My first guest article in our World Mental Health Day series is written by Lisa from Thirty Something BelleLisa lives in Manchester, is Mum to two girls and is also a bit of a crazy cat lady like me!
She has a pretty cool sense of style and a vintage mirror that I would love to steal…
Lisa’s article is about her experience of Post Natal Depression after a traumatic birth as a young mother.

I became a mother aged just 17 in June 2000. Unexpected and unsure of the road that lay ahead, I tried to embrace this life changing experience. My daughters arrival on this planet was less than smooth. A traumatic birth resulting in an emergency Caesarean section left me tired, confused and in pain. During the night, I was left alone with my new arrival and after a few nervous cuddles, I attempted to feed her. The feeling when she looked up into my eyes was indescribable. I was utterly in love. This beautiful child who was now completely dependent upon me to provide for all of her future needs – emotional and practical.



I left the hospital with Megan’s dad and brought her back to our humble home. Our relationship was still in it’s infancy, becoming a couple just twelve months prior to her arrival. We were still in the early stages of building our home, having moved into our first house together eight weeks before Megan was born. After the excitement of eager visitors, friends and family members, we began settling into our new normal. Megan’s dad worked full time during the day and I began working night shifts in order to help us make ends meet and cover childcare between the two of us.
I’d been feeling increasingly low in the months after Megan’s birth. I dismissed this as the ‘baby blues’ and carried on regardless. When I was asked by my health visitor and midwives how I was doing, I plastered on a fake smile and reassured them that things were going perfectly. I was desperate to prove myself, to prove that I could do this. After around 4 – 5 months, I was running on auto-pilot. Wake up, feed baby, sleep for an hour or so, make food, clean, work, nap on the sofa, bathe, feed, change nappies, smile, entertain guests, cry in secret…

On a routine visit to my G.P, I plucked up the courage to admit to him how I was truly feeling – empty, scared and despairing. I was quickly dismissed. He explained to me in a delightfully patronising manner, that parenting was, well…hard work. I simply had to deal with it and that most people feel like this in the early days. I left the doctors surgery embarrassed, humiliated and feeling more alone than ever. I was failing.
A few weeks after that appointment, my mum had called over to our house unexpectedly – I was sat on the living room floor, sobbing whilst Megan cried in her cot. After some gentle coaxing, she took us both to the G.P and insisted on seeing somebody (my mother is a lady who gets results and does not take no for an answer) This time, it was a very different result. I spoke with another doctor and through the tears, explained that is wasn’t the sleepless nights or change in circumstances making me feel low – this was something a lot darker. I was having thoughts that terrified me, suicide was starting to feel like a logical escape route and I desperately needed help. He diagnosed me with postnatal depression, enlisted me for counselling and put me on a course of antidepressants. I had never taken them before so was a little wary of the way they may make me feel but at this point, I had very little to lose. This was rock bottom.

I also decided to give a few parent and toddler groups a go. I had been feeling isolated yet the idea of putting myself in front of bunch of ‘perfect’ mothers hardly appealed either – I’m an introvert at the best of times. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. After the first few awkward play dates, I began to make some real friends. A few of which were in a similar boat. As the taboo topic of PND reared it’s head, it transpired that I was not alone. It was a fairly common illness amongst new mums, regardless of ages, status or finances. Mental illness does not care how wealthy, secure or supported you may be, it can get it’s destructive claws into anyone.
I slowly began to feel a little lighter. My counselling really helped and we discussed various topics. My fear of being judged, the experience of Megan’s birth which had left me more traumatised than I’d realised, lack of confidence, the relationship with her father, the lack of support I was feeling plus many other things. When Megan was around three years old, I had finally began to feel like myself again. There was no magic cure, I just woke up one day and felt like the fog was lifting. Lucky really as not long after that, I became pregnant with baby number two.

I’ll be honest, I was utterly terrified of developing PND again. I just could not face the idea of living through that hell with not one, but two babies to support. I waited and waited after Lucie’s birth for that dark cloud to descend – but it didn’t. I started to enjoy motherhood and all the wonderful things it entailed.

If you can relate to my story then please do get some form of help. Go and see your G.P. Talk honestly to friends, family and health professionals. Shout, cry and scream until somebody listens. It will not just go away. There is absolutely no shame in this nor much you can do to control it on your own. I hate the fact that it still remains a somewhat forbidden topic, hence my decision to publicly share my experience with you.

You really are not alone.
For more information about Post Natal Depression, you can find help and advice here :

NetMums

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PND : A Young Mothers Story

15 thoughts on “PND : A Young Mothers Story

  • October 2, 2015 at 8:24 am
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    Huge massive hugs lovely. It is awful when you come across the a doctor who makes you feel like you are wasting their time when it is such a huge step to got to them and ask for help. I am so pleased you got help in the end and that you are now much happier 🙂

    #effitfriday

    Gemma xx

    Reply
  • October 2, 2015 at 9:32 am
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    Brilliant that you are sharing your experience – I think the more people that share their PND experience openly, the better people will understand it. I find it amazing that such a taboo exists around it when so many people suffer from it so you're doing a great thing but sharing your story here – I'm going to share it out on Twitter now #PickNMix

    Reply
  • October 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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    Hello thanks for commenting! I agree its important to share your story if you can, Lisa has done a great job with this one! Our hope is that by writing her article, other people will read it and it will help them realise that they are not alone ! x

    Reply
  • October 3, 2015 at 9:42 am
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    PPD or Postpartum Depression as it is called in North America is scary. It does not get enough publicity and every mama who shares their story is helping other mama's who are struggling in he dark. So thank you for sharing! I must have been an awful thing to go through.

    Reply
  • October 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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    Hi guys. I've only just seen all of your comments on here. Thanks so much to the lovely Sarah for allowing me to share my story on here. PND is something that needs to be talked about. I'm glad my own experience can help. Lisa xx

    Reply
  • October 5, 2015 at 8:34 am
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    This is great. There is so much in this story that I have heard time and time again. Post natal depression is nothing to be ashamed of and it is pretty common. It is wonderful to hear it also from the point of view of someone who has come through the other side and learnt from it. Kirsten

    Reply
  • October 6, 2015 at 11:25 am
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    I'm so sorry that you faced all of this as a young mother in a new home. It must have been so hard for you. I too suffered from PND and it is a very cruel illness. I'm so glad that your mum was around to support you. Thank you for linking up to #featurefridays

    Reply
  • October 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm
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    Great guest post! Thank you so much for sharing. It is so great that Lisa was able to get help and discovered that she is not alone. PND does sound like an alone symptom but it is not so. Great advice on being honest to yourself. It is always very important being so. Glad that Lisa has finally found her happiness. Thank you so much for spreading the awareness of PND. And thank you so much for linking up with me too. #FabFridayPost xx

    Reply
  • October 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm
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    pnd terrifies me and I think we need more awareness of this and sensitivity. I know now that one of my friends battled it for months (before I met her) that turned into a germ phobia. She says to this day it ruined her first months and it didn't have to if those who were able to help were less dismissive xx

    Reply
  • October 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm
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    What a brave post by Lisa, it must have been so hard but brilliant of you to share her story to try and help others lovely x
    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMiX
    Stevie x

    Reply
  • October 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm
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    You are very brave to post this. So many women struggle in silence with PP depression. Thanks for this!

    Reply

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