute to think. I lied at that questionnaire too, the one the health visitors make you do. I told her I am fine. I will just get on with it.
My husband is being paranoid. He keeps asking me what is wrong. I keep telling myself I am fine. I am allowed to get stressed, we have just had another baby and I am beyond exhausted. Life is mental at the moment. I wish he would just leave me to it. He says I am not right. He says he will never give up so I have agreed to go to the Doctors with him next week.
The Doctor said I have postnatal depression. I think she is just saying that to cover her own back. I am fine, I will be fine. I wish they would just leave me alone.
What did I do to deserve this? I love my kids so much yet I am living in hell. It feels like my soul has been ripped out of me. It’s not a case of being shattered and finding it hard to get out of bed. Getting out of bed seems impossible, it fills me with dread. I do it because I have to. I have kids to feed and look after. I am not present though, I am merely getting through. Before I know it my husband is back home and it feels like 9 hours were 9 minutes. I can’t tell anyone – they won’t believe me. They will question how I can laugh in social situations which I now avoid like the plague. I will stay at home. It is hell but it is safer here. I have to laugh to put on a front when I am with people – I am in over compensation mode. I am too ashamed to admit how I really feel. I have an amazing family that love me, what have I got to feel so awful about?
I feel like the worlds worst Mum – other people make it look so easy. I feel useless, I am ashamed that I thought I could do this all again. I am drowning. I can’t even stand the kids touching me. It breaks my heart as I love them so much but I need to escape. I need to be away from them all. I am not coping and they would be so much happier without me. I am going to end this once and for all.
Something stopped me. I couldn’t do it. My poor children. No this is not right. My husband says he will never give up, he keeps trying to help me. I am going to do all I can to make them all hate me. It will be easier for them that way – they will hate me so much that I can leave. It will be a relief for them. They won’t have to look after me anymore. They will be happier without me.
It turns out I was wrong. It turns out that no matter what I do they will love me unconditionally. They want me to get better. Maybe it is worth the fight. I can’t believe how strong my husband is. I believe him when he says he will never give up on me and believe me I making it very easy for him to. I watch him with the kids. He amazes me.
I have tried so many pills. Some were driving me crazy but these ones are not that bad. I feel calm now and I feel so lucky to still be here. I want to make it up to my family for all that I missed when I was at my worst. I am so glad I am still here to start enjoying them again. To start trying to enjoy life again. Nothing is more important than a life. I know that now. I know how valuable my life is and I know my family need me. I am still struggling but I am getting the help I need. It breaks my heart for those who didn’t. It breaks my heart for all those we have lost. It is so unfair. My friend was on a waiting list to be seen. In the meantime she was prescribed medication that said ‘may cause suicidal thoughts’ AND WAS SENT HOME. How is this allowed to happen? There is support out there but at the same time there have been far too many cuts to the funding for mental health. Too many people are dying. Too many people are afraid to talk. I want people like me to know that there is hope. There is hope even when you feel completely desperate. Never give up.
This diary was based on anonymous interviews with people who have suffered postnatal depression. Currently it is estimated that a minimum of 1 in 10 Mum’s will experience this. There are different levels and not everyone will feel suicidal. Symptoms include:
- Lacking energy
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling low
- Feelings of guilt
- Finding it difficult to cope
- Lack of appetite
- The desire to avoid social situations
- Feeling hopeless
- Having thoughts about harming your baby
- Feeling suicidal
If you are feeling like you have mild to moderate symptoms I urge you to talk to someone. Talk to your friends and family or find a local support group. Talk to your health visitor or GP.
If you are worried about your partner or friend who seems to have changed since a new baby – please do not judge them. Stick by them and make sure they are ok. Ask them how you can help. If you feel like they are trying to push you away don’t take it personally or blame yourself.
People need to feel supported. People need to know that sharing experiences helps and bottling up your feelings does not. People like you and me need to know that we are not alone.
Let’s work together to make experiences of postnatal depression a positive force for change in society that will help others know that no one is a stranger when fighting this illness. Never give up.