I truly believe that some women suffer with a form of PTSD following the birth of their children, especially if it wasn’t at all how they had hoped or that it was traumatic and totally out of their control. Here are just a couple of symptoms of PTSD that mirror those of PND:
“Some people attempt to deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing. This can lead to the person becoming isolated and withdrawn, and they may also give up pursuing the activities that they used to enjoy.
Some people will have constant negative thoughts about their experience, repeatedly asking themselves questions that prevent them from coming to terms with the event. For example, they may wonder why the event happened to them and if they could have done anything to stop it, which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame.”
These feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, anger and physical pain – sound familiar?
The paradox of PND is that you do things to try and feel in control but the more it sucks you in, the less control you feel and thus a vicious cycle occurs.
PANDAS offers great help and advice should you feel that something is not quite right. Remember, don’t think that what you’re feeling is nothing compared to those poor mothers that lead to taking their own lives. You are still worthy of a voice and to be listened to.
You can also contact your local health team/midwife to discuss the finer details of your childbirth. Sometimes finding out the reasons why it happened that way can bring closure to a birthplan that went spectacularly out the window. Or why breastfeeding went completely tits up. Your local children’s centre will also be able to offer support for you and your whole family. Support is out there, just like today’s story describes….
I have suffered with depression on and off for years…since I was about 14 so my chances of getting PND was quite high and this terrified me. Depression is hard enough to deal with let alone with a baby to look after.
My labour was very stressful and lasted 38 hours and ended in a c section. The minute my beautiful baby girl was born that’s when the PND started to set in. I was in recovery for 5 days and those 5 days being alone with my girl were very strange. I felt like I was outside my body looking on to my life around me. I could not get my head around the fact I had had a baby. When the day came to take her home (which at that time was my partner’s mum’s house, because we had to move out of ours just before I gave birth due to very bad damp and mould) I was terrified. – whilst in hospital I had nurses at my every need – I already started to wonder how I would cope.
Having a baby was such a huge responsibility and I was determined to make sure I never let her down. Weeks passed of me being almost bed bound and not being able to completely look after my daughter. My partner was great with both of us and was very supportive. Then the feeling of not being able to cope gradually got worse…I felt trapped, scared and alone. This little girl needed me and I was stuck in my own mind feeling completely out of control. I remember getting ready to take my girl out for a walk and couldn’t get the pram or something to work and I just blew…I became an emotional wreck, I couldn’t breathe, and all I could think about was “what was happening to me??” I called my health visitor at the time crying my eyes out feeling completely helpless and worthless. The hardest thing was dealing with the overwhelming guilt I had for feeling I was letting my girl down by allowing myself to get to this state.
I was put on 100mg of sertraline, an anti depressant to see if that made a difference. And I am pleased to say it did… I still have my moments but I dread to think how bad things could have got if I had not of got the help when I did. You should not be ashamed if you have PND – your body goes through so much both physically and mentally when having a child that sometimes it gets the better of you. But it’s important to remember you’re not on your own and you can beat it.
PND is horrible and scary but that is mainly because it is not spoken of a lot in today’s society. I was ashamed at first but I am no longer that and I can stand up tall and say that I’m on the road to beating it and now I can enjoy seeing my daughter grow.
So many women experience PND without knowing, do not suffer alone…there are many people out there that share the same story; there are medics that can help. Therefore as long as those people carry on helping PND sufferers, you’re never alone.