The Stories below show the emotional roller-coaster ride, which some mothers go through after giving birth. With help and early intervention all these mums have recovered, regained their confidence and have gone on to enjoy motherhood.
The days after the birth were a disaster, visitors calling, telephone ringing and neighbours popping in to welcome the new arrival. Friends were so good at offering to help, but I was too proud to let anyone help me. I was now a mother and responsible for another life. I told myself I should be able to cope, however I still worried, rushed around cleaning, washing and fretting over my baby. With the result that as the days went by instead of feeling better, I was feeling worse. I could not rest even when my baby was sleeping, nor could I relax as my mind could not rest. I was scared, not sleeping and felt alone but most of all I felt a failure. I could not wait for Jim to get home from work but when he did, I often snapped his head off and got worked up over the slightest thing. What was happening to me? Was I going mad? I was afraid to ask if all mothers go through this panic.
I was the mother of a beautiful baby girl, had a normal delivery and everything went well. It was my first baby and the first grandchild, so as soon as she was born I had a lot of visitors.
I should have felt wonderful but instead on the third day I felt miserable, tearful, upset and unable to sleep. My baby was jaundiced and not feeding properly. Everybody was telling me what to do but I feel useless, unable to cope and had no appetite. I felt disappointed in myself and did not want my family and friends to know what a failure I thought I was. I needed someone to talk to for advice and help, but I did not have the courage to ask.
I got pregnant and I was not ready. Nine months later, following a very hard birth, my baby arrived and I did not know what to do. I felt totally miserable, but I did not want anybody to know. After coming home I fell into a routine. The baby was fed and clean, but somewhere in this I was lost. I wanted somebody to tell me what was wrong with me but at the same time how could I tell anybody that I couldn\'t cope. Why did I not want this baby? I continued to feel this way for months. My partner knew that something was wrong, but didn\'t know what to do and so I felt totally alone.
We waited a long time for our baby so she was very precious to us. I could not wait for them to come home so that we could be one big happy family. For a while after the birth my wife was in great form though very tired. Parents and friends were a great help and everything seemed to be great.
As time passed things seemed to change. The baby was not sleeping well and keeping us up all night. This wore us down. My wife gradually became very down in herself and got upset over very silly things. Before the birth she was full of life and always laughing. I did not know what was happening. I dreaded coming home every evening to find her sitting at the table crying.
I tried to take time off work to help but as I was self-employed I did not get paid if I did not work. It was becoming difficult to cope, trying to make ends meet and worrying about my wife and new baby. I wondered what was happening to us. It was not something men talked about with their pals. I did not know who or where to turn for help. How could I get my wife to accept help when she would not even talk to me.
My second son was born nearly nine years after my first son. During this
time, I had met my now husband and we had bought a house and, of course,
the next step for us was to have a baby so, when I fell pregnant, we were
thrilled. The pregnancy went well. Then my son decided to arrive 18 days
early and that’s when everything started to go wrong for me.
I like to be in control of things. I like lists. His arrival threw everything up in
the air. The new car, new pram and other baby items had to be collected and paid for so I had to rely on my other half and my mam to do all that for me
and I hated this.
I also had trouble breastfeeding my son and remember the nurses trying to
get him to latch on and leaving me bruised and sore. One nurse even told
me she didn’t know how I expected to feed him with such small, flat nipples.
This remark still haunts and upsets me - how and why would you say that
to anybody who was trying to do what was best by her child? I struggled
with breastfeeding for eight days and gave up then. I suppose I was naïve in
thinking that the labour would be tough and breastfeeding would just come
naturally to both of us, but I got that so wrong.
I struggled through each hour of every day for 14 months before I sought
help from my GP. I knew what was wrong with me long before this, but I had
seen it as a sign of failure and a loss of control. I had once been confident
and would have spoken my mind, plus I had always gone out to work and, at
this stage, I was crying all the time, afraid to leave the house in case I had to
talk to anybody and I had become a stay-at-home mam too.
I didn’t make any time for myself. I wouldn’t let anybody take the boys for
me to give me a break. I felt I should be able to cope and decided to struggle
on doing it all by myself. I often found myself sitting on the stairs, looking
at the front door, wishing I could walk out and never come back. So, when I
went to the GP and she said I wasn’t the only woman to feel like this, I felt
a huge sigh of relief. I then went on medication and that definitely helped. It
brought some stability back to my life and that of my family. I was no longer
shouting and looking for arguments for no reason. I still had bad days, but
they were getting fewer and fewer. After eight months on anti-depressants, I
felt like I was stuck in a rut and decided to go for counselling.
My advice to anybody suffering with PND is talk to those that care about
you – they will help and they might be able to take some of the pressure
off you. Find a GP you trust and who will give you good advice. Try
counselling if you can – it’s good to talk to somebody who isn’t too close to
the situation, and you can talk freely about other people involved in your life
without being judged.
I am a nurse and my husband is a nurse. I am in my early thirties and have
three beautiful healthy children, thank God. The oldest girl is six and I was
fine after her arrival. My second girl is four and it was after her arrival that my
problems began. I should say 'illness', as that is what it is.
I just did not feel right. I could not cope with even the simple things in life.
My spirit was gone and nothing seemed to bring joy into my soul. I had a
beautiful healthy baby. My husband was my lifeline. He held me close many
times when the tears would not stop. I felt like I was in a black tunnel and
there were little windows along the way. These windows were my good
days, or even hours – in the early days, I had only good hours. There were
days when I felt I could not go on but God always sent me a ray of hope to
help me get through those days.
My biggest mistake was not accepting that I was suffering from depression.
Depression was something other people suffered, not I, with two healthy
children and a loving husband.
If you are ill, the first thing you must do is go and get help. Maybe ask
your doctor to refer you to a psychiatrist. You deserve to be seen by the
experts. The second thing you must do is take your medication if that is
what has been prescribed. Stay on the medication until you are ready to be
gradually weaned off it. I myself made a big mistake coming off medication
quickly when I felt well. I hated taking it but I relapsed. Please continue the
medication until the doctor says you are ready to come off it.
We waited a long time for our baby so she was very precious to us. I could
not wait for them to come home. For a while after the birth, my wife was in
great form, though very tired. Parents and friends were a great support.
As time passed, things seemed to change. The baby was not sleeping well,
and we were worn out. My wife gradually became very down in herself and
got upset over the silliest things. Before the birth, she was full of life and
always laughing. I did not know what was going on. I dreaded coming home
in the evening to find her sitting there crying.
I tried to take time off work to help but it wasn’t possible. I did not know
what was happening. It was not something men talked about with their pals.
I did not know where to turn for help. How could I get my wife to accept help
when she would not even talk to me?