Guest Post by “N.I. Mum”

“N.I. Mum” with PND & me…

“In June 2003 my husband and I were blessed with a gorgeous little girl, K, born at 37 weeks due to me having pre-eclampsia, a traumatic birth resulting in her arriving head, shoulders, knees and toes and me heading to theatre for internal and external stitches. I loved her from the         minute I held her, she was my world.

I had six amazing months at home with her and it broke my heart when I had to return to work. For those six months I was a great mum, a happy mum who cuddled her baby no end, who was amazing at breast-feeding, who could cope so well with crying, teething anything life threw at her… Until the door closed and I was alone. My husband wanted very little to do with our daughter and chose to work every night ‘til late. In October 2003, after bursts of me crying, sleeplessness (not because of the baby but my own stress and fear), confusion and anger, I finally plucked up the courage to talk to my health visitor who told me it sounded like PND and I saw the Dr and received meds and started to feel better. In October 2004 my daughters dad, the man I was with for eight years suddenly said he’d had enough and left….. Cue new start for me and my daughter.

Fast forward to October 2008 I’m remarried to a wonderful, caring man and pregnant with our daughter. Now this pregnancy was awful I was ill, seriously ill with diabetes, I spent most of the pregnancy in hospital for pre-eclampsia and lay from 29 to 34 weeks in hospital until E was born by emergency section nearly 6 weeks early. I nearly died during the c section and my baby was in SCBU for a day or so. We came home and my hubby supported me, as did my parents, and for three weeks things were great then….. Bam!

It was bad, so bad, I cry now when I think about what I put my husband through during this time, I shouted, I cried, I pushed him away, I even walked out on him…. On the outside , even to my parents, to this day who know very little of my struggles,  I was great but at home my life was falling apart. I made numerous appointments and cancelled them, I was ashamed, I was scared, I thought they would take my children away.

I became an over protective mum and gasped in horror if anyone lifted my child, I watched my hubby hold her and criticised his ways constantly, I never left my child with anyone (still don’t leave either of my girls unless it’s with my mum or my hubby). I read that some mums with PND can’t bond with their child I was the opposite, I smothered mine –  no one could look after her the way I could. Yet inside I was convinced I was a bad mother, I shouldn’t be a mother, that I would be better off dead.

In my house I hold a lots of drugs, injections for diabetes, epilepsy drugs for my hubby, pain killers for a slipped disc etc, one night at 2am on the 29 June 2009,(I remember it all vividly)  nearly nine months after giving birth, I stood in my kitchen and lined up all the medicines and prepared to take each one to end it all, I had it timed that by the time anyone woke up I would be gone. I prayed. I prayed for my children, my parents, my husband, I asked for forgiveness for what I was going to do, and I started taking tablets…. at 2.06am E woke and cried then K woke crying (very unusual )! I was startled and quickly threw everything into a drawer and saw to my girls, I never said anything to anyone. The next morning my husband said I’ve made and appointment with the Dr we are both going.

At my appointment I cried, I sobbed and I admitted, and for me admitting I needed help and showing my vulnerability was so hard. I got meds and was referred to a psychiatrist in the trust local mental health team.

I met with the psychiatrist on four occasions over the period of three months and had a CPN (community psychiatric nurse ) visit me once a week. I found it really helpful to talk with “strangers” and was able to open up with them, personally I was mortified that I needed a mental health team to support me and honestly I felt ten times worse after the first session. But once the anti depressants kicked in along with talking to the team I did start to feel better, it wasn’t immediate but I could see improvement slowly.

My amazing hubby supported me right through at every stage, he held me when I cried and was terrified and he drove me to appointments when I felt I couldn’t go. Having him as an amazing support was crucial in my healing. I didn’t realise at the time but was such a nasty person to him and knowing that he stuck by me through everything makes me realise how blessed I am.

Nearly 8 years down the line and am I ‘Normal’? No most definitely not. I still struggle daily but not to the same extent now they are basic struggles like frustration at my tweenager having a messy room or an attitude, or my youngest playing the same song over and over again. I am so thankful for these simple struggles that remind me daily how far I have come. Sometimes when things get really rough like, family seriously ill or financial stress, I can feel my life sliding again and simply stop and breath and talk to someone. Breathing calmly, writing my fears down and talking helps me now to overcome the anxiety and helps me grasp a hold of my life again. I haven’t had any medication for over five years now, of which I am proud of myself.

To anyone suffering, I urge you to talk to someone and if help is offered please accept it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking tablets or talking to a professional. You have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to fear. The biggest step is admitting xx “