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.