My Experience with Post Natal Depression & Post Natal Anxiety

My Experience with Post Natal Depression & Post Natal Anxiety

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Before I begin, I want to make it clear, this blog is not another ‘Mum blog’, there’s plenty of decent ones out there and it’s not my style.  We all know the trials and tribulations of parenting, the funny stories (my son threw his dirty nappy across the room last week) and the tough days that almost leave us mentally scarred and grabbing for the wine. 

This post, is for me to discuss my experience in the first days, weeks and months after giving birth and how in my opinion, more needs to be done to prepare women for the emotional and mental difficulties many new mums experience when they’ve had a baby.  I really feel we could do more. 

Looking back to my pregnancy, I can’t recall ever discussing the emotional and mental turmoil you can experience after giving birth.  My pregnancy was a consultant led pregnancy as I’m a haemophilia carrier, so all attention was focussed around the implications for my baby, should he be a sufferer and the birth plan, as I had elected for a caesarean section for medical reasons.

I can recall being around 6 months pregnant and having a conversation with a friend of mine who has 2 children, she asked if I was nervous about the mental health side of things once I became a mum.  In my naivety, I told her I’d given it no thought and knew I would be OK because I’ve had anxiety etc. before so would know how to deal with it.  I was so wrong, so ignorant and so naïve.

My pregnancy had been relatively easy, aside from some SPD pain and worrying about the potential haemophilia status, it was in no way as bad as it could have been.  I was even looking forward to the caesarean section, I knew the day my baby would be born and had heard some very positive stories regarding C-sections. 

Things didn’t quite go to plan however.

I won’t go into too much detail regarding the birth as 1) too much information and it’s quite gross a story and 2) probably quite boring for most. However, what I will say is the elected C-section became an emergency C-section a week prior to my scheduled operation. 
I’d gone into early (and very fast) labour and everything went from being relatively calm to anything but.  I was terrified.  Wes came to the hospital just as I was experiencing very painful, fast contractions and was getting prepped for surgery, he looked like he’d seen a ghost. 

We were totally unprepared for this. 

I remember going to an ante-natal class and switching off when they were discussing contractions and labour etc. – because let’s face it – I wasn’t going to be experiencing this. 
I actually felt like I was back in a Maths lesson in school, watching my concentration fly out the window.  My concentration only came back into the room when the midwife mentioned C-sections very briefly.  I probably rolled my eyes as I knew all the information she was providing already (misplaced arrogance). 

After being on the operating table for over an hour and a half (I always thought it would only take 30 minutes) and being presented with my gorgeous son, not only did I feel absolute elation, I also felt totally and utterly struck with anxiety. 

I recall being in the recovery room with my mum and my new-born son and being told I’d lost a lot of blood, genuinely asking the registrar what time I would be dying. 
No joke. 
I was petrified I was going to pass away, the same day I welcomed my baby. 

It transpired I’d contracted an infection due to the complicated birth.  All sorts was going through my mind, am I going to die?  Am I going to have to have surgery again?  A blood transfusion?
I felt like I’d been hit by a double decker bus and was looking down on myself from above.  It was the most surreal, out of body experience I’ve ever known. 

I felt utterly traumatised. 

So much so, I refused to sleep the first night I became a mum, I made myself keep my eyes open the whole night, despite being exhausted from having no sleep for nearly 48 hours.  I was worried that if I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t wake up and my son would be without his mum.  Looking back, my heart aches for myself. 

This had huge bonding implications, I remember looking at him in his cot next to my hospital bed, he was literally the most gorgeous thing I had ever laid my eyes on but I couldn’t allow myself to fall in love with him. 
I was so concerned that I wouldn’t be around to see him grow up.  The infection I had would kill me or I would have to have another operation and wouldn’t survive it.  I was literally on the edge. 

Fast forward a few hours and I was moved to a different ward, it was hot, noisy and I felt like the walls were closing in on me.  Before I know it, I’ve got out of bed and hobbled out of the ward, crying hysterically, leaving Wes and our son next to my hospital bed.  I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t even know what was going on in my head, but I sobbed so much I thought my surgery wound was going to split open.  Luckily a midwife found me and took me into an office and calmed me down.  I had a word going round and round in my head, it was psychosis. 
I was absolutely terrified I was suffering from it. 
The midwife assured me I wasn’t, I was suffering from severe anxiety and was having a terrible panic attack.  Some time later I calmed down and was moved to a private ward for my own wellbeing, I felt incredible relief at this and immediately felt better.  I could see my old self creeping back through. 

But it wasn’t to last. 

Recovery from a C-section is hard, especially an emergency one and because it had been a complicated operation, I was in a lot of pain.  Trying to breastfeed was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done and I was beginning to feel like a failure. 
I have to be honest, I can’t say I felt pressurised by the hospital midwives but there is certainly an element of expectation.  I had a total breakdown on the last night I was in hospital, I couldn’t feed him, I was struggling to change his nappy as I couldn’t bend over and he was crying.

I literally didn’t know what to do.  I felt desperate.

I called Wes and told him he had to come back to the hospital even if the staff refused him entry.  I was losing it again.  I felt like the midwives were losing patience with me and they thought I needed to ‘man up’ and just get on with it.  I have never felt so alone in all my 27 years.  I then decided to give my son formula as he wasn’t latching on and I was exhausted from trying and worrying about his weight.  A lovely midwife came and sat with me and I remember us having a conversation, it took my mind off of how frightened I was feeling.  I managed to get a small amount of sleep that night and looked forward to going home the following day.  Everything will be OK once I’m in my own bed, with my family around me.  5 days in hospital was quite enough thank you!

Once I got home, the anxiety didn’t leave me, I felt totally and utterly on edge as soon as I got in the door.  I didn’t want to be left alone with my baby, I felt totally overwhelmed by responsibility and worried I was going to get things wrong.  My baby had lost over 10% of his birth weight because he wasn’t feeding properly and I was so panicked.  Suddenly, the support of the midwives and hospital staff had gone and the spotlight is on us now, to keep this tiny little human alive. 

My mind was racing, I’d sit in the bathroom googling ‘post natal depression’ or ‘post natal anxiety’ and the worst word of all ‘psychosis’.  Convinced I was a danger to myself and I should be locked up. 

The fear was real. 

I lost over a stone in one week because I didn’t eat, I felt permanently sick. 

I remember a community midwife visiting me at home for a check up and me being so worried about telling her I was abandoning the breastfeeding and going down the formula route.  I was so concerned my son wasn’t getting anything and I was totally and utterly exhausted.  The pain of trying to breastfeed was almost as bad as the contractions during labour.  My midwifes response? “I won’t give you a hard time as I know you’re struggling at the moment and you’ve had a rough ride”.  At the time, I was grateful for her somewhat curt response.  Looking back, my blood boils.  Actual steam could emanate off my keyboard right now where I’m typing so furiously.  Won’t give me a hard time?  What the hell does that mean?  Are midwives supposed to apply as much pressure to already exhausted and hormonal women just so they can promote the breast is best mantra?  I wondered if perhaps they’re performance targeted on how many new mums they can get to persevere with the breastfeeding.  Cynical I know, but I just couldn’t understand this approach.  We all know breast is best, but so the bloody hell is happy mum, happy baby.  You don’t need me to tell you of stories that have been in the press about new mums who have taken their life because they felt like failures as they were unable to breast feed their babies.  Tragic, totally and utterly tragic and it breaks my heart. 
My baby thrived on formula.

Because my anxieties lasted past the normal “baby blues” period (2 -3 weeks apparently) I was referred to a mental health team who came out to assess me just before Christmas 2013, it was determined that I was suffering from severe anxiety and would need support.  I tried to take anti depressants but they made me feel worse so I just got through Christmas as best I could and slowly but surely the overwhelming feeling of anxiety began to lift and I started to feel better.  Don’t get me wrong, I was still anxious and in dire need of some therapy but I didn’t feel permanently on edge. 

I started some CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) from January 2014 onwards which really helped – I’d recommend it to anyone who has any anxiety issues.  This continued into June and by the Summer I was definitely feeling better, I wouldn’t say I was like my old self, I would get bad moods and still feel anxious but it wasn’t anything like the first few weeks post partum.

Once my CBT sessions finished I was told I would have to wait at least 6 months if I wanted to have any more therapy.  I was sure I’d be fine without and time would be a healer etc. so carried on with my life.  Finding weaning very hard work but I had a healthy, happy baby who slept through the night so I had it very easy compared to others. 

Towards the end of the year I started a new job (part time), I felt totally overwhelmed again, I felt guilty for leaving my son after spending every day for the last 10 months with him.  I felt like I couldn’t do my job and that it was bigger than I was.  I could feel myself heading for disaster once again.  My son’s first birthday was only round the corner and we had lots of celebrations planned, not to mention Christmas too; I was determined to carry on as normal and forget about how unhappy I felt.  My son had started waking through the night screaming, it was a really hard time and I felt once again like I was losing all control and the walls were closing in on me.  I was trying to get to learn a new job, planning 1st birthday parties and keeping everyone around me happy.  I looked knackered, I felt knackered and my spark had well and truly left my body.  I didn’t know who I was anymore. 

On the morning of my son’s 1st Birthday, I remember hearing a new mum had gone missing from the hospital I had given birth in, I didn’t give it a huge amount of thought.  I just hoped she was OK and thought she may have gone for a walk or something.  Come the evening, the news wasn’t looking good and I was obsessed with it, checking every few minutes for updates until the worst was confirmed.  They had found her body; I broke down.  It was a year to the day I’d been through what I had been through in the very same hospital.  I’m not saying I was suicidal, not for one second, but what I will say is I was terrified, I was walking around the hospital, not knowing who to turn to and feeling incredibly lost.  Perhaps not too dissimilar to what this poor woman was experiencing.  I couldn’t get it out of my head, I couldn’t stop crying about it.  I thought of what she must have been thinking in her final moments, or what her family must be going through.  I was angry that no one had stopped her from walking out of the hospital, or that the lovely midwife who had helped me exactly 12 months previous, hadn’t stopped her and given her a shoulder to cry on or some much needed support. 

From then on the days merged into one and although relieved my son’s birthday was over and I didn’t have to persevere with ‘keeping up appearances’, I was getting exhausted and nervous about Christmas.  I wanted everything to be ‘normal’ – whatever that is.  I wanted the racing thoughts to stop and the constant worrying to diminish.  Christmas came and went, it was nice but hard work as we were hit with a seasonal cold, cue many sleepless nights and tensions running high.  My son was soon better and cold free and I looked forward to a night out with my closest friends for NYE, I’d not had a night out in so long. 
The following day (New Years Day), I felt uneasy, on edge, scared, frightened, worried, concerned – all sorts of anxious.  I wanted to either pace the floor or not get out of bed.  The thought of a new year petrified me, what would it bring?  What would I fail at?  My confidence was sub level and my nerves were shot to pieces.  I didn’t get out bed for days, I gave up caring about anything and everything.  I was non responsive, there in body but not in mind.  I was a shell basically.  I just wanted the racing thoughts to go away, I wanted to be in control of my thoughts again.  I remembered I had another type of anti-depressants in my drawer that had been prescribed to me some 2 months previous.  Because I’d had a bad experience with AD’s the year before I was too scared to try them but now I had nothing to lose.  I couldn’t carry on how I was, my mum was desolate, Wes was so concerned and I wanted to will myself to get better for my lovely son.  He deserved more. 
So I took the tablet and was determined.  I persevered and although the first week was tough, I took the week off work and just rested.  My head hurt, I was dizzy, I felt sick but for the first time in a long time, I was beginning to feel positive, I felt like I might be able to see the much needed light at the end of the tunnel.  I went to see the Dr to discuss my side effects, dosage etc and saw a new Dr I’d never seen before.  I opened up about how I’d felt and she was amazing.  She didn’t judge me, she took me seriously and wanted to refer me back to the Primary Care Team, she knew I needed more than tablets and wanted me to be seen by a Mental Health Nurse straight away.  The start of this year was very tough, we lost our beloved cat, we had a lot of bad news and many stressful situations to deal with that required a huge amount of strength.  But, with the help of the tablets and some counselling and therapy, I felt like I could deal with the issues.  I took time out from my friends and people around me, and chilled out, I would be kind to myself.  I wouldn’t apply pressure on myself.
I would talk A LOT to my mum or to Wes, instead of keeping everything in for fear of what they might say.  I learned to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and dealing with worries one at a time, weighing them up and thinking what is the worst that could happen?  I talked about the birth and about how I felt for the first few days and weeks after my son was born with my counsellor.  It felt like I’d put it to bed and had learnt to come to terms with it.  It didn’t frighten me anymore. 

Today, I’m so much better.  I’m still on anti-depressants, mainly for my anxiety. I’ve been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, along with my OCD which was diagnosed when I was young. 
My Dr has said I’ll probably be on the pills long term, but that’s fine with me, I’ve come to terms with that.  I’ve finished my counselling & therapy and I feel the most positive I have felt in years.  I feel confident and I feel very happy.  I’ve learnt a lot this year, a lot about myself and a lot about what I can deal with and how strong I am.  Above all, I’ve learnt to love being a mum, warts and all.  I’d fear that I would lose my individuality and see myself as being someone’s mum as opposed to being Rachel.  I’m still me, I’m still that annoying, loud, talkative, random, sometimes moody, up for a laugh person, just with the best gift of all.  My son.

This post was two fold.  Selfishly, I wanted to write my experience out for cathartic reasons (which believe me, it’s worked) but secondly I want to advocate mental health.  I want expectant mums to be slightly prepared for how hard it is emotionally after giving birth.  Yes, we need to be prepped for birth, breast feeding, changing nappies and all that shit (literally) but we need to be prepared for the hormonal changes.  The overwhelming emotions that we can experience shortly after birth, and not just for the first 2 or 3 weeks after.  The midwives need to be looking out for signs that women are struggling and be empathetic, perhaps referring them to support networks, therapists etc. that can help.  They should relieve pressure for new mums and provide up to date, accurate and helpful advice.  Yes, we all know breast is best, I mean it’s been rammed down our throats often enough, but it isn’t always as cut and shut as that.  And at what expense some times?

I just always hope that any new mum gets help straight away if they are struggling at all, be honest and open and not worry about people judging or what the Dr might or might not say.  Becoming a first time mum especially, is a frightening experience.  You’ve just gone through something that is quite traumatic, you ache in places you never knew existed and could be rather traumatised from the experience.  People need to be accepting and sympathetic to this.  I would encourage women to talk about a traumatic birth, I remember the first time I watched One Born Every Minute after having my son and actually recoiling and sweating whilst watching a caesarean section. I had to turn over.

Women need time to come to terms with what has happened and time to recover physically, mentally and emotionally.

Some links that may help, should you need them:

https://lift.awp.nhs.uk/ (they really helped me)
http://www.oasis-talk.org/
http://www.mind.org.uk
http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/

Please share this blog post, I really want to raise post & pre natal mental health awareness and if this post can help others, then it’s been totally worthwhile putting finger to keyboard.

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. Sadia

    I'm so grateful to you for sharing your story. Yes, I understand the cathartic aspects of it, but I commend you for raising awareness too. I was very fortunate, in a way. A diagnosis of depression earlier in life meant that I knew I was at risk for PND (or PPD — post-partum depression, as it's called in the US). I did everything I could to prepare myself for the symptoms and was almost shocked to not experience that overwhelmed feeling after the first few hours.

    The blows of people's ignorance of mental health came later. I lost custody of my daughters for 6 months based on my 14-year-old depression diagnosis and my insistence that we NOT use my ex-husband's PTSD against him. Fortunately, we were able to appeal, but the appeal took 6 months. Now I feel like I can't talk about my own experience of depression — and putting it behind me — until my daughters turn 18 and my ex-husband loses the chance to abuse the legal system.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time read my post and to comment back. Your story is awful, I have never heard of anything like that before, it's truly frightening. How are things for you now? I hope they are much better. Why can you not talk about your own experience of depression? xx

  3. Sadia

    Unfortunately, my ex-husband could choose to bring anything I write as evidence in court, and the structure of a legal hearing doesn't always give me the opportunity to clarify or provide context. You take the words "I have clinical depression" out of context, and an uninformed lay person can conclude that you shouldn't be a parent. It's tragic, but happened to me.

    The girls are relatively unscathed by the experience. I certainly haven't shared the details with them. As far they're concerned, they spent 6 months with Daddy to get to know their newest stepmother and stepsiblings. Things are far better now. Apart from the emotional and financial fallout, things are back to normal and the children are thriving.

  4. That is just horrendous. Why should clinical depression be taken out of context? It's an illness, an actual illness that you didn't ask to suffer from. It doesn't mean you don't love your child, nor does it mean you're not an amazing mum. I'm SO glad to hear things are better for you now. I'm just so annoyed by your experience, it's 2015 not 1915.
    Could I ask a favour? Could you please share my post on your social media sites – Twitter, FB etc. I'm hoping it can help others, I'm also hoping that we can make some changes in the UK antenatally and ensure midwives are trained with an element of mental health knowledge. Thank you so much. xxx

  5. Was nice to read something different and real! I too had an emergency C section and the pain after was like nothing Id experienced before even the getting to fully dilated contractions wasn't as painful as getting out of bed the next day.
    I was lucky to only have anxiety for the 1st week after coming out of hospital and it was fear of the baby getting ill and me not noticing symptoms etc… been on my own a few weeks later and having no time to think got me over this I think.
    Hes 10 weeks now fast asleep on my knee and already has me wrapped round his fingers.

    Glad it all turned out ok in the end. New follower loved your writing style

    Carrieanne x
    http://www.beautiesunlocked.com

  6. Hi Carrieanne, thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to get in touch – it means so much to me. I'm sorry to hear you had a terrible experience, emergency c sections are so tough aren't they. The anxiety you can feel after having a baby is so real and so frightening, I totally can relate to your experience. I hope you're better now? It does get better with time. I loved your blog too, really fun and interesting. I shall be following you from now on, I love finding new blogs. Thank you for enjoying mine and I hope you're now feeling better and will continue to xxx

  7. Anonymous

    What a fabulous post, Rachel. So much of your story resonated, including the OBEM aversion! Like you, I think so very much needs to be done to raise awareness of postnatal illness both for expectant parents and healthcare professionals. I actually ended up making a complaint about the NHS and this was upheld, with recommendations made to the relevant primary care setting about the ways in which they should improve their care of both new and expectant mothers. That felt very satisfying! Thank you once again for sharing your story – and continue to take good care!

  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and to comment on my post. I'm sorry to hear you had a tough time of it, I hope you're better now. I'm also glad that the primary care authority had to make changes too, hopefully this has gone some way to help others. You take care too – and thanks once again. PS. I can just about watch OBEM now – nearly 2 years on! Huge improvement x

  9. A really honest account of a terrifying condition. I had PND with my second child and felt many of the things you've written about. Well done for putting it all out there very brave x

  10. Thank you so much Zoe – I'm sorry to hear you suffered too and hope you're feeling much better now. It is a very frightening condition and I just hope this post can help others, while raising awareness for mental health too. x

  11. What a beautifully written post. It is so tragic yet so hopeful at the same time. I am so glad that you are now able to talk about your experiances and I use hope that this post encourages others who have been too afraid to relive it all to get the help they deserve.
    xxxxxxx
    #fromtheheart

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story with #fromtheheart. My heart aches for you too. I agree that many of us don't prepare for the mental challenges of being a mother but I also feel mental health professionals need to do a lot more to be empathetic and helpful. I can't believe you were alone in the hospital after such a traumatic birth experience. You should be so proud of yourself for making it throug all of this in one piece and I wish you and your family smoother sailing from now on.

  13. Hi Julie, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and to comment back. Thank you so much for your lovely words, they mean so much. I just hope to raise awareness as much as I can and to help others. Hope you're well xx

  14. Thanks for this post! I love that you've written about how much talking helped as I think sometimes mum's are scared to talk about their feeling in case people think they aren't coping. Brilliant links as well #fromtheheart

  15. Hi there, thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. I just hope it can go some way to help others who are suffering.

  16. Such a heart breaking and honest post, well done for writing it. So glad to hear you are doing well too, go easy on yourself. I agree there are no resources to help new mothers whoa re struggling to cope. It really is an emotional roller-coaster, I thought I was a strong person before I had my baby, but it brought me to my knees so many days and I expect it will do in the future. I hope new mothers read this.

  17. Oh gosh, you certainly had a time of it! I did an NCT (National Childbirth Trust course) and I must say it did help prepare us both mentally and for practical side . I’m glad you’re doing better now X

  18. I hope that this process has been useful and cathartic for you. I’m an advocate of the ‘better out than in’ method of blogging and have always seen writing or blogging as a form of therapy. It’s a brave move writing it all down, and I hope in sharing your experiences you feel better for it and someone else might find hope or comfort when all seems bleak.

  19. Jenny

    Thank you for sharing your story. I suffered too, I felt as a midwife I should have known what I was doing but felt like a failure. It’s so difficult to prepare women because until you’re in it you can’t understand it. I agree there should be more emphasis on mental health. Breastfeeding is better for babies but it’s not the be all and end all and all factors should be taken into consideration. #twinklytuesdays

    1. ourrachblogs

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and to get in touch. There should be more of an emphasis on mental health and I’m determined to do something about this. We know breastfeeding is better for babies but sometimes at what cost? It shouldn’t be rammed down womens throats all the time and women should not feel pressure. It worries me a lot. x

  20. Talya

    Thank you for sharing your story. So many women need to struggle both after birth and even way beyond when motherhood becomes all too much – will share this now on Twitter to get it out there. #twinklytuesday

    1. ourrachblogs

      Thank you Talya – means a lot xx

  21. Fabulous post Rachel – even if hard to read to hear what you have been through! So much but it is great after so much time you found a DR who helped and have an amazing supportive family. Many women may go through what you have and this post will be one that could help. I hope you continue to recover and feel more like yourself and this continues. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst and see you again xx

  22. Mary

    I just wrote a comment, but it timed out ahhhh gutted!!! ~

    Basically that I love this post and that you have been so honest, so very much relate to you as I too had PND with my 1st as a result of an EMCS, pain and trouble breastfeeding – felt like a complete failure, that I couldn’t do all the things other mums seemed so able to do and I just felt rubbish. PND tarnished my early motherhood as I felt judged, I felt like I couldn’t cope and it was all too much.

    You are not alone, many have been there or are going through it x #bestandworst

  23. Rachel

    I could have written a lot of this myself. I suffered from PNA, so tough and sending you lots of love and hugs. Very brave of you to write but there needs to be as much written about it as possible so mums don’t feel on their own #bestandworst xx

  24. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really resonated with me and clearly did with lots of other mums too judging from all the comments. I suffered from PTSD after my emergency C-section but was really fortunate that my midwife recognised the risk and warned me that I may struggle after the birth – so when the flashbacks came (every time I closed my eyes and tried to sleep!), I knew what it was and felt she had normalised it for me. New mums get such a cursory service these days as Health Visitors are stretched so thin, it’s unfair to place the onus on distressed mums to seek help (and often not receive it the first, second or third time of asking). #bestandworst

  25. Bonjour, merci beaucoup pour l’ensemble de ces informations, j’ai appris beaucoup, je connaissais rien à tout cela, s’il vous plait continuez à diffusez de nombreux articles de ce style, je vois la vie autrement maintenant. Merci…

  26. Rhi

    Post natal depression is something I really worry about for my wife. My aunt suffered very badly, and in the long run so did my cousins.
    Good for you for writing about it – it’s important that people know it’s okay to not be okay, that you don’t need perfect mental health to raise a good kid.

  27. You are AMAZING!!!!!!!! You went through so much and look how strong you are. I am so glad you’ve shared this. There is so much of this post I agree with and resonate with. I think you will really make a difference to others by sharing your story. You bloody awesome chick xxxxxx #brilliantblogposts

  28. Really brave of you to put your emotions and experiences down in words. I have had four children including twins in the past nine years. The first birth was very similar to yours. I did not realize that I had depression and ended up on meds for unrelated (maybe related) issues including severe vertigo and anxiety. During my second pregnancy I started suffering from severe OCD and anxiety- I didnt know that was what it was. I thought I was going crazy and developed a multitude of irrational fears. I finally got help around 33 weeks pregnant. It probably saved my life. With the twin pregnancy – hardest physically by far- I didnt have any of those same issues. I went on medication as a precaution regardless.

    Every now and then the severe panic and anxiety rears its head. Sometimes I do have to go back on meds, sometimes I can manage. What I have taken from this is that there is help, there are answers and I am willing to do whatever it is I need to do to be a capable and loving mother.

  29. Bronwyn

    It is very brave of you to share your struggles with the world and help those who have had similar experiences. I have struggled with bi polar and have not yet been ready to unleash my thoughts and hardships. It takes such courage , well done!

  30. Laura

    Hi lovely, well done for sharing your story. So much of your experience mirrors my own in terms of anxiety. It’s vital that we get our experiences out there so more mums can be better prepared xx #anythinhgoes

  31. I think you’re very brave sharing your story and I think it will help anyone in a similar situation for sure, even if its just knowing they aren’t alone. It sounds like you had a really rough time (understatement I know) and I’m so pleased you came out of the other side of it. You have learned how strong you really are and how much you can cope with.
    And I agree about that midwife’s comment – they are supposed to be professional and impartial, not shoving their own opinions onto people.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

  32. Wow. At times. I felt I shouldn’t be reading this, as it’s so truthful and honest an account of a lady I feel I know well through Social Media and who is often tweeting quirky funny comments about reality tv or bikinis she’s trying to fit into!! Plus in many ways, this felt an introduction to women’s matters! However I read on and was privileged to be able to read such a courageous post,

    I myself lost my beautiful fiancé and she passed in 2008.’

    I would love to meet someone as kind and as intelligent and as frank and open as Ms, Rachel Hawkins.

    You have gone through so much Rachel and you have shared it in the hope it will help one woman. I am convinced it will help more than one woman.

    From keeping your eyes wide open as you lay through the night to experiences with midwives (!) to experiences with meds and CBT to the reoccurrence of anxiety and depression to your openness re long term prognosis and the taking of medication.
    You’re not just brave. You’re bloody incredible.

    A real advocate for Mental Health and an awesome mother

  33. This is fantastic and so important that we share our experiences of PND, however difficult it is to write down. I can’t imagine what you have been through and am just so pleased that you had support to help you through it. I had an elective caesarian and was very lucky to not have contracted an infection, as I found it difficult enough to recover. It completely resonates too that feeling of suddenly being responsible for this tiny thing and worrying with everything you have that you might die at some stage. Brilliant post and thank you for sharing on #dreamteam xx

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