PND Awareness Week – The unwanted visitor

All week we have asked bloggers to share their experiences of post natal depression with us to raise awareness of how many mums are affected and the impact it has on women and their families. Do check back each day to read all the guest blogs in our special Post Natal Depression Awareness Week.

Today’s honest and moving post comes from Annie at Mammasaurus. She writes about her experience of post natal depression and how it made her act and feel.

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PND – The Unwanted Vistor

woman sad

Image: Netmums

Post natal depression is jolly impolite. Much like an ageing Aunt that smells a little too much like pee and mothballs, it doesn’t announce it’s impending arrival, nor does it leave when you ask it to. Of course it’s far more than impolite, it’s debilitating, life-changing, all-consuming and generally crap. It’s something you are informed of when pregnant but can never be prepared for and it can happen at any time. For me it introduced itself 5 months after the birth of my eighth child.  Yup, that’s right, when I say ‘it can come at any time’ it really can come at any time – even after several  pnd-free births.

I can remember the afternoon clearly, I can almost smell the casserole cooking, I open the oven door, lean in to check that it’s not crisping up on top, I close the oven door, walk out of the front door and I’m gone.

Several hours later I hear the whirr of a Police helicopter and a car pulls up beside me. A female officer gets out of the car and holds up a photograph, her eyes flicking between it and me.

“Annie?”

Why I walked out of my home, in the rain, with no coat, no money, no mobile phone and into the New Forest I did not know. In hindsight it was the beginning, the onset of rather extreme post-natal depression, at the time though, I didn’t know what was happening to me – all I knew was that I was scared.

The next month saw me go from scared, to convinced that my baby had been swapped at birth to ringing the doctor to tell her that I wanted to smother my child. I cut off my hair, with blunt kitchen scissors and left my family and started medication prescribed to me.

Three weeks later and the medication had made me feel worse, I despaired –medication wasn’t helping me, I just wanted everything to be over. And so I had made a plan – a self-help plan, a list of things that might help, the theory being that I should try everything I could, no matter how ‘silly’ I seemed to me (sleep hygiene is one of those things I deemed daft at the time) . Things like ‘take up swimming, put my child in nursery, start writing my feelings down’. I moved back home and actioned everything on my list. Within a fortnight I was completely back to ‘normal’ and felt empowered as a result.

Whilst my experience is was terrifying, brief and extreme it really does help illustrate just how vast and differing pnd can be from person to person. For me the most frightening thing was the knowing that how I felt was really very wrong but yet not being able to change how I felt.

Unless you are unlucky enough to have suffered from PND it’s hard to understand and know how to deal with a sufferer. For example, the well-intentioned…

‘But you have beautiful children and a loving husband who need you’

…did nothing to help me whilst I was suffering. I knew that already and pointing it out to me only piled on unnecessary feelings of guilt.  And how the guilt piles up! The guilt I felt was mainly three key things:

  1. How can my husband still love me now?
  2. My son is going to grow up with such issues, and it’ll all be my fault.
  3. Everyone thinks I am a terrible mother. I AM a terrible mother.

Three and a half years on and my son is about to turn four. He’s a happy child, we have a close and loving relationship and I find myself more able to talk about my experience but that guilt still lurks but now it’s diluted with relief that it’s over and everyone is OK.

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Find out more about the new Mums Maternal Mental Health report and newborn and mumfunded by the Boots Family Trust with Tommy’s, Netmums, Royal College of Midwives and the Institute of Health Visiting.

You can find out more about and download a Well Being Plan here.

Read the most common myths and facts about PND.

Find out more about PND and depression in pregnancy here – with loads of support and advice as well as where to find help and support locally.

All next week we will be featuring guest blogs from mums who share their own experiences of post natal depression and how it affected their lives. We hope you will pop by each day next week to read our guest blogs.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in bloggers, campaign, depression, motherhood, post natal depression, POst Natal Depression Awareness Week and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to PND Awareness Week – The unwanted visitor

  1. Nikki says:

    A brave and honest post. Whilst my experience of PND was different to yours – we all travel a different path – your writing bought those unmistakable tears of recognition to my eyes x

  2. KentMum says:

    Oh goodness, how moving. I nearly walked out many times, I am glad I didn’t but I can SO understand how and why you did. My son is more than twice the age of yours now, and I often look at him and wonder if he knows how near I came to it. Thanks for sharing your story x

  3. To be able to help yourself like that is awesome – I think more than most would struggle to find it within themselves to write stuff down and haul themselves out and perhaps your previous experiences of being a mother helped you know, deep down, that things weren’t normal, whereas first time mothers would be have a different fight on their hands. You’re an amazing lady, Annie – always brave and an inspiration, encouraging others to speak up. You change the world of many xxx

  4. Carolin says:

    Thanks for sharing such an honest and brave post, Annie. You’re such an inspirational woman and I’m sure that this post will help a lot of women out there who are struggling in silence x

  5. Mummy Barrow says:

    You are such an amazing woman Annie. You are stronger than you ever give yourself credit for.

    I have never suffered from PND so I cannot begin to imagine those despairing thoughts. However I know many women who have and many who will read your post and take strength from knowing they are not alone, that they can and should talk about it, and can come out the otherside with not only their own health, but a healthy child too.

    I am truly honoured to call you a friend.

  6. Sarah says:

    So so moving my experience was very different I just felt that my beautiful daughter didn’t love me and that I couldn’t look after her properly I was constantly checking her 24 7 it took over my life so much so that when she was 11 weeks old her father said he no longer wanted us 8 weeks on I’m getting counselling and starting to feel better

  7. Mine was less extreme, but much longer lasting, and I totally get the feelings of guilt and worry that you are failing your child. I don’t think an evening goes by without my chastising myself for something I should have done better or differently, and of course, in my mind if anything goes wrong for my child, it’s bound to be my fault. So hard, and just has to be talked about x

  8. Pinkoddy says:

    What a terribly difficult, honest and heartfelt post that is. You are not a terrible mother and, I hope you now feel and understand that you are a good mother and it was just the unwanted visitor at work.

  9. Louise Lloyd says:

    Such a honest post Annie, A very good friend of mine has been battling PND for 2 years now since the birth of her second child, and it is so hard to watch and not be able to make things better for her. She like you, knew all her feelings were wrong but found it hard to voice them. You are an amazing lady XXx

  10. You should be so proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished, Annie. I’m so glad it all worked out for you.

  11. Katy Hill says:

    Wow Annie. What an honest post. I know I was very close to PND after my second – I possibly had it but was never diagnosed, and felt totally overwhelmed by life. I love that you empowered yourself. That’s SO impressive. Hugs to you and your gorgeous kids x

  12. siobhan from Netmums says:

    Thanks for writing this Annie. This bit is so true: “Unless you are unlucky enough to have suffered from PND it’s hard to understand”. My pnd was longer and more protracted although less intense. By sharing our stories and taking pnd out of the shadows we make it easier for sufferers AND their family and friends who do find it so hard to understand. (and 8 kids – wow!) xx

  13. liska says:

    Fabulous post. PND gets so many. I honestly never saw it coming. We do so need more awareness and support x

  14. Big hugs Annie! What an amazing post and it is fantastic that you are able to share the story, I KNOW you will be helping a lot of people out there fighting this awful thing on their own.

  15. Such an incredibly honest, inspirational post Annie. You’re stronger than you know x

  16. Wow. Razor sharp and numbing all at once. Rather like PND. Intensely pleased for you that you’ve found a way out of that wilderness. I understand. I didn’t cut off all my hair but I used to count the reasons why I should drive off every bend in the road, almost a mantra repeated on every drive. There was usually only one reason.

  17. Cl6012 says:

    I walked out today. Sat in the rain for 2 hours and realised I had nowhere to go. I came back and have been in bed ever since. I don’. Know what to do.

  18. Hi Cl6012 so sorry to hear that, we’re going to send you an email to see if one of our experts can offer you some support. x

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