Post natal depression, it’s not how I imagined

Post natal depression, it’s not how I imagined

I never thought I would suffer with post natal depression. Then again, I doubt many women think they will get it either. It is not what you think about when you are pregnant is it? You are too busy thinking about the little human growing inside you, planning for their arrival and imaging the life as a family that is waiting for you just around the corner. Thoughts of whether you will feel sad for months on end or if you will feel completely overwhelmed by it all aren’t really common place amongst the excitement over adorable baby clothes and decorating the nursery.

Well, I didn’t consider I would get PND anyway. But I did and it is not what I had expected it to be.

Post natal depression, it is not how I imagined

I always thought post natal depression meant you couldn’t love your baby, for me that is not the case. I thought sufferers of post natal depression were suicidal, that is not the case for me either. The media made me believe if you suffered from PND then you thought about hurting your baby, you thought about hurting yourself or you just sat in the dark and cried for months. I was misguided, misinformed, and I was naïve. Post natal depression is not black and white, it is not a one size fits all condition. For some women post natal depression shows itself in one way and in others it comes to the surface in a totally different manner.

Post natal depression caught me completely off guard. I didn’t see it coming, I never expected it to become a part of my life, I thought I was too happy to ever get depressed. I am happily married, have a lovely family and children who are my world, what have I got to be sad about?  And that is my naivety to the complexity of mental health, displayed neatly in that last sentence. There doesn’t need to be a reason, depression can hit any of us at any time, sometimes circumstances and situations can cause it and other times it can just show up uninvited.

My second baby was about 2 months old when I realised something wasn’t quite right. Again, my misconception of post natal depression led me to ignore my symptoms for weeks, convinced I must just be feeling down, the baby blues maybe, as post natal depression crops up within the days after birth doesn’t it? You can’t be feeling happy for almost 2 months and then suddenly just get it can you? Post natal depression isn’t like the flu, you don’t just ‘catch it’. Often it can begin as a slow burn, something you can just push aside and try to ignore, but as time wears on the sadness and anxiety shout louder, refusing to let you carry on with life as normal.

Before I was one of them, I thought sufferers of post natal depression were sad all the time, crying all the time and they were easy to spot because they rarely smiled. This is not the case at all. Over Christmas I fake smiled my way through countless family gatherings, I pretended to be happy when I wasn’t. I lied to everyone around me every time they asked how I was and I said I was ok. No amount of forced smiles or ignoring the elephant in my brain could stop the sadness and anxiety that was constantly niggling in my chest, picking at me and dragging my mood down to depths I wasn’t willing to go. Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they are happy, don’t assume a new mum is coping just because she says she is ok – it is hard enough admitting to yourself that you are struggling, let alone telling friends and family that you are depressed.

The smiles though, they are not always fake. It is possible to be depressed but to also have times of happiness. I mean, I have post natal depression but I still have days that are full of fun, my kids and my family make me laugh for real and I do still use my genuine smile too. Having post natal depression just means for me there is always this unhappiness within me, sometimes it feels like it consumes me but there are other days where I can manage it. There are lots of days where I can tackle the sadness head on, lock it away and go about my day, genuinely enjoying my time with my family and not even giving it a second thought. Those are my favourite kind of day, some time really soon I hope to be able to keep that sadness locked away for good.

post natal depression

Having post natal depression for me doesn’t mean I am suicidal or that I can’t bond with my child. For me, this horrible mental health condition shows itself in the form of intrusive thoughts, anxiety and tears that just can not be explained. It is a constant weight on my shoulders (thankfully now not as heavy as it once was), it is the dull shadow that is cast over my days and is the reason I look at my baby and sometimes feel sad. The sadness is not because he makes me unhappy, he doesn’t, it is because for the 7 months he has been on this planet he hasn’t been able to see the real me. I am not a miserable and anxious person, in my heart I am happy and positive. I love to laugh and to smile and take pleasure in everything life has to offer, unfortunately there are days the person I really am and the person this depression want me to be start to blur together; a mess of heightened emotions and feelings. Mostly I am sad for my youngest child as he hasn’t had the same baby days as his big brother, a time when I was able to be the happy mum I always wanted to be, not this tearful imposter.

I have also learnt that there is no easy cure. Talking helps, it really does help if you can find the courage to get the words out. Anti depressants can work for some, I have turned these down for my own reasons but there is no shame in taking pills to feel better. You’d take paracetamol for a headache, wouldn’t you? Self care is important, time for yourself doing something you enjoy can work wonders. Unfortunately, I have also come to realise that you can start to feel better, almost like your old happy self, only for post natal depression to resurface again, once more unannounced and very much not invited. At this moment in time I am struggling again, I have that uneasy feeling and can’t budge that niggling in my chest. I am hoping this is just a small bump in the road back to happiness and I can work through these feelings again.

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I guess all I am trying to say is this, our mental health is complex and it is hard to understand what someone else is going through. If I could show who I am now to the person I was a year ago, that past version of myself wouldn’t think they are looking at someone suffering with post natal depression. What we perceive something to be and what it actually is can be two completely different things. If you are a new mum and think you might have pnd but are reluctant to seek help because you don’t feel how the media has made you believe you should feel then please seek some support. Like lots of illnesses, post natal depression is not the same for everyone, you can love your baby and have never even contemplated hurting yourself or your children but that doesn’t mean you might not have this very common mental health condition. Post natal depression affects around 1 in 10 new mums, there is no way all those mums feel it in the same way.

If you think you have post natal depression, click this link for a list of charities and helpful resources and please speak to someone about it. Bottling up these feelings will only make you feel worse. If you want to read more about my struggles with post natal depression then you can find all my posts about it in the mental health section on my blog.

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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  1. June 11, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    Such an important thing to share. Parents-to-be should be made aware of the reality of the early months and the difficulties. x
    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes recently posted…Parental guilt.My Profile

  2. June 11, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Yeah I like mental health in general, there are a lot of misconceptions about what people go through during PND. My wife’s anxeity really ramped up.

  3. June 12, 2017 / 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing your story, I have suffered many years with mental illness and no two people are the same and its hard to understand what people go through. #PostsFromTheHeart
    Lisa (mumdadplus4) recently posted…Prezzo La Famiglia Sharing Bowls My Profile

  4. June 12, 2017 / 10:30 am

    Great post sharing your story and raising awareness. It is such a complex condition and the more people talking about it gives such a insight into what to expect for people who are going into motherhood and for people who may think they could be suffering from PND. A very interesting read xx #bigpinklink

  5. June 12, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    Thank you for this post. It resonates a lot with me. I felt very similar for the first two years of little ones life. I feel great at the moment but it’s only been the last few months. Because I left it so long in the hope it was normal or it would go away I was never properly diagnosed. The GP said I may have it and gave me antidepressants. These made me feel so nauseous I couldn’t bear it. After three weeks I asked to stop them but the GP asked to see me for fortnightly checkups. When I returned the two weeks after stopping the tablets she asked me what I was doing there so I just didn’t mention it and discussed my vertigo instead and that was that. She forgot about it so I did. I don’t know what changed but I feel great and I’m hopeful it won’t return. It’s such a difficult illness to discuss though.
    Cassie recently posted…The opposition party – trying to be more at peace with the world’s issuesMy Profile

  6. June 12, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Do you know what? I had no idea just like your pre-PND self. Thank you for educating me! I don’t suffer with it, but I know I want to have more children, and knowing this may really help one day if I ever do. I really wish you all the best and hope that you can find that place without it again – I think you’re brilliant for sharing this whilst still feeling the way you do. #bigpinklink
    Muffin top mummy blog recently posted…A new mother’s guide to mummy etiquette My Profile

  7. June 13, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    Self care is so important but as a new mum there’s little time for yourself. I started with focusing on water. Which actually is a necessity but I wasn’t taking care of myself. So I treated myself to a nice bottle and said I’m going to drink two of these a day. Things became clearer and I started to do 5 mins mediation again each day and then I added more and I’m writing again but I think self care is the key. If we don’t take care of ourselves then we have nothing to give the people we take care of. Great post! #TriumphantTales
    Mama Grace recently posted…Magpie ChildMy Profile

  8. June 13, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Aw hun, I feel you. I spent the entirety of 2016 struggling through PND, It breaks my heart to think I feel like I missed the first year of Rhyds life. It was like a cloud of doom for me. Things kept going wrong which meant everything was always going to go wrong forever, nothing would ever work out for us and I’d never be happy again, or so my brain told me. Somehow, as if a veil were lifted, just after the start of this year (around his 1st birthday, actually) I felt suddenly lighter. I can’t explain it but one day I just woke up and I could see clearly again, without the doom. I felt like I could breathe deep again and actually see a future with joy and possibilities. I know how hard it is when you’re stuck in the thick of it, but I promise you, This Too Shall Pass. You will see clearly again and breathe deeply again. In the meantime, if you ever want to talk, I am always happy to listen xxx #postsfromtheheart
    Claire recently posted…Family Holidays: Creating TraditionsMy Profile

  9. June 14, 2017 / 4:12 pm

    I have to admit I don’t know much about PND, as I have never been through it myself. Your post is very insightful and it’s interesting to know just how wrong my preconceptions of PND are. I know so many people who have been through PND, it’s definitely something that should be discussed more pre-birth. Thanks for linking up to #BigPinkLink 🙂 x

  10. June 15, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Such a great post to highlight. I think we all believe that it won’t happen to us, and I have been very fortunate that it hasn’t happened to me. I know too well though, how many people are affected by this and no two cases are the same. I hope you get through this current episode lovely. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  11. June 15, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    Fabulous post Wendy as really challenges some of the beliefs of PND. I’m so sorry you felt so rubbish and are still working on it. But well done you for speaking out and getting some help and support. I hope this passes and you can continue being the brill Mum you are. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x
    Sarah Howe recently posted…Best and Worst Week #98My Profile

  12. June 16, 2017 / 5:13 am

    Thank you for sharing and for including a link with resources. #BlogCrush

  13. June 16, 2017 / 6:44 am

    I am so glad (and proud of you) for writing this – it’s so beautifully honest and opens others eyes to the fact PND isn’t the stereotype shown in the media. You’re stronger than you realise honey xx #blogcrush

  14. June 16, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! There is so much I didn’t know about PND! Such a beautiful, honest, and brave post. Thanks!

  15. June 16, 2017 / 9:47 am

    This is such an important issue for you to share, so well done to you. PND is still something that many of us don’t like the thought of for fear of being judged. I cannot be happier that you’ve decided to share your story. #BlogCrush

  16. June 16, 2017 / 9:52 am

    What a lovely honest post. This is what my PND was like after my second baby. I could continue to do everything and look after everyone and completely function so people think you don’t have it. I’m now through that stage but realised recently I have quite bad anxiety. I’ve finally seen someone about it. I too don’t want any medication and I’ve been offered an anxiety management course. This is all through my local ‘Time to Talk’. So if anyone out there is feeling the same, ask your GP. I wish I hadn’t struggled through it the last two years. #BlogCrush

  17. June 16, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Well said! You’re so right about taking what you need to feel better. I love your honesty, after Baby D was born I thought I had PND and it was only through talking to the midwives that I discovered I was infact suffering from post traumatic stress and I was truly able to understand exactly what had happened during his birth and events after. Thankfully talking about it for me helped me get over it really quickly but I know it’s not a quick fix for everyone or everything. Although as you say these things have a way of coming back, when things are difficult I can regress and have flashbacks but talking about it helps me realise I can get over it and it is normal. Thanks again for sharing, sorry for the novel! #blogcrush

  18. June 16, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    It can be very misunderstood that is for sure. Such a fab post and thanks for writing about it, thanks for hosting #blogcrush
    Helen Gandy recently posted…Parenting – The ChallengeMy Profile

  19. June 17, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    This post definitely sheds some light onto an often stigmatized condition. I can relate to many of your preconceived ideas about depression. I was diagnosed wth major depressive disorder a few months ago and that surprised me a little. I did have an inkling a diagnosis would be coming once I filled out a screening questionnaire on depression for a mental assessment for another condition, but it still feels a little weird. The most important symptom for me is this heaviness in my body and this constant feeling of something overshadowing my happy moents. Thank you for posting such a relatable piece. #PostsFromTheHeart
    Astrid recently posted…Finally Starting My Weight Loss JourneyMy Profile

  20. June 17, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    I think depression is very cruel. It’s never as ‘textbook’ as it seems. Hormones add to the issue. I’m sorry you are struggling again but the fact that you know to write all that you did in this post means you have a good chance of beating it quickly this time round! #KCACOLS

  21. June 18, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    There are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding pnd and we need posts like this to show the truth of it. I also thought pnd came on immediately after birth or not at all. I’m glad to have read this post and learned this isn’t the case at all.
    I hope you’re feeling better soon.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Random Musings recently posted…The Million Dollar Blog: Book ReviewMy Profile

  22. June 18, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I suspect I may have had post-natal depression, but because it didn’t hit until my daughter was around 4 months old, I wrote it off as something else. The more people talk about this condition, the more women are likely to get the support they need if they suspect they have it. #BlogCrush
    The Squirmy Popple recently posted…Why I didn’t vote in the last electionMy Profile

  23. June 19, 2017 / 5:09 am

    what I love most about what you have written is how you will help people realise altho it is not a one size fits all. Post natal depression can manifest in many ways, and with different degrees. My sister suffered post Natal Depression with her first and not her second son. It was so hard to see her struggle, but she loved her baby very much and she certainly was not thinking of harming hime or herself. With help and support from doctors and family she got through it all, and amazingly my nephew is now 17 and my sister has raised him wonderfully. That time in her life now is a distant memory.

    Having anxiety myself and after seeing my sister suffer, when I was pregnant I actually thought I would develop PND, I am still surprised I didn’t. Depression and anxiety have hit me at other times, and there is no text book case. Wonderful post lovely, well done xx #blogcrush
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…meet our baby bunnies #livingfearlesslyauthenticMy Profile

  24. June 19, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Ahhh Wendy, I really feel for you and I’m sorry you’ve been going through this. As you say, it affects so many people now, it is becoming much more highlighted in our society. Well done for being so brave and writing this post, I’m sure it will help many other mums that are going through post natal depression or anxieties. It’s only by talking about mental health issues and sharing our experiences that we can truly begin to help each other through it. Thanks for sharing with #KCACOLS, hope to see you again next time. xx

  25. June 19, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s so important that people keep talking about it so that people remain aware. I hope you start to have more and more happy days. Thanks for joining in at #TriumphantTales, hope to see you back tomorrow.

  26. June 20, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Way to go, brave mama! What a wonderful post for all of those who need this help and resources. I have experienced real depression in my 30’s and it was awful. I am glad you are working through this and will make it to the other side. And, oh btw, that little baby of yours looks so very happy! <3 Sending lovely thoughts your way. #blogcrush
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…Won by one each timeMy Profile

  27. June 20, 2017 / 9:51 am

    Oh this is such a brave, honest, helpful post. Your words on mental health are just spot on – you never think it’s going to hit you… until it does, AND it doesn’t mean you permanently overwhelmed but it’s always there below the surface. I’m sorry that you’re going through a difficult patch again, that doesn’t mean it will defeat you – you can beat this, it just takes time. And ups and downs are part of the process. #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…My Big, Fat Blogging Secret: Should I Stay Anonymous?My Profile

  28. June 20, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    I feel everything you said. I too, loved and bonded with my baby. But I just wasn’t happy. I was sad, I was miserable. I resented everyone and everything. It was hardest on my 2 year old, as my newborn didn’t know any different. Big hugs for you.

  29. June 20, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    You write so beautifully about your experiences with depression but in a matter-of-fact way which is very reassuring to anyone else who may recognise they may be suffering too. Your description of it being “in the form of intrusive thoughts, anxiety and tears that just can not be explained” is spot on for how I experience bouts of depression too. Thank you for being so open. I love the last black and white photo. xx #BlogCrush
    Hayley@ Mission: Mindfulness recently posted…PointShoot Post #6: The Great Get TogetherMy Profile

  30. June 22, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    There should definitely be more information surrounding the many different faces of PND. It’s different for everyone because everyone is different. Well done for recognising that you needed help and support. #BlogCrush

  31. June 23, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    I love how honest yet simple this is. It must feel great to share it!

  32. Alex - My LIfe Long Holiday
    June 29, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    I hope you don’t think me rude for making a suggestion but it breaks my heart when I hear about post-natal depression. I’m a health care professional and I deal with cases holistically and all I will say is that it takes approximately 1 year for hormones and chemicals to correct themselves after giving birth but sometimes (usually because of an overload of stress or anxiety – this floods the system with cortisone and adrenaline) the leveling out process goes awry and you are left with PND or terrible PMT. Acupuncture can help immensely because it helps promote healing in the body and aims to correct the levels of hormones you should be producing etc. I don’t wish to preach but it may encourage you to look into it if you so desire – it helped me and it has helped dozens of my patients too. Evening Primrose and Starflower oil combined can help too. Anyway, food for thought – do with it as you wish, and hopefully you don’t consider me preachy, honestly; I’m just trying to help. #kcacols

    • Wendy
      June 29, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you for your comment, I don’ think you are being preachy at all. I had never considered acupuncture, I will look in to it. It was interesting to learn a bit more about the biological reasons why PND happens, thank you for giving me your professional insight and advice xx

  33. June 30, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Wendy. You’ve managed to explain the misconceptions of PND in a very honest way. I’d never really considered that it’s different for everyone but it makes so much sense.

    I hope you find a way to manage it x #KCACOLS