My journey started in 2005 when we had our first wee man, a traumatic premature birth thankfully just 4 weeks early and our wee man didn’t need any treatment just quite shocked as the cord was around his neck twice and a forceps birth. I remember day 5 and I just couldn’t stop crying (baby blues) they all said. I went on a night out when my wee man was 4 weeks old still trying to breast feed but it was horrendous. I felt so guilty, I didn’t want to give up but I was so drained and felt like I needed my old life back and pressure from my mum to give him formula every feed I blamed myself.
He then had a stay in hospital for dehydration from reflux diagnosis, I used to scream and shout and suffered horrible thoughts I refused to believe I had a mental illness or Postnatal Depression. Following events of family break-ups, moving house twice and my hubby away at uni doing his masters didn’t help. I locked myself away from the world I wouldn’t even get washed or dressed. We had our son in crèche to give me time alone but all it did was make me worse, I lost weight became obsessed with food and saying I was fat when I really was 7 and half stone. My mum took me to the GP who diagnosed me with Postnatal Depression but I refused treatment as I was so frightened of the side effects (as a nurse I read everything and became obsessed). He recommended that I see a psychologist and that maybe my work could get me seen quicker and so I spoke to my boss and she too had her concerns about me and mainly my lack of eating! Following a psychologists assessment she diagnosed me with an eating disorder secondary to Postnatal Depression. I was so shocked at this that I changed my lifestyle, my view on life and my son. who I felt so detached from after obsessing with food and guilt from failing breast-feeding only managing a few months! At times I would lash out and feel guilty – this went on for months! After our wee man turned 4 we decided we would try for another baby and I was so freighted that I would become ill again I researched the statistics, talked through with my GP, and I was open-minded.
My second pregnancy was grand birth was calmer and we had an amazing breast-feeding journey for 10 months, I loved my wee man and his big brother was amazing! So I thought yes I escaped that horrible PND. I then became very broody again and I fell pregnant really quickly in 2012. I also started my midwifery course but differed for a year while we had our 3rd son! Bang! Antenatal Depression. I noticed signs of stress, anxiety thoughts, horrible thoughts, but I put them to the back of my mind – I kept myself busy. Then we had the scare of another pre term birth which saw me in hospital again. Birth was calm (quick) but went well! Breast feeding issues were starting again, I felt stuck to my sofa my other kids neglected, I shouted, I screamed I was anxious and sleep deprived.
My neighbour noticed I wasn’t right and asked me to get help. I said I can do this and I kept putting it off! When my wee man was 4 months my granny had a massive stroke and my kids saw this. I had to carry out CPR. My hubby worked away from home now, I felt this so hard and I suffered mastitis 4 times I had to give up the breast-feeding. This too killed me but felt relief that I could spend better time with my boys, rather than being sick with mastitis. Anyhow I took on my midwifery which went well, although missed my wee man – he was 7 months when I started I missed him! I was stressed anxious so irritable at times I felt awful!
Anyhow as the course became more intense, and my wee man was 1, I had started having no sleep, obsessive thoughts and not eating. I lost loads of weight, I pushed friends away. I knew I needed help and rang my GP. I went by myself and had support from friends and family I started medications. They were not nice at all at the start, but I needed them and I became stronger. I loved my boys more and more I became happier and laid back! I finished my degree with first class honours, my work was never effected and I got a job straight away.
It has been was over a year from I started my meds and it’s the best decision I ever made. I am still on my journey and I can sympathise with women in my work and I understand what they may be feeling and experiencing! Stay strong, talk out and love your self xx
"Sarah" is not this guest's real name. But thank you for sharing your story and speaking out to help other women. You are brilliant!