I run the Gentlemen's Dads Club and I'm part of The Parenting Chapter as a dad expert, I had a life that looked perfect on paper, but after the births of my two children I struggled to cope. Here, I explain how I overcame postnatal depression and why it spurred me on to help other men in the same position
When I went in to give birth to Elijah, I didn't just become a mum, I became a NICU Mum. This was not in the birth plan. I never considered in a million years that there would be something wrong with my baby, let alone I would watch him fight for his life in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for nine days before we could finally bring him home.
For 12 years, my husband and I have been trying for children. It's such a simple aspiration, something so natural. To have a family. When the simple becomes a nightmare, it can take over your life and result in feeling like a total failure. To do the simplest thing, to know that my body is letting me down so badly is hard to process.
Weaning off the breast doesn't have to be an all or nothing event and it also needn't be a conscious parent-led decision. If you and your baby are happy the way things are, then you may consider continuing to breastfeed until he or she decides that time's up and weans themselves naturally. On the other hand, if taking charge of the weaning process is the right decision for you, it's ideal to take it gradually and as gently as possible.
I never really thought of myself as someone who suffers from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I mean, I do weird things like never walk on the pavement cracks, run back to the kettle before it boils and clicks off and always have to beat the person walking behind me to the next lamp-post, but everyone does that right?
I had slumped down in a chair and was unaware of the commotion, as a swarm of doctors and midwives surrounded me and hoisted me up onto a bed. A short time later, I opened my eyes to find myself breathing through an oxygen mask and shaking uncontrollably. All I could hear repeatedly were the words, 'We need blood!'
That was seven years ago. I always felt that by now I would have had my three. That the gap would be smaller. That my family would be complete. And now on the verge of turning 40, I am beginning to have to question my younger self. If she was here now, this younger self of mine, I would be having quite a debate with her I can tell you!