“This time 19 years ago I was patiently awaiting my baby to arrive. When he did, on Dec 29th, me, as I knew myself was lost forever.
My son arrived a week early, – a hard birth with complications. I was so unwell after the birth. Two weeks later, still feeling unwell, I got out of bed and instantly felt different. Stomach cramps, dread, anxiety, dread, overwhelmed, sad. All these emotions hit me like a ton of bricks.
I went straight over to my mother, shaking and crying and told her I couldn’t cope with these feelings. I stayed the night and felt worse. Got butterflies and dread when my son cried. Couldn’t attend to his needs. My mother stepped in. A week later I went to the doctor. I sat in the waiting room and looked at a toddler walking around, playing with toys. I thought to myself, I will never get to see my baby grow to be a toddler. Never.
The doctor dismissed my symptoms as “baby blues” and sent me home. I stayed in my mothers for 8 weeks, wouldn’t go home to my husband. I needed my mother. Couldn’t cope with a baby as well as the physical and mental problems I was having. I went back to work after 11 weeks. My mother and husband looked after my son. I dreaded coming home from work to be with him. I was anxious, nervous and unhappy around him. This continued daily for 18 months. Felt like an eternity.
One evening I was driving home from my mothers, he was crying in the back of the car. I got out of the car and took him out of his seat. Put him on the ground under a tree and was going to leave him there. Why didn’t I? What would I tell my husband and my mother? How could I explain where he was? Would I say he was kidnapped? I decided I’d never be able to cover my tracks so I brought him home.
Over the next year, I began to feel slightly better. Then my mother died. How could life be so cruel? How would I cope? I did cope. I plodded along. When my son was 5 years old, I found out I was pregnant again. I worried constantly about PND throughout the pregnancy.
What if the butterflies came back. The anxiety? The inability to bond and to cope? After another difficult birth, my daughter arrived 4 weeks early. 6 weeks later – Bam! The feelings came again. I confided in my neighbour who convinced me to see the doctor and demand a few weeks of anti depressants. They seemed to work. After 6 weeks I came off them. My children are 19 and 12 now. I’ve gotten over the worst. But I suffer with anxiety and panic attacks from time to time.
Presently I am attended a counsellor who thinks untreated PND is the cause of my anxiety, irritability and anger. I have to agree. My next step is medication – for the last 2 months I’m suffering with shortness of breath. Nothing physically wrong. They think it’s anxiety. I can’t believe I’m writing this. It’s not something I ever disclose. I feel like I’d be judged or people would think I’m a bad mother. My children are mannerly, clever, intelligent children and I’m proud of them and love them and proud of myself for getting this far. But my journey isn’t over yet.
Please share my story but keep me anonymous. I want to let people know they are not alone.”