the fam

the fam

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Life Is A Rollercoaster...living with PND and absolutely nothing to do with Ronan Keating.

I thought it was about time I broke the silence...I realised I hadn't posted for a while but there are reasons behind this.
1. as usual I don't seem to have enough time to fit in all the 'normal' stuff let alone any of the more enjoyable stuff like blogging!
2. I haven't been in a very good place. I don't mean literally like Prestatyn (I apologise to anyone who's from Prestatyn but last time I went it was dreadful) I mean unfortunately what's going on in my head. More of that later...
Prestatyn earlier.


So this last few weeks have been full of ups and downs. We are stupidly busy at work which is obviously a good thing but can be very stressful. With constant deadlines and orders to complete whilst juggling childcare the endless school events and trying to run a home - it's exhausting.

My family are fabulous. The boys are a complete joy...ok the teething is a 'mare and the 5 hours sleep every night are tough but one look at those big brown eyes and all is forgiven. However I have been fighting my own battle since Charlie was born...Post Natal Depression.
3 days after giving birth I was ready for home!
Looking back I now know I had it pretty badly after Alfie was born but it was never diagnosed. Mainly because I didn't speak to anyone - I thought that must how things were after having a baby for the first time and I should just pull myself together. The fact that I cried every day for the first 6 weeks and didn't leave the house would have been a BIG clue but I soldiered on. I do think other factors played a role in this dreadful period not just the hormones. I had a major op to have Alfie and it really knocked me for six. The recovery was long slow and very painful.  
'Classical' C-section stitches
Alfie almost starved in hospital (he was dangerously close to being blue-lighted back to hospital once we had our 1st midwife visit at home) I blamed myself for this - I couldn't even give him my milk...I felt a complete failure. Turns out because of the trauma my body had been through the milk just wasn't there and the nurses who had forced me to breast feed (and yes I do mean 'forced') on the maternity ward had insisted he was getting plenty. I will never forgive them for that. As a new mum I felt totally lost and the people who were supposed to know what to do had only made matters worse. 
Week old baby Alfie in 2007
It was my wonderful family that got me through. One midwife who had reduced me to tears  was escorted off the premises by my mum and I thanked her for that. Steve couldn't bear to see me suffering so we switched to formula and Alfie thrived. 
Thank God for formula

It makes me furious even now that breast-feeding is so forcefully thrust onto new mothers and that you may as well be giving your baby poison if you even consider bottle-feeding! That's how strongly I feel. I'm not an idiot. I know that a mother's milk is the most natural wonderful source for newborns and I would have loved to have been able to feed my boys but if there is NO milk to give (or even if a mother doesn't feel comfortable) there should still be the support. Not in my case and I know plenty of others who have faced similar circumstances. You choose to bottle feed...you're on your own.

5 hours after giving birth I finally met my 2nd son

Thankfully when it came to Charlie I was much stronger in my mind about MY choices for MY baby and although I still tried to feed him naturally once I'd come round from the anaesthetic the same thing happened. There was no milk to give and I insisted that they fetch me a bottle. One nurse still treated me differently after this decision but I couldn't care less. One of the midwives on my ward was my saviour and I remember her coming to see me saying "well, after what you've been through I'm surprised you even tried" - I could have kissed her! She was super supportive to every mum on that ward regardless of their choices and initially it helped me. However once we settled back into home-life I began to struggle. 

At home with baby Charlie last June
I visited my doctor as I thought I just had low iron levels again...I was utterly exhausted. He suspected PND and this time I was actually quite surprised. Yes, there had been tears and yes, there had been some very unhelpful medical professionals yet again (almost a year on from giving birth and I still haven't had a check up even though my stitches were agony and the massive fibroid remains) but I actually felt fine in myself. Within weeks of speaking to my doctor I hit rock bottom - I wanted to leave. It all felt perfectly normal that I should just walk away. Not because I didn't love my family (I adore my family!) but because I was adamant they would be much better off without me. 

My beautiful boys
Steve is my rock
My parents are amazing
There have been some extremely dark days but with my family's help and a couple of brilliant friends to listen to me rambling on and letting me cry on them I'm getting there. I have been back to see my doctor and I'm getting the help I so desperately needed. Even writing this down makes me feel very emotional and there are plenty of days when I still feel like a total failure at everything but it is getting better and I know one day I will truly conquer this demon.

I'm hoping that if anyone else reading this is suffering with post natal depression please don't feel ashamed. I wasn't sure if I should write this post but I know I can't help what is going on in my head and neither can you. Please go and talk to someone,
 a doctor, friend, anyone - don't suffer in silence.

I recently read a truly horrifying blog post about a mum with PND who had literally thrown herself from a multi-story car park. She lived but has to live with what she did every single day and it's heart-breaking. This post still has me in tears and I am so happy that Sian sought help and is now doing amazing work in Niger helping families in dire need of food and water.

This was an extreme case but if left undiagnosed PPND is a possibility. Please don't let it get that far. All mum's are amazing and should you need support then take it. You owe it to yourself for being brilliant and bringing new life into the world.

You can read the full 'Baby Sunroof' story here

19 comments:

  1. Ahh Sweetie, you are a Brave star for sharing this, you know your loved don't you ? Whenever you need someone to talk to, just ask XX

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  2. you are amazing... people like you who are brave enough to speak from the heart help so so many others facing issues such as yours....well done lovely lady for being as lovely and wonderful as you are xxxx
    hugs from lovely olive :)

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  3. Thank you so much Helen. It's been a very tough year. I thank my lucky stars for my fabulous family and friends - It really does help having people just to listen xxx

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  4. oh Tracy! Thanks for being so kind...means such a lot xxxx

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  5. Hang in there. Speaking out does help.
    Can I ask, is that your scar in the pic?

    Thank you for your kind words about my story. I'm following you now so feel free to shout whenever. x

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  6. An insightful read-I don't have children but have struggled with my own battles in the past,esp since my mum passed away - No shame what so ever in seeking help and/or medication if needed. It's there for a reason, I just hope your days are getting brighter x

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  7. Tears in my eyes reading this. Our littley struggled to BF as she was so sleepy all the time. We toughed it out for 6 weeks but she was failing to thrive so in the end I started to express milk and supplement with formula as I couldn't produce enough milk. At least then I could prove to the medical professionals precisely how much milk she had been actually drinking. My c-section was nowhere near as traumatic as yours but the stitches took 2 months to start to heal as a result of a derivative of MRSA. Because of the breastfeeding 'push' I wasn't confident enough to tell the professionals early on that baby should be on formula or even combination-fed. It's only now when I look back at her early photos that I realise how terribly scrawny she looks - and for that I am struggling to forgive myself for not giving her a better start. Because baby was obviously starving hungry she did scream a lot in the first few weeks which was obviously down to hunger but I thought it was because I wasn't cut out to be a mummy and she'd be better off without me. Luckily this feeling only lasted a few days so I can only begin to think how difficult it must be for women to struggle with PND for any longer. X

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  8. I'm glad you finally wrote it you are an amazing person and mummy, and im always here if you need to chat. Im at risk of PND when i have babies due to suffering with normal depression anyway (and its hormone related) but it needs talking about and not as elephant in the room as people think it is xxx

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  9. Huge hugs - you had me welling up at 9.30 on a Sunday morning - just wish I was closer. I too couldn't breast feed my 2 lasted 10 days with Sophie and spent my 30th birthday in floods of tears feeling a failure and only 7 days with Sam - it just wasn't meant to be. I can only send love and hugs in abundance and just offer you hope and reassurance that you will get through this and by talking openly about it, you will be helping others along the way xxxx

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  10. I am so overwhelmed by the support I have had on here and on Twitter. It is so shocking though that so many people are having to struggle on with all types of depression and put on a brave face to the outside world. It's difficult to explain how you feel to someone who has never faced this as you appear 'normal' to everyone else. I hope all those who have been through similar either got the support they needed or are recovering from their dreadful time. I still find it so upsetting that new mum's aren't given the support they need when it comes to feeding your baby. Being forced into breast feeding because you're 'supposed' to and constantly being told 'breast is best' (we ALL know this and don't need it repeated over and over) makes so many new mums feel complete failures when they can't. Most important is that babies are fed. Full stop. Not being given support because you choose to bottle feed is scandalous. Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life but for so many it is terrifying, confusing and miserable.

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  11. You brave Lady. I also felt an awful amount of pressure to breast feed and Noah was very ill from it. That is enough to tip someone over the edge.

    You have written about this beautifully and you know where I am if you ever need to talk xxx

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  12. I have never experienced the PND but have the low moment of exhaustion with a newborn so can only imagine it's that 10 fold. Your post is so open and beautifully put you sound like a fabulous mum and your boys are lucky to have you.

    Safia xx

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  13. Love you lots KipperChops..your never alone,,you are loved by many and we are always here for you xxxx

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  14. Well done lovely KipperChops. Beautifully written and glad that you shared your feelings and experiences x We are always here for you xx

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  15. What a fantastically brave lady you are, I had huge problems breastfeeding my wee boy in the beginning and know only too well what you mean by being 'forced' by the midwives. Its such a shame you didn't get the help you needed first time round but I'm so glad you are managing to cope with your pnd and are strong enough to share your story here.

    Emma

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  16. Fantastic post Heidi, I think you are inspirational and truly more amazing than you give yourself credit for. I know how you feel about the forced ideal - it makes you feel so alone when you need help most of all. I think you are very brave for speaking out about this, I was terrified it might happen to me but I have been fortunate this time. I think PND is a very underrated illness and your post addresses this perfectly. Love you millions xxxx

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  17. Thank you all so much for your support on this issue. I'm happy to report that I have sort help and I feel that I am now on the road to recovery.
    All of your comments have made me feel less alone and I can't thank you enough xxx

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  18. Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up!personalised gifts

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I have had days when I've thought maybe I should abandon the blog as I'm not sure of the content and doubt myself constantly. Thanks for making me feel it is worthwhile!
      Heidi xx

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