PND Week: Being me and being Sarah Chilton

Today’s guest blog is from mum and author Ruth Briddon, who writes about her own experience of postnatal depression and how it led her to put pen to paper and write a novel on the theme too.

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Let me set the scene! 31 year old woman and husband decide that they would like children Ruth Briddonbut decide to have one more plush holiday and extend their house. Two years later they make the biggest decision of their life to stop using contraception and try for a baby. Imagine their shock when, six weeks later, they discover that in nine months they will be parents!  That was me eleven years ago and little did I know that I had the biggest shock of my life to come and it didn’t involve just having a baby.

I felt I was mentally prepared as well as physically.  I wanted a baby so why would I be depressed after it? The nursery was ready, finances sorted, extension finished, what more could I do, except count down the days until I met my son or daughter?

The birthing programmes I watched lulled me in to believing that all would be well and that labour would be relatively straightforward and short.

Forty eight hours, yes that’s forty eight hours, after being induced, I gave birth via emergency c-section. It all spiralled out of control from there. I was in shock, seriously sleep deprived, in pain and had lost a lot of blood. I didn’t sign up for this! My health visitor, GP or midwife didn’t pick anything up, so I just carried on with my thoughts of “Oh my god what have I done? I don’t want this baby, I’ve made such a huge mistake and want my life to return to how it was”. I don’t have any problem writing this now because I’m far from ashamed at having those feelings. I was ill and suffering from shock.

With sleep and a lot of rest, I started to feel like my old self again and took each day at a time; however, I had a bomb shell delivered in the form of my husband announcing that he had been having an affair for well over a year and was leaving me. My little baby was only five months old.

Life, as you can imagine, was slightly stressful, so I kept a diary to mainly process the endless thoughts that were constantly building up in my head. It was a really cathartic excercise as it helped me to relax, slow down, process what I had written and decide if I was over reacting. Anyway, long story short, I started to write about a character called Sarah.  Her experiences were similar to mine but I have a fab imagination and let it run wild, as did she with internet dating and she met the seven dwarfs!

‘Being Sarah Chilton (a guide for all mums when the sh*t hits the fan)’ is a Being Sarah Chilton - Ruth Briddonbrilliant read for all mums, irrespective of their experiences.  If you want reassurance that you’re not a bad mum and that other people think the same as you sometimes, then read my book!

My passion is helping mums and dads who are suffering with Postnatal Depression. Yes, dads get it too. 1 in 10 mums and 1 in 25 dads will have this illness. Please remember that it’s an illness and is nothing to be ashamed of. It can take up to two years to present itself but you do not need to suffer in silence. Please tell your GP, midwife or health visitor if you know things aren’t right. Seek some counselling and definitely join the forums on Netmums because you will find a lot of mums in your position and it’s a fantastic support network.

Being a parent, especially for the first time, should be likened to starting a new career.  Would you expect to start a new job on day one and know exactly what to do? Would your new employer expect you to as well? Absolutely not, so why do we think that because we are parents we should automatically switch to ‘super parent’ mode?

My website www.postnatalsupport.com has some useful tips for you and a ‘Your Plan B’ pack for you to download if you want help on preparing for your new career.  Please email me through my website as I am offering a special discount to Netmums members of £10.

Finally, I love being a mum; it gives me a great sense of belonging and purpose. It can be very challenging at times, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges!

Best wishes

Ruth x

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Find out more about the new Mums Maternal Mental Health report published today 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 support for PND over on Netmums

All next week we have been featuring guest blogs from mums who share their own experiences of post natal depression and how it affected their lives. Do read the posts and please do leave a comment.

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 Authors, Babies, Books and reading, post natal depression, POst Natal Depression Awareness Week and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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