All my life I had dreamed of becoming a mummy and when I fell pregnant with my daughter Tamara I was thrilled. I had a normal pregnancy and a good delivery. But after 3 months I was out walking in the park with my husband and I tripped and broke my arm. I was unable to pick her up, change her and my husband had to put her to my breast to feed. At my lowest point I would feed and change her but not want to be with her. I turned to my husband several times on several occasions and said I think she should go to another mummy to which he very gently suggested I saw the doctor and asked for help. My mother suffered with Post Natal illness as did my grandmother (but in those days it wasn’t recognised) so really it was inevitable I was going to suffer. I was prescribed tablets which I took and I got better on my own with the support of my husband.
In September 2009 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and was just thrilled and vowed to myself I would never fall into that horrible place again. In about November time I started to feel the same feelings returning but tried to stumble on by myself. I often thought of crashing the car and putting myself out of my misery and my children going to someone better who could look after them better than I could. Soon the darkness that formed above me was too much and I went to see the Health visitors who promptly marched me out of the room so no other new mothers would hear what I was saying and told me basically to pull myself together and to find a helpline to call who could help me. I was shocked and upset and left feeling worse then when I had got there. It took all my courage to get up, dressed and out with my baby that day and to be treated like that was putting me back the 2 steps that I thought I had come forward.
A couple of days latter after that knock back I felt positive and trawled the Internet, made some phone calls and was recommended to call the Charity. I took the numbers down and kept them on the fridge in the hope I wouldn’t need to call. Again as bright as the outlook seemed the blackness reappeared and I phoned the number in shire desperation and got through to Charlotte. She talked me through, calmed me down and helped me to decide that I needed to go to the Doctor and I needed help. She also reassured me that I wasn’t the only one in the world suffering with this illness and that it was an illness, not my inability to be a mother.
I saw the Dr who put me on antidepressants and through my tears asked her if I was the only one in the area suffering with this awful illness. She then told me I was her second mummy this morning and it was before 10AM! Charlotte set up the telephone support for me and I started attending the group therapy sessions which really helped me. I had expected to walk into a room full of dirty, messy women but to my surprise they were intelligent, attractive women who on the outside looked completely well, but as you delved further felt just the same as I did inside. I was able to describe my feelings in a non judgemental way and the others were able to empathise with me as they were/ had been through a similar situation and this was an illness and nothing to be ashamed of.
After 6 months of telephone support and attending numerous sessions I was discharged and never looked back. If I look to the future I would love to have more children, BUT would ensure that during my pregnancy I got all my strategies in place for after the birth so as never to fall into that deep, dark place again.