The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety

The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety (antidepressants)

After speaking with my Dr and getting a prescription of Sertraline things got much worse before they got better. I had been warned by the Dr that these antidepressants could make me feel suicidal which they did. I was feeling broken, hopeless and guilty, but I was still trying to keep up the impression to the people closest that I was fine.

Miss J had just started pre-school, which eased my guilt slightly knowing she could have fun at least two days a week away from me. The playground made me feel super anxious as everyone already seemed to know each other. I had Mr T strapped in the baby carrier against me almost like body armour, I would keep my eyes forward and march Miss J into her nursery room and get out as quickly as I could. I now know the other mums are actually nice ladies and some have even become friends, one in particular has become a very close friend and a huge help in my ongoing recovery, but at the time I was so scared to talk to them and so worried about what they thought of me. Any conversations I did have with Miss J’s teacher and other mums over the next few months I would replay in my head  constantly, so worried that I had said something stupid.

The days at home with Mr T were strained and not what I had planned in my maternity leave fairy tale. Washing was mounting with Mr T throwing up constantly from his reflux, the husband worked every hour he could so we could afford for me to be at home and I was alone and empty. Many a times I just wanted to run away and hide or even end it, but the fact this baby boy needed my milk to sustain him kept me going. I’m all for feeding your baby, which ever way suits you and your family, but for me breastfeeding made me feel like I had some use even in the dark days.

After being on the antidepressants for a couple of weeks I forced myself to go to my local children’s centre to get Mr T weighed and to speak with a health visitor. I told the health visitor everything and broke down in tears whilst she held me. It was such a relief to tell a stranger and not feel so alone and trapped. My HV was lovely and offered me lots of support and set me up by visiting me every week at my home whilst sorting out cognitive behaviour therapy. I was so thankful to have the HV for support, especially with the antidepressants still failing to kick in and a six week wait for CBT to start.

After this I started to feel ready to come clean about my mental illness and confided in my best friend who was also on maternity leave and able to offer me support and comfort without judgement. On a girls night out after a few too many glasses of wine I came clean to the rest of my group of girlfriends who were amazingly supportive and still make the time to check in on me from time to time to see how I’m doing. Realising that I had support and that I had amazing friends around me gave me a glimmer of hope that I could come out through the other side.


1st Day of school for Miss J

So Miss J started reception today. I was expecting to be in floods of tears but I did feel a bit emotionally dead if I’m honest. This is the part I hate about anti-depressants and why I struggle to feel emotions the good and the bad. Miss J was happy as anything to run off into her classroom with her new friends, without really giving me a second look. I think maybe if she would have been a bit clingy it might have been harder. I’m trying to remind myself that I’ve raised a confident, happy and emotionally balanced (as much as any of us humans can be) 4 year old that was happy enough in herself to start a new adventure. I just wish I could go about life in the eyes of a four year old and not have fears and negative thoughts about new challenges.

Everyday when I enter my workplace I have anxiety and am constantly battling this voice in my head saying I am stupid, worthless and I am bad at my job. I know in truth that I am actually pretty good at my job and that I should probably get paid more for what I do.

One thing I am not looking forward to when my daughter gets home is washing the skid marked knickers and no doubt ruined school uniform covered in sand, mud and grass stains. But that welcome back cuddle will all be worth it.

Below is mine and Miss J’s song from her favourite film Toy Story, which I think is appropriate for today.

When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart

And when she was sad
I was there to dry her tears
And when was happy so was I
When she loved me

Through the summer and the fall
We had each other that was all
Just she and I together
Like it was meant to be

And when she was lonely
I was there to comfort her
And I knew that she loved me

So the years went by
I stayed the same
But she began to drift away
I was left alone
Still I waited for the day
When she’d say I will always love you

Lonely and forgotten
Never thought she’d look my way
And she smiled at me and held me
Just like she use to do
Like she loved me
When she loved me

When somebody loved me
Everything was beautiful
Every hour spent together
Lives within my heart
When she loved me

By Sarah McLachlan – When She Loved Me


the muddled mother

Hi my name is The Muddled Mother and I have postnatal depression

Hi, I am new to this and plan to write down my experience of postnatal depression as a way of therapy. I’m not a writer and only scraped a ‘C’ at GCSE English, so please be kind.

My name is the Muddled Mother for good reason, I am 28 years old and I have my daughter, Miss J who is 4 years and son Mr T who is 16 months. I work part-time whilst trying to keep my two kids, a husband and a cat alive. I am dealing with my postnatal depression and anxiety, but as much as I am struggling I am making progress and learning so much about myself on the way.

My postnatal depression or I guess prenatal depression started when I was pregnant, but if I’m honest, I have suffered with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. I found myself extremely isolated and trapped in my pregnancy with Mr T as I was unable to get out much because of SPD.

When Miss J came along a few years previously I had read every baby book going, had all the equipment and supplies I could possibly need. I decided my parenting type would be attachment parenting and that we would breastfeed no matter what. When Miss J arrived 8 days late after a very long labour I was in a little bubble of love with her, she was such a happy content baby and slept through from 5 weeks. Breastfeeding was tough and we had a few tears and few top ups of formula, but we made it work and got into a lovely routine. When other new mums talked about their struggles I just kept thinking how are they finding this so hard. Miss J has been always ahead with her milestones and her behaviour was angelic that I was a little worried when trying for a second that I couldn’t possibly get that lucky again.

My pregnancy with Mr T started off well with very little sickness, but by the time I got to 20 weeks I could hardly walk. Thankfully, my work offered a private medical care and I was able to see an osteopath which was my saviour. I was working three days a week and found that my two days I had off in the week were for me to sit on a sofa. Poor Miss J had to get used to the fact her mum wasn’t able to walk to the park let alone run around the park with her. Miss J was frustrated and bored and our house was overrun with clutter and mess. I felt like I was failing my role as a mother and wife and started to feel so down about it. Why couldn’t I cope when everyone else seems to be? I partly blame Facebook as we all paint our lives to be more perfect than they actually are but when you are struggling its hard to see through it.

Work was a struggle with a few trips back and forth to hospital, but somehow I managed to stay till I was 37 weeks. I did start my maternity leave a week earlier than planned which was a good thing seeming as he was born the following Monday at 37 weeks. On Saturday night after a lovely Chinese with my sister, my waters broke whilst at home on the toilet doing a number ‘2’. I quickly called my sister back who had left 10 minuets earlier and rushed to get everything all ready for the imminent arrival of my son. Off we went to the hospital to be told nothing was happening and to go home and rest. I was feeling rather anxious, so decided to stay at my sister’s house which was closer and I sent my husband off to finish watching a big fight on TV with his friends.

The next day was rather surreal as I knew the baby would be here in the next day or so but I didn’t have the panic. My mum took Miss J and I had a lovely long nap and a shower. My mum cooked me a tasty dinner and me and my husband went back to the hospital in the evening to be induced. I started off with the pessaries and told to sleep, which was in fact impossible with acid reflux and a noisy ward. Nothing happened over night so at 11am it was decided I would be put on a drip to induce my labour. My sister arrived with my husband and we waited….around an hour later I started to get cramps which progressed well. Three hours in and I asked for gas and air, which I enjoyed and I was still coping well. Five hours in the pain quickly became unbearable and I begged for an epidural which didn’t work. I was sitting on my hands fighting the urge to push as I was 6cm when I shouted out that I didn’t care and I was pushing. I was 10cm without knowing and at 18:01 in two pushes Mr T came out all blue, squished and gross. I was extremely anemic and was hooked up to an iron transfusion, but otherwise felt ok and he fed from me straight away. At 11pm that evening I was put on the ward and my husband was sent home, this is where I believe everything started to snowball.

I was put on the high dependency unit as I was unable to walk or stand without feeling very faint because of the loss of blood I had, had. At around 1 am a nurse asked if I needed any painkillers which I replied yes, so she gave me paracetamol and tramadol. The tramadol was great as it effectively helped with the pain from my SPD and I felt quiet euphoric and in love with my newborn baby. After blood tests the next day I managed to persuade them to let me leave when in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best decision. Once home, I suffered with agonising pain in my hips and was constantly feeling faint. All I could do was feed my baby, then hand him back to his dad so I made a call to the Dr’s to get tramadol prescribed and booked an emergency appointment with my osteopath. I was getting annoyed with myself that I wasn’t getting this fairy tale that I had imagined and I couldn’t even hold my baby as I was in so much pain. Miss J hated Mr T and ignored his existence and my poor husband was running around trying to pick up the pieces that I would normally have a handle on.

Tramadol was my new go to so I could relax and even when the postnatal pain had subsided, I was still taking the Tramadol as it relaxed me. I wasn’t sleeping at all, even when Tristan was asleep and was still taking horrible iron pills whilst I continued to bleed for 10 weeks postpartum.  I recognized that the Tramadol was becoming a problem and decided that I would no longer rely on it, but without it my life just felt shit. I had a massive black cloud consuming me and all I wanted to do was run away and hide and not be me anymore. The guilt I felt was overwhelming that I had, had another baby, which my daughter hated which now meant I was a shit mum to both of them and that I was failing them. Now I look back and it was obvious that I had PND and also that I wasn’t a bad mum, I was just struggling and trapped in my own self doubting head.

The lack of motivation and my mind constantly over think, every little detail and conversation I may have when I leave the house was just shit. I couldn’t get out the house but, then I felt trapped by being in the house. I wanted to go out in my car but would end up turning my car around as the anxiety had been too much. Miss J and Mr T were missing out on so much and having to live with me, someone who was depressed.

The day I realised I needed help was a lovely sunny day. I managed to get two loads of washing in and out in the garden by midday to dry, with a baby with reflux I was so thankful for some sun to dry the clothes so my house didn’t look like a dry cleaners. Later on that afternoon the lovely English weather decided to change to a full on English storm so all my hard work was wasted. I cried and screamed and felt like I just couldn’t do this crap for one more day. As I sobbed Miss J came up to me and said ‘mummy don’t cry, I love you’. This as lovely as it had been to hear just made me cry even more, but I knew I needed to change for my children and for myself so I phoned my Dr and confessed out loud for the first time that I had postnatal depression and I needed help. Five months we had lived in this postnatal depression hell and Mr T’s first five months of life have been blocked out of my memory.