The picture that means SO MUCH
Like any mum, I love my children, but there have been times in the past few years when
I was terrified it was actually me they needed to be protected from.
My first son, Zachary, was born in October 2014. Throughout the pregnancy, I’d been so excited to meet him and, when he arrived, it was the happiest I’d ever felt. But that feeling of pure elation started to ebb.
I’d find myself staring at him in a daze as he slept, tears trickling down my cheeks. At first, I thought it was just the baby blues but, when I started crying during night feeds, often feeling sad and alone, I was worried. When my then-husband Jack asked if everything was OK, I couldn’t even pretend I was fine, admitting I didn’t know why I was feeling so down, but what I did know was that I didn't feel like I could be the mummy Zachary deserved.
After confiding in my mum, Tina, then 57, she advised me to speak to my doctor.
My GP was quick to give me a diagnosis. ‘We’re dealing with postnatal depression – PND,’ she said. I didn’t have a history of depression or anxiety, but my GP said what I was feeling was common. In fact, one in 10 women experience PND within a year of birth, and it can affect different women in different ways. For me, I was withdrawn.
My doctor suggested talking therapy and medication, and I also got in touch with PANDAS, a charity supporting parents who are experiencing PND. Talking to other women was a huge help and, by May 2015, I felt strong enough to stop taking my medication.
‘I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST BABY BLUES’
Five months on, Jack and I even started trying for another baby and, when I fell pregnant almost straight away, we were thrilled. Yet part of me was worried PND would resurface.
Sadly, in January 2016, while I was still pregnant, I began struggling again, and I was diagnosed with postnatal anxiety.
Friends and family rallied – so, when Erin was born in July 2016, I could focus my energy on her, and was able to come off medication after a month.
When I fell pregnant again in September 2017, we all felt prepared – but, after Charlie was born in June 2018, I had no symptoms.
Sadly, in January 2020, Jack and I separated, and I've been getting used to the very busy life of solo parenting. Still, I urge any new mum who feels like she’s struggling to talk to family, friends and her GP. If I can come out the other side, then you can, too.
Erin, Zachary and Charlie
Cat struggled with postnatal depression