Mental health after pregnancy – The day I asked for help

mental health after pregnancy

Recently I shared my story about my mental health after pregnancy, how I have been feeling anxious and horrible since I gave birth to Alex in October. I have been completely overwhelmed by the response I have had to the post, everyone has been so supportive and I was actually quite surprised to see how many fellow bloggers have felt the same way as me, I really felt like I was the only one. Although I was terrified publishing that post, worried I would be judged or people would view me differently, I needn’t have worried as the response has been nothing but positive. I have had a post sitting in my drafts for months now, a post I wrote the day I realised something had to give. The day where I phoned my health visitor in tears and spoke to my GP. The first day of my fight to get myself back on track, to find myself again amongst the anxiety and stress, yet it was also the day where I felt like I had hit rock bottom. After allowing myself to be honest and share my experience of perinatal anxiety I have started to feel a lot better. It is a slow climb though and there are still bad days, days that are just so difficult, where the intrusive thoughts take over and I feel like I am being the worst possible Mum ever. But writing about all those horrible thoughts and feelings has really helped me to start to feel better so I have decided it is time I pressed publish on that post that has been sitting gathering dust in my drafts folder for months. It is quite hard for me to read back as the feelings I wrote about are still very raw but I know that by sharing them it will help me to recover from this and hopefully show other mums who are feeling this way that they are not alone.

The day I asked for help.

For the past 3 weeks or so I’ve felt like crap. I wish I could tell you all why but I just don’t know. I’ve tried to ignore the bad feelings, the anxiety, the sadness and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed for no reason but I can’t.

All over Christmas I plastered a smile on my face, it was a fake most of the time but I wanted so badly for it to be real. My baby boy’s first Christmas and the first one where my eldest was excited for Santa’s visit and I didn’t enjoy it. The whole day I just felt flat, no amount of beautiful smiles from my baby or magical looks of joy from my boy could shift this bad feeling, this feeling that the weight of the world was on my shoulders, crushing me and spoiling everything.

Yesterday I told my husband how bad I felt and today I crumbled to pieces after waking up still sad, even after letting the lid off the bottle and spilling out the truth to my husband. I thought I’d feel better after telling him I’ve been feeling sad every day but I don’t feel better at all. This morning I woke up wanting today to be a good day, by 10am I was on the phone to the health visitor in tears and by half past 10 she was sat on my sofa telling me it wasn’t my fault I felt this way and that I will feel better again, it might just take some time. After letting all my anxious thoughts and feelings come flooding out and admitting to her I had no idea why I felt this way, the health visitor got me to make an appointment to see the GP. That is where I’ve just got home from now with a leaflet on post natal depression in one hand and a bit of paper with details of a follow up appointment for 2 weeks time in the other.

I always thought post natal depression was something that happened in the very early days once your baby was born, not nearly 2 months in. I always thought post natal depression meant you weren’t bonding with your baby and made you feel like you weren’t a good enough mother. It turns out post natal depression can be those feelings but so many others too. It’s not normal to want to cry every day for no reason. It’s not good for you to feel anxious over leaving the house and keeping yourself cooped up within the same 4 walls every day. Feeling overwhelmed, miserable, anxious and generally rubbish are all signs of post natal depression, according to my leaflet, GP and health visitor.

I have to admit, I feel like a fraud for even entertaining the idea I may have post natal depression. Yes I am crying every day and feel the worst I’ve ever felt but what about all those women who feel so much worse than I do right now? How can I have the same illness as mothers who feel like ending it all when I have never even contemplated doing something like that? How can I have PND when there are mothers suffering out there who can’t love their baby no matter how hard they try but I feel nothing but love when I look at my children? Are my feelings still valid? Are things really as bad as they feel

I thought talking to my husband and health care professionals would help. I thought writing about it now would work as some kind of therapy. I hoped trying to sort my jumbled thoughts into succinct sentences would help. It hasn’t. Talking has left me feeling fearful for what’s to come, meetings with perinatal workers and potential counselling. Writing has made me worry I sound like a drama queen, overreacting because parenting two kids is proving to be more difficult than she thought. Where blogging is usually cathartic, writing this post has been stressful and although the words have flown fairly smoothly from mind to keyboard, my chest has been knotted and heart has been thumping the whole time I’ve been sat here.

I don’t know when I’ll publish this, or if I ever will but I just had to write it. I don’t know how long I will feel this way but I’m hoping now I’ve shared my feelings with all the right people I can start to feel like my old happy self again. Talking may not have made me feel better but it hasn’t made me feel any worse. I know it was the right thing to do though and if you’re feeling like this too then speak up, it’s the first, admittedly most difficult, step to getting yourself better.

*    *    *

I wrote that sometime at the end of last year and over the last 6 weeks or so there have been lots of peaks and troughs but now my eyes are filling with unexplained tears less often and the anxiety can be kept at bay most days with lots of hard work on my part. I know it’s going to take time but I really hope a day will come soon when I feel better again, I don’t want Alex’s first year to be ruined by these feelings. I just want to smile more, laugh more, enjoy my life more. I don’t want to have to fake any of that. I want it all to be real.

This is the beginning of my story about mental health after pregnancy , if you have ever felt the same way I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below. Although I was sad to read that so many other bloggers have had to deal with similar feelings to me, it was also such a relief to know I was not the only one and I found great comfort in reading the stories of others. If you are going through this right now too I am sending you a virtual hug and, just know this, I know how you feel. You’re not alone.

This post is linked to some of these amazing blog link ups. If you love blogs, go check them out and share the love.

blogginggood   twinklytuesdaybestandworstlinky

Mummy Times Two
My Petit Canard
Twin Mummy and Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
PoCoLo

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44 Comments

  1. February 13, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Oh wow, firstly well done on opening up and admitting you were struggling. It’s hard sometimes to let go when we bottle things up. I’m glad you’re getting the support you need and hope things bet easier. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your journey for #marvmondays x
    Fran Back With A Bump recently posted…Marvellous MondaysMy Profile

  2. February 13, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    I’m so glad to hear you’ve reached out for help. I hope with time you find a way to manage your feelings and start feeling happy again. It must be a daunting journey ahead of you, but you’re an amazing mum to your two boys in spite of these challenges so I’m sure you have the strength to do it. Just remember to be kind to yourself and remember there will be ups and downs. If you have a bad day then don’t let guilt eat away at you too. Your boys will either not remember this part of their life or only remember the happy care-free moments so you need to what is right for you xx #MarvMondays
    Angela Watling recently posted…Five Favourite Finds #9My Profile

  3. February 13, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    I’m so glad you got such a good response. When I read your original post I was overwhelmed. It was so brave to open up like that and I’m sure you helped many other people. I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced the same, but I’ve definitely found being a mum harder mentally than I anticipated. No one really talks about the hard stuff, so it’s difficult when it’s not all roses. #bigpinklink
    Kelly recently posted…A family day out at Chartwell: Our National Trust adventuresMy Profile

  4. February 13, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    #postsfromtheHeart #marvmondays truth is sometimes so hard to pinpoint by pen when the world is whirling around you. I’m not surprised at the reaction of this post and posts like it. So many people suffer in silence and I’m glad you are on a road to a new you. Love to your hubby too, it must be hard for him to not be able to make you better x

  5. February 13, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty; every time I see someone sharing honestly about mental health it gives me hope. The more we talk about it the more we can help each other. #PostsFromTheHeart

  6. February 13, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    So honestly written and i felt like i was reading about myself in places. its strange to think that at the exact same time as you, I was also going through the same, the same feeling, anxiety and fear and writing a similar post! You are certainly not alone and day by day things will start to improve. I found the hardest thing by far was accepting that I had PND but we can do it 🙂 stay strong and stay honest about how you feel xx

  7. February 14, 2017 / 8:31 am

    I’m really pleased you opened up to your husband and have reached out for support. You don’t need to feel like you are facing this alone anymore and that’s a huge step. Good luck with everything and I hope you get all the support you need, #twinklytuesday

  8. February 14, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    Well done for publishing this post. I know how scary and hard it is, I have suffered with depression and anxiety for a very long time. Also well done for seeking help. I know that isn’t easy as well. I put it off for a long time, but looking back I wish I had done it sooner. Good luck and just know you aren’t alone. x #MarvMondays
    Ky recently posted…Wish list – Home Office/Blogging SpaceMy Profile

  9. February 14, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    This hit me, right in the heart. Good on you for seeking help and good on you for posting this and asking these questions which should be asked. We should encourage each other to share our stories as you say in your post, PND does and can look different for everyone. It’s great that you have taken the first step. Thanks for linking with #bigpinklink

  10. February 15, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Hi Wendy, seeking help is so difficult, but it is a positive step in the right direction. I do believe you are right to share you story just so that other Mums know it is okay to admit to feeling crappy and it is okay to ask for help. I found it hard to cope after having my son, I honestly believed it was me not knowing anything about being a Mum. It wasn’t until I had my daughter and I felt so much more in control that I realised I had been suffering depression at that time. Had I known that it was a common thing I may have asked for help and not kept things to myself.

    Hope you feel on top of the world soon.

    xx
    Debbie Roberts recently posted…The Intrepid Explorers Search For The Church In A Cave, MachairadoMy Profile

  11. February 15, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    I know how you feel. I felt those feelings too. I loved Peachy from the moment I met her too and I’ve never considered ending it all. I never could. I have Peachy and she needs me. But those feelings of anxiety, being overwhelmed, and just sadness that you can’t explain are very real.

    On top of that there was the constant questioning myself and fears that my baby hated me. It’s been 14 months and I won’t say that I’m good as new but it did get better. For one, things get easier as babies get older and slightly more independent. The fact that Peachy is now somewhat able to show me that she loves me is a huge relief and makes me feel like less of a failure. Some of it has to be hormonal as I just feel a bit more emotionally stable.

    I don’t believe any woman who claims to not have had at least a few of these feelings after birth. How could they not? Our bodies get ripped apart and put back together. Our hormones go on a nine month roller coaster ride which ends in a bungee jump. We suddenly become the responsible for this fragile little being that we have to care for to the best of our abilities every minute of every day. Always listening. Always watching. Always worrying and waiting for that cry that calls us to their side.

    And this little person whom we’re overwhelmed with love for is, at best, indifferent to us. Why do we expect anything different? We have nine months of getting to know them while they know nothing of our existence. They find themselves suddenly thrust into a strange wold of giants. But they do catch up. They do fall in love with us. It does get better with time. #bestandworst

  12. February 16, 2017 / 10:18 am

    You have taken a huge step into getting back to who you used to be and that it so important. You will get through this and come out the other side. Keep strong lovey and thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst
    Helen Gandy recently posted…Best and Worst Linky #84My Profile

  13. February 17, 2017 / 5:14 am

    I’m so glad you reached out for help! I hope your story helps other women in the same situation. #BlogCrush

  14. February 17, 2017 / 6:11 am

    Firstly, well done for talking to your husband, health visitor and GP about it 🙂 getting help can prevent it from getting any worse, and admitting that you need help can only be a good thing in the long run.
    I’m so sorry that you felt like this, and I don’t think anyone will think you are being dramatic! PND affects people in different ways, and crying every day is never a good thing!
    I’m so glad that you got help and that you’re beginning to feel a bit better
    Xxx

  15. February 17, 2017 / 6:17 am

    You are amazing for speaking up about how you’re feeling and seeking support. It’s so important and I have no doubt it will put you on the road to getting back to your happy self. Life as Mama isn’t easy – be kind to yourself xxx #BlogCrush

  16. February 17, 2017 / 6:23 am

    Oh wendy I was holding my breath reading this. I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling like this but thank you for sharing the truth which is just as important as all the stunning Instagram shots of you and your beautiful family that we all love xxx
    #blogcrush
    MMT recently posted…Negotiating the best price when renovating your kitchenMy Profile

  17. February 17, 2017 / 7:51 am

    Your first post was so honest and I said it would help so many people. This honesty is so important in order to reach out to others who are suffering in silence. You are the brave one and your bravery will help so many people. I hope that you can gain strength from that. Alison x #BlogCrush

  18. February 17, 2017 / 7:53 am

    You’re so brave for opening up and then talking about this, you’re using your experience to help others and that’s amazing. It’S heartbreaking to hear how you were feeling but I’m so pleased you’re starting to feel better. #blogcrush

  19. February 17, 2017 / 8:01 am

    Firstly, well done you brave mama, its so hard reaching out and asking for help. It’s ok not to feel ok, I felt bad for the first year and I wish I’d asked for more help and support.
    Secondly, huge hugs xx #BlogCrush
    Lisa | Pass The Prosecco Please recently posted…Stuck in Painsville againMy Profile

  20. February 17, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Sending a big hug . It’s so important to talk about these feelings, yet we don’t. Well done for recognising that you needed support. I think admitting it to yourself is the first step to recovery. It’s not easy, hang in there, you can do it, xxx#Blogcrush
    Helen recently posted…Helen’s Heroes Series – Bob RossMy Profile

  21. February 17, 2017 / 10:51 am

    It’s good to talk and by opening up you are also letting people know and understand more about PND. I remember that I was shocked to find out that PND is not generally something that happens straight after birth, it was nearly six months after that mine started. Thankfully, I only had it once, with my firstborn, the other four I’ve been fine. I hope your recovery continues well x #BlogCrush

  22. February 17, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    This touches me. I know how you feel. Glad you reached out. Good luck on the journey forward. #blogcrush

  23. February 17, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    You’re very brave, and courageous, to be open and honest. You done the right thing by opening up to your partner, I’m glad you had some good support from your HV. #Blogcrush

  24. February 18, 2017 / 12:38 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us… post-natal depression is more common than we think (or know), and it doesn’t mean anyone’s lesser of a mum. The important step is to recognise one needs help. Motherhood involves a lot of good moments, but plenty of hard-hitting ones too. I’m so glad all is well now. Hugs.
    #BlogCrush
    Nicole – Tales from Mamaville recently posted…A letter to my son on Valentine’s Day…My Profile

  25. February 19, 2017 / 12:22 am

    Acknowledging the need for help and seeking it out is the hardest step. Well done for stepping out of your silence and sadness. I wish you all the success in the world, take each day as it comes, try not to put too much on yourself and try not to set your expectations to levels which are unattainable. Here with you. x #blogcrush
    The Aloha Mummy recently posted…It’s the Humidity… (or is it the Hormones?!)My Profile

  26. February 19, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    This is such an incredibly brave post to write and one that I am certain will help many many people over the years – not only the women going through PND, but also their partners, families and friends to understand the thoughts going on in their heads. I’m so glad that slowly you are starting to feel a little better in yourself, and send lots of love and hopes that this continues. Thank you so much for linking up this post to #PostsFromTheHeart.

  27. February 19, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    You are so brave to have opened up and even braver to write this. I am glad that you are getting the help you need and that you are feeling a little better. Sending you lots of hugs. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Easy Mom and Baby – Bamboo products reviewMy Profile

  28. February 19, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    Oh Wendy, I am so sad to hear that you’ve been struggling with this 🙁 I think you are so brave to write this post and I’m sure lots of people will get real comfort from reading this – just to know that they’re not the only ones.

    Try not to worry about whether other people are “worse than you” or not. I had depression a few years back, and I used to mentally punish myself because I felt I didn’t have a good enough reason to be depressed – my life circumstances were generally okay. But the truth is, that doesn’t matter – depression still feels the same; it still feels intense and all-encompassing.

    I’m glad that you’ve been able to talk to people and I hope that you can continue on your road to recovery. #BlogCrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…BlogCrush #01: Fri 17th FebruaryMy Profile

  29. February 19, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Once again well done for speaking out – I’m sure this post will help lots of people. Glad you seeking help & really hope it’s going well #postsfromtheheart

  30. February 21, 2017 / 6:01 am

    Well done for speaking up and getting the help you need, it takes courage to admit we are struggling but it’s such an important step. And by sharing your story on here you will help more people than you’ll ever know. Stay strong, you’ve got this x
    #BlogCrush
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  31. February 21, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    Such a brave honest post. It must have been very hard to write. So many of us struggle in the days, weeks, months, even years after having babies and it really helps having people like you bravely opening up about it. You are an an amazing mother for talking. It does ease up I promise x

  32. February 23, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    It’s so good you were able to talk to your husband and health visitor. I hope things continue to get better for you. Anxiety is so common. I have suffered with health anxiety in the past and I expected/was looking out for anxiety to return after the birth of my daughter. It flared up a bit but luckily it was under control quite early on. xx #BlogCrush

  33. February 24, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Well done you for opening up and asking for help. I think there’s so much on mums to be ‘back to normal’ and there is stigma about struggling emotionally as a new mum. Hope it continues to get better for you xx #KCACOLS

  34. February 24, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    I’m so proud of you for sharing!! It’s not easy to open up when you’re already feeling so vulnerable! I had bad postnatal anxiety after my 2nd son which was impounded by exhaustion because he was colicky and didn’t sleep for long periods. I never told anyone how anxious I was because I was embarrassed of my fears and mine wasn’t all consuming so I can’t even imagine how hard it could be!!! Lots of mommy hugs coming your way! #Kcacols

  35. February 24, 2017 / 7:12 pm

    Well done! Thank you so much for sharing. My sister has Postnatal depression at the moment. She is taking sertraline. So far, the drugs don’t seem to be working. It is really tough seeing her so unhappy. I don’t really know what to do. Pen x #KCACOLS

  36. March 1, 2017 / 1:52 pm

    Such a wonderfully honest post Wendy. I think asking for help is the best thing you can do, and it’s something I know I need to do to get past my own mental health issues. I have a fair bit of anxiety and it often comes out in the form of excessive ‘checking’. I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that I think I need some help to push through it because it is affecting day to day life a bit. So thank you for your honesty, and for putting this post out there and giving me another push to go and talk to someone. x #KCACOLS

  37. March 19, 2017 / 8:55 am

    It’s a huge step to give a voice to those feelings and a very brave post. I didn’t suffer with PND but know a lot of women that did. Taking those first steps is so important, well done you for reaching out and getting help.
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo
    (Sorry for the epically late comment!)
    Morgan Prince recently posted…Post Comment Love 17th – 19th MarchMy Profile

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