Mental health after pregnancy – Am I getting better?

mental health after pregnancy
It’s been a little while now since I last wrote about my anxiety and post natal depression here on the blog. It’s not that I’ve not wanted to talk about it but I’ve been so busy writing about other stuff and the kids have been keeping me on my toes, finding the time and motivation to talk about my mental health has been difficult. Anyway, since that day I found myself drowning in my sadness and anxiety in December I have been working hard, with the support of my husband, to try and get myself back on track. I’ve been trying everyday to be my happy self again and I think my efforts are starting to pay off.

Am I getting better?

mental health after pregnancy

When Alex was about 7weeks old and things were really tough I really couldn’t picture a time when I’d feel like myself again. During that time I felt like I was being crushed: crushed by constant unexplained sadness, crushed by anxiety and crushed by the pressure I was putting on myself to have everything together. Of course I didn’t have everything together, I had a very demanding 3 year old, an even more demanding baby and I was trying to juggle everything on almost zero sleep. But I’m so relieved to tell you that I’m not feeling that way anymore. Sometimes I still feel like I’m walking through a swamp, struggling to get from A to B (A being a stupidly early start and B being the kids bedtime) but now the bad thoughts and the almost all consuming sadness have passed, the hard days are just about manageable.

There was a dark time when my fear of something terrible happening to the kids was so bad that I was hardly getting out the house, my anxiety keeping me a prisoner within the walls of my own home. My mind didn’t feel like my own anymore, it had become full of intrusive thoughts and worry and, to be honest, some days I just wanted to sleep the day away so I didn’t have to think anymore. I felt guilty that I had two beautiful children but I felt miserable and I can remember the almost physical pain of forcing myself to smile in front of others. The sheer effort it took to put on a happy face when all I actually felt like doing was hiding under my duvet and having a good old cry was at times almost too much.

mental health after pregnancy

For the past couple months I have slowly started to retreat away from the dark place, I have shared how I am feeling with my family (I did manage to tell my Mum eventually) and health care professionals and have even briefly spoke about my anxiety on my personal Facebook account. Each time I open up about my feelings I increase the distance between myself and that depression filled cave I never want to return to. Talking, making time for myself and just understanding that it’s OK not feel ok sometimes have been the three key paths that are leading me back to my happier self. My husband has been amazing, understanding my anxiety has not been easy for him but he has listened and supported me in every way that he can, without him I dread to think how I’d be feeling right now.

I still feel anxious more than I would like, irrationally worrying that something awful is going to happen to my boys, but now I’m feeling happier in myself I feel in a much better place to be able to deal with these feelings instead of letting them almost take over my life. The intrusive thoughts that were leaving me wish I had an off switch for my mind are now appearing much less often and when they do show up uninvited I try my best not to let them get to me. Just by accepting and understanding a bit more everything that’s been going on with me has really helped me in my recovery. When I smile now it’s because I want to and not because I feel like I need to be – I never want to force myself to smile again. If I’m feeling low I am going to make sure I talk about it instead of hiding behind a mask of fake laughter and conversations full of lies like ‘yes everything is ok’ or ‘oh, I’m doing absolutely fine thanks!’.

I am singing (badly) to myself and the kids again, I dance around the kitchen with Leo and make up silly games with Alex. Where only a matter of months a go I wouldn’t take the boys out further than the local park and toddler groups, now I am taking them off for adventures more and not letting the ‘what ifs’ stop me. The mummy I used to be is clawing her way back up to the surface and I am so relieved to see her face every time I look in the mirror. I am reluctant to say I’m completely over the perinatal anxiety as I can still find myself in a bit of an anxious and overwhelmed state quite regularly but I don’t feel that way about my PND. Not so long a go I was crying more than I was laughing, I felt as though my life was full of a dark heavy fog and everything that should have been making me happy was having no positive effect on my mood at all. Now everything is the opposite; I can’t remember the last time I cried without reason, I feel light on my feet again and I am finding enjoyment and happiness in lots of different things.

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There is always going to be a part of me that feels sad that for the first few months of Alex’s life I didn’t enjoy being a mother of two and in lots of the photos of his first Christmas I have a smile on my face that I will always know wasn’t real. I will come to terms with this in time though, adjusting to life with two children has been really difficult for me but now, after nearly 6 months, I can honestly say I am really enjoying being mummy to my two boys. I still have bad days but don’t we all? I’m not letting those bad days or negative experiences drag me down to a place where I don’t want to be anymore. It is this determined and positive mindset that has helped me to retrieve my happy positive self back from the dark cave that was my post natal depression and given my boys their happy mummy back.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and left me lots of lovely comments on my other mental health posts, your kindness and words have helped me so much. Who knows if I’ll write about PND or anxiety again, for now though I am just going to enjoy my family, enjoy being happy and focus on writing about the things that make me happy.

Have you ever suffered with post natal depression, feelings of overwhelming anxiety after pregnancy or intrusive thoughts? I would love for you to share your experience with me in the comments, maybe we could support each other.

You can find this post linked to some of these amazing blog link ups –

Maternity Mondays | Marvellous Mondays | Posts from the Heart | #MG | Big Pink Link | Twinkly Tuesday | Dream Team | Tried and Tested | Blogger Club UK | Best and Worst | Family Fun | Cool Mum Club | A Blogging Good Time | The List Linky | PoCoLo |For the Love of Blog | KCACOLS  …and of course #BlogCrush, the linky I co host every Friday.

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40 Comments

  1. March 31, 2017 / 7:52 am

    Glad you are feeling better, I think I will always feel so much guilt for the first six months with my son, I wasn’t good at all and I wish I had treasured that time more. Hindsight eh! #BlogCrush xx

  2. March 31, 2017 / 11:11 am

    Opening up and talking about your feelings is such a big step. You don’t realise until after just what a difference it makes. It’s easy to look back and wish things had been different but it’s great to hear that your now enjoying motherhood. Don’t feel sad just keep doing an amazing job! #BlogCrush
    Becky Clark recently posted…How to Abandon Your Child and not Feel Guilty!My Profile

  3. March 31, 2017 / 11:12 am

    It’s so good of you to share your feelings I’m sure you will be of help to someone. I’m so glad that you are feeling better. I only had PND once and that was with my first. It came on when he was around 6 months old so that lovely time when your baby is becoming a real character, and all I could do was hide away and wonder what on earth was going on in my head. I did seek help and soon began to feel better. That was 29 years ago but I still remember it so well.
    #Blogcrush
    Anne recently posted…Word of the Week – WheelsMy Profile

  4. March 31, 2017 / 11:25 am

    So lovely to hear that you have come through the worst and are feeling genuinely happy again and enjoying being a mummy. Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful photos x

  5. March 31, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    I am so glad you are feeling better. I had a bad case of the baby blues after my two but nothing like the sheer misery of PND. It’s great that you are talking about it to help others. #PoCoLo

  6. March 31, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    So glad to hear you are feeling happier. I also wish I had enjoyed motherhood more in the first 3 years of it. Unfortunately we can’t go back in time, we can only make the future better.
    #blogcrush

  7. March 31, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    I’m glad you’re starting to feel in a happier place. It’ll be a steady journey but you’ll make it #blogcrush

  8. March 31, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    I’m so incredibly pleased to hear that you are feeling more like yourself again. It must have been such a tough journey for you, but well done for working so hard on yourself and for your family. Try not to feel guilty about what did or didn’t happen in those early weeks. Alex won’t remember it and your boys are both happy! Good luck with your continued recovery xx #BlogCrush
    Angela Watling recently posted…What Little H did – 2.2 yearsMy Profile

  9. March 31, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    Wendy, I was reading this trying to hold back tears, mainly because I am in a busy office. This resonated so much with me. I struggled immensely immediately after my son was born and then after a period of reasonable calm it all came crashing down as I returned to work and stopped breastfeeding _ note to self, this is NOT something to be done at the same time. It nearly stopped me in my tracks. A couple of months later we added a house move into the mix and a it basically felt like the ground had been pulled from under me. I could see no light at the end of the tunnel and it was a big, long, dark one. Like you I look at the pictures and the smiles and I know how much make-up it took to cover up the puffy eyes and blotchy skin from crying non-stop. I know how much it took from those very early years _ my son is 3 now _ but I also know now how much perspective it’s given me. I still have some pretty dark days, not aided by the fact my son doesn’t really sleep, but mostly it’s sunny with a chance of drizzle. big love to you from someone who knows exactly what “the hole” looks like, down to the smallest decorative feature on those dark walls. #blogcrush

  10. March 31, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    I am so glad you’re feeling somewhat better than before. I recently learned that I may be suffering from depression and have since I was about sen-years-old. As such, I don’t remember my happy self, though my parents say it was there at one point. It’s hard how depression teaches you a new normal. As such, I found your comment about not being able to imagine you’d ever return to your old self, resonated with me. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Astrid recently posted…Rays of Sunlight – March 2017My Profile

  11. April 1, 2017 / 9:59 am

    I find that one of the hardest things to reconcile is that when your babies are babies and you should be enjoying your time with them to the fullest, it’s also one of the toughest times of your life. Glad you are feeling better. #PoCoLo

  12. April 1, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    I remember reading your post (although I can’t believe it was back in December!?) I am so very relieved and pleased to hear that you have come through those dark times and you are back to your smiley self. Post natal depression and anxiety can have such a devastating impact, but its uplifting to read your story and see how you have come through it with the support of your hubby, and that you are able to enjoy your gorgeous family again now. Thanks for sharing this with us lovely. #blogcrush xx
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…#happylittlebuttons March Round-up My Profile

  13. April 1, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    It’s so good to read that you’re in such a good place right now, happy and enjoying your family.

    I haven’t experienced this, but thank you for sharing your story, so the rest of us can at least try and understand the pain some moms go through. Thinking of you, and hope things continue to get better and brighter. xx #blogcrush

  14. April 1, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    I’m so sorry you struggled so much, but it is absolutely amazing that you have shared your experience to help others… it’s really brave!
    P.s it’s lovely to see another slingy mama 🙂
    #blogcrush

  15. April 2, 2017 / 6:15 am

    I’m so glad your getting better. I know how you feel I too have PND. It’s so brace of you to post about it all on your blog 🙂 I’ll be following your journey 🙂 #KCACOLS

  16. April 2, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Ah Wendy…I am only just getting to know your blog better and though I knew you’d had some lows I hadn’t understood how hard you’d been hit. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written and poignant post. I think it’s so important to share ‘positive stories’ of recovery. I love that you are dancing around the kitchen again – this sort of thing always makes me realise my mood is on the up again. I am susceptible to both depression and anxiety and as you’ve probably gathered I find mindfulness really helps me. A lovely post to read. xx #BlogCrush
    Hayley@ Mission: Mindfulness recently posted…5 Mindfulness Tips to Help Young People During The Exam PeriodMy Profile

  17. April 3, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Well done for working through and coming out the other side, I hear so many horrid stories of pnd, it sounds so all consuming. #MarvMondays

  18. April 3, 2017 / 10:16 am

    Oh what a tough time you’ve had. It’s hard when you can’t see that you’re struggling, I’ve been there and it’s scary thinking back on it. I’m so glad you have a positive mindset to overcome this. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays

  19. April 3, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing, you are certainly not alone. I have lived with PND for thirteen years now and been to hell and back with it, but it does get better, keep going Mama. #KCACOLS
    five little doves recently posted…Win a family pass to Geronimo Festival!My Profile

  20. April 3, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    Oh I am so glad that you’re feeling better. When you’re in the middle of it, it can feel like there will never be an end to it. It is wonderful to hear that you are making such good progress and that you are enjoying being a mummy again. Keep working hard and you can beat this! #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…#BlogCrush Week 7: 31st March 2017My Profile

  21. April 3, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing your story and it is lovely to read that you are feeling better.

    My sister has just been admitted, with my niece, into the Mother and Baby mental health unit in Hackney, London. She has anxiety and PND in quite an extreme form. I am really worried about her. She doesn’t want to be in a psychiatric ward (that is what it is). I feel helpless because I really don’t know what I can possibly do to help her. At the moment it is really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you don’t have PND you can light your own light (I know that I can think positively and lift myself when I am feeling down) but this is something very very different.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Pen x #KCACOLS
    Pen recently posted…Women cannot have it allMy Profile

  22. April 4, 2017 / 2:43 am

    Ive been there. In pregnancy and after. Just keep fighting girl.

    #postsfromtheheart

  23. April 4, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    Thank you for opening up and sharing your experience with us all. I am so glad you are on the right path! I suffer with PND and at one point only ever left the house if hubby was with me as I was so worried something would happen that I couldnt cope with.
    Unfortunately I seem to be having a one step forward, ten steps back kind of situation lately. But today im not sobbing uncontrollably so its a good day in my book! #PoCoLo
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…Triumphant Tales #5My Profile

  24. April 5, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    I’m so proud of you, for sharing this, for opening up to your family and husband and fighting everyday to get back to your true self. Having a newborn is seriously the toughest thing ever, I am glad you are getting there beautiful lady. I have anxiety, and have at times had depression, I understand that fog so well and the guilt we feel as a mum for it. You are a fighter, and your boys are so blessed to have you. Sending such a huge amount of love your way xx Thank you for sharing this with #mg too
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Short and Sweet #mg link up timeMy Profile

  25. April 9, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this post and for sharing it with us at #PostsFromTheHeart, I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been through. I am sure however that this post and your journey will serve as inspiration to many women and give them hope in their darkest hours that things will get better.
    Mummy Times Two recently posted…I Wonder What Tomorrow Will BringMy Profile

  26. April 9, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    This is so good to hear! I’m lucky in that I’ve never experienced anything but euphoria after my babies have been born – in each case I’ve felt on a high, to the point that with Littlest B the midwife came back on day three as well as day five because she basically thought I was going to come crashing down at some point. I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel the opposite and I’m so glad you’re getting better xx #postsfromtheheart
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

  27. April 10, 2017 / 6:32 am

    So glad you are making your way out that dark cave. I don’t have PND but I do have days where I feel completely overwhelmed with anxiety but no idea what I’m anxious about, days where the intrusive thoughts in my head are impossible to silence and I just want to hide away from the world and cry. I was never brave enough to seek help but looking back I really wish I had as I think it began with my second miscarriage and went on for years. Thankfully, since starting my blog, those days happen less and less (although I had one yesterday) and when they do my husband knows to just let me be and takes charge with the kids and the cooking. I’ve learnt that fighting against the feelings only makes me worse so now I try to acknowledge the thoughts then let them pass as best I can and generally by the next day I’m back to me again. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to feel like that for days and weeks on end. Well done for opening up and finding your way back. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…#funseekingkids Week 1 Round-UpMy Profile

  28. April 10, 2017 / 9:06 am

    This is such a strong post. So powerful and will give other women going through similar struggles and can’t see an end to it hope. So happy to hear your smile is back. Similar to you I found when I began to talk about my anxiety it really did lighten the load as I didn’t have this huge secret weighing me down as well as everything else! #PostsFromTheHeart
    Daydreams of a mum recently posted…Date me! : I’m a chronic overthinker … My Profile

  29. April 10, 2017 / 2:33 pm

    Ah it’s lovely to read this again – I’m so glad that somebody added it to our #blogcrush linky! Those intrusive thoughts can be so difficult to silence, but it’s wonderful to hear that they are appearing less often and you are starting to reclaim your life from them. Having 2 kids is hard work and it takes time to adjust. It sounds like you’re well on your way though #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…#BlogCrush Week 8: 7th April 2017My Profile

  30. April 21, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Glad you’re singing again – badly, or otherwise – it’s such a good release, I’m sure you’ll make even better progress the louder you sing. Honest 🙂 Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo x

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