I can see her sitting on the edge of the sofa, looking anxious, tired, wearing a top spotted with spit up on the shoulder, I catch her glancing at the baby asleep in the bouncer, she sighs, sinks back into the sofa and looks around the room, toys strewn around, a half empty cup of tea and toast barely touched, she dares to close her eyes for just a minute, hoping to catch just a little bit of sleep before the baby wakes and it all starts again, I watch as a tear slowly slides down her cheek.
She’s alone, confused, angry, why her, why now when she’s supposed to be happy and loved up with this new bundle like all the magazines she read in pregnancy told her. Who is she supposed to talk to, no one will understand, she’s scared they will take the baby away if she tells a professional how she feels, she doesn’t feel anything for this baby, she just goes through the motions, feeding, changing, settling. It’s not meant to difficult but every task takes every ounce of what little energy she has. Days are spent watching the clock and waiting until her partner walks through the door when she can hand baby over, lock herself in the bathroom and cry.
I see the mum again, this time her health visitor is there, doing her 6 week check, she’s handed a form, the Edinburgh Depression Test. I can see the worry in her eyes, as she fills this form out, hesitating over a few of the questions, she hands it back with a weary smile. The Health Visitor finishes her checks and leaves, mum is alone again.
She returns to her spot on the sofa, watching her baby kicking away happily on the play mat, I see a small smile on mums face but it soon disappears, as the loneliness yet again kicks in, wishing she’d told the truth to her health visitor, she lied on the test, didn’t say how low she felt because she worried she would be judged for not coping.
A few months later I see the mum again, she’s sat opposite the doctor looking nervous as she looks at the floor trying to explain how she feels, I see a prescription for Anti Depressants handed to her as she is guided out of the room. She forces a small smile as she walks out of the room, I see her step outside the doctors surgery as tears fill her eyes.
She thinks the Anti Depressants will help a little bit, but what she really needed was support, someone to tell her they’ve been through it, that eventually the fog will lift and that she will be ok, that she’ll enjoy her baby and smile for real, that she just has to take each day one day at a time. But for now she battles on, and hopes that one day she might be ok.
Who is this mum you might be thinking? That mum is me and the baby was my daughter who is now 6.5 years old, we have an unbreakable bond now and she makes me proud every single day
Postnatal Depression is hell but you can and will get better, please reach out for support and don’t suffer in silence, the #PNDFamily will hold your hand and we’ll walk from the fog of PND.
I know all to well how lonely and isolating PND can be, but you are not alone. This is precisely why I set up the #PNDChat hashtag, to help support mums who are where I was 6.5years ago.
Together We Are Stronger
Love and Strength Mama