After 10 years of yearning, investigations into places where, quite frankly, no one should have to go, and finally resignation, our much longed for baby surprised us in April 2008. At the age of 42 a new baby is never going to be a breeze physically speaking but then when is it ever? Thousands of women do it every day. I’ll cope!! Despite the misgivings of my health visitor I was determined not to be the one in 4 with a past history of depression to succumb to Post Natal Depression. It seemed an odd thing to even contemplate when you were so happy at last. I didn’t take into account the dreaded hormones. After 9 months of motherhood although still ok emotionally, I was exhausted and then... the hormones kicked in and CRASH...
I stopped sleeping, had constant anxiety, panic attacks, loss of appetite and worse still ... complete disinterest in my baby!! How could I tell anyone? As someone later said to me “But I thought that’s what you wanted?” I waved my husband off to work each morning with a mounting sense of dread for the day ahead and remained locked in a state of panic till he came home. It was awful, quite simply the bleakest time in my life and secretly I gave myself 6 months of feeling like this before I committed suicide, I could not contemplate feeling like this for any length of time.
Of course my husband noticed, the gp was visited, health visitor (life saver) called and after a year, various anti depressants, an inpatient stay, CBT and a wonderful Community Mental Health Nurse I recovered. Not to mention the support of my husband, family and friends (I soon discovered who they really were).
I have met during this time some extraordinary people and now am a peer support worker for a mental health charity and continue to meet fabulous people every day. However “normal peoples” attitudes still baffle and anger me. Comments like “I wouldn’t have another baby with your personality”... But I make it a policy to tell people I meet straight away that I have Mental Health issues and am proud of it. It has made me a more rounded, more tolerant person and I only wish that I had not tried to suffer in silence for so long before getting help. I now tell every new Mum I meet that I had Post Natal Depression and many admit their feelings to me. It’s a privilege to hear their stories.
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