Below is a story from a friend of mine called Zoe. Zoe is a fantastic mum who has had a hard time dealing with post natal depression. She has been very brave and agreed to share her story with us, hoping it will help others. Post natal depression is nothing to be ashamed of and the more people talk about it the more likely they are to get help.
Thanks Zoe xxx
We had decided to start a family and we were so delighted when we found out I was pregnant. I was so excited and nervous at the same time.
I had a pretty good pregnancy, I was sick quite a lot during the 2nd term but it soon calmed down towards the end, let’s just say the labour didn’t go to plan.
I know they say not to really have a plan but I made one anyway. I wanted to have a water birth at the birthing centre. I got to the birthing centre, having painful contractions but no sign of baby. I was in labour for 27 hours and after several prods and pokes I got sent for an induction. Just before the midwife ended her shift she just said “I’ll just examine you” and then said” just let me get the doctor to give you a scan because something doesn’t feel right”. OMG panic sets in! Is everything ok? At this point I’m in tears sucking on gas and air.
Doctor scans me “I’m afraid your baby is breech, she also has the cord around her neck.
We need to send you for an emergency c section”. I don’t care, whatever is best for my baby.
After that scare my beautiful baby girl Jasmine was born by c section 6lb 11oz. We couldn’t have been happier!
It was such a tough few weeks though. The first few days I couldn’t move out of the hospital bed, not even to comfort and change Jasmine. I decided to breast feed too, which was difficult, but I just about manage, but I felt so useless. When I got home I was the same I couldn’t move far, couldn’t get up n down the stairs and every time Jasmine needed feeding I had to be handed her. My husband Jonny had to do everything. I felt so bad and guilty, then I got an infection which made things worst.
I eventually healed and thought I was really getting into the swing of things. Being a parent is one of the hardest things and people don’t tell you half of the things you have to do etc. One day I just snapped. I couldn’t stop crying uncontrollably. I felt like I was useless, I couldn’t cope, I was a rubbish mum. I kept getting really snappy and short tempered. I would have suicidal thoughts which would scare me. My husband was on nights when this happened, he was just leaving for work and he said “Zoe you’re not right at all I’m phoning the doctor” and he did and I was at the doctors the next day.
I went to the doctors and they did a few tests on me and I had to do a few questionnaires. The doctor said to me your suffering from a severe case of post natal depression. I burst into tears. What did this mean? Was I a rubbish mum? how will I cope with Jasmine? I knew I needed help. I was offered antidepressants and counselling, I opted for both. I didn’t really want to take the tablets but I knew I needed something to start me off because there was a waiting list for counselling.
Over the next couple of months it was very difficult, I would be very short tempered with my husband and even with Jasmine. ” why won’t you stop crying?” I used to say “what’s wrong with you?” as I sat there crying looking at her. I was very snappy the complete opposite to what I normally would be. I would cry uncontrollably and not know why. There was one night where I was just sat in the bath staring at my razor and I just pictured myself slicing my whole body and sitting there bleeding to death, I soon shot out the bath it scared me that much.
I started my counselling and it really has helped me a lot! I realise I have a lot of underlying issues that I haven’t really dealt with and having Jasmine has brought them right back to the top and I just finally Erupted. Things like my mum dying when I was 19. Having a girl I think has really made me need and want my mum for different things, like advice and comfort. My dad, not being the dad I thought he was and used to be. I keep a lot of things bottled up and one of the things I’ve learnt is to talk more and don’t be afraid of what people might say or think. I felt a lot of pressure to get everything right and when people would tell me I’m doing things wrong or questioning why I’m doing something, really got me upset. I would usually just ignore things like that and it wouldn’t bother me, but not now. Being a mum I’ve found really hard, it’s really not been easy, I thought I would be fine and be a natural but how wrong I was.
I’m getting a lot better now. I’ve had great support from my friends and family , I couldn’t of gone through this if I didn’t. I’ve still got a way to go but I know that I will get there. I’ve realised it’s ok not to be ok, always talk about everything, don’t be afraid to ask for help and I’ve also realised I’m not going to be the same person as I was because now I’m a mum to my beautiful girl and I wouldn’t change that for the world.