For me the biggest battle with Postnatal Depression was admitting I needed help. I felt as though everyone was judging my every move as a mother especially as I returned to full-time work. I thought I needed to prove that I could be a great working mum as well as keep a clean house, be the perfect wife and of course show that my son was in no way suffering in being away from me and in childcare.
Truth is I had on multiple occasions wondered if I was indeed suffering with postnatal depression, I'd looked up the symptoms on Goggle many time and even though I could totally relate to most of it I would brush it off 'I'm Fine' it'd tell myself - I was anything but fine, far from it. On another occasion I booked myself a doctor's appointment - right this was it I was going to tell them how I was feeling and get help. The day before I was due to go I cancelled the appointment, I was convinced If I did have PND that I would be referred to social services and they would take my baby away from me.
Of course eventually everything cracked around me as it wall all too much to achieve for any mum, let alone one with a mental illness. My little man was 18 months old by the time I admitted I needed help and went to the GP. I had to have several weeks off work and antidepressants for a total of so far 15 months. The longer PND is left untreated the longer the recovery period. I'm nearing the end of my journey FINALLY - I've started to reduced my medication so hopefully soon I'll be done with them!
I urge all mums out there if you're struggling please seek help, the sooner the better - don't be daft like me I can assure you it's not a great idea! No-one will think you're a bad mum or take your baby away from you. There is help out there and you can and will recover. I have *nearly* and I promise you although taking the first step is the hardest, it does get easier and is totally worth it. I'm grateful for the help I received as it has given me back the love and joy for my baby that was stolen from me by the postnatal depression.
I know this illness can make you feel alone, but you are not alone - you'll be surprised how many mums there are out there that have been through and felt exactly how you do. It takes time to recover but you will, give yourself a break you're doing a great job!
The best advice I had was from my wonderful GP and it has always stuck with me throughout my journey with PND "Postnatal Depression is the same as 'normal' depression, the fact that it says 'Postnatal' is just to show the time in your life you suffer from it - after your baby. It's no reflection on your ability as a mother".
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