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27 May 2021

Post-natal depression and friends.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a mixed bag with telling friends about what you are experiencing. I have decided to outline 2 of the situations that stick out for me. What helped me through was speaking to the peri - natal team and other mums who were the same as me and friends who never turned their back. Without their support, I would have crumbled.

This was with my 3rd baby. Yes, I had experienced a hefty hand of baby blues with my other babies, but it lasted a couple of very intense days and disappeared as quick as it arrived. Hormones aren’t always a girl’s best friend.

I didn’t understand what was happening to me. It went from 0 to 100 in a couple of days. From feeling a bit blue to hearing voices, intrusive thoughts of harming my baby to rejecting him completely. I planned to take my own life.

The thing that affected me the most was the unknown of what would happen if I told anyone about this. After all isn’t everyone expected to love their baby? Is it not a fore gone conclusion that we should be radiant and briming with happiness at our greatest achievement? Every day we should be using social media to post wonderful pictures of joy and happiness with hash tags such as, #so in love or #couldn’t be happier or #proudmumma?

Yeah, that never happened. I had one friend who gave birth 6 weeks after me, by then my secret of how I felt was out and I was receiving help. I confided in someone who I thought was my closest friend, she brought her baby for a visit and spent an hour saying how much she was in love with her baby, how beautiful she was and how serene she felt about motherhood. I probably could have coped with maybe 10 minutes, after all she did feel this way and wanted to share her delight. She left and I felt broken, partly because I was jealous and partly because she hadn’t once thought about what she was saying and how it might be inappropriate. I sat looking at the baby everyone told me was mine and thinking how he looked like a sontarin from Dr. Who. I fought back the constant intrusive thoughts that ran through my mind like a film of me hurting him.

My husband and I confided in another couple who had recently had a baby, who we thought might be understanding, they looked at us in horror and to this day we haven’t seen them since. Nothing repels people like post-natal depression and psychosis.

We have friends who have been more than fantastic, so supportive and non-judgemental and to me that is real friendship. They hold a very dear place in my heart. They knew me so well as a person and a mother to my other children and understood that something underlying was controlling my mind and had faith I would beat it and get better. They cared how my husband was and how it had had such a detrimental affect on him as well. I wasn’t just fighting to get better for me, but for husband and all my babies ( yes, one is now 22 and the other 10 but they will always be my babies) My little one is now 2 and a half and we are both loving life, especially with our true friends.

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