by Melanie Rowe
I sat in a room separate from my days-old daughter Mollie, my second child, not able to hold or feed her. I didn’t know why I felt incapable of the things that were supposed to come naturally to a mother; I just knew that I couldn’t look after her. I imagined running away to anywhere but here, somewhere that I didn’t have the responsibilities placed upon me by having a baby. I wanted to sleep and never wake up, or to be awake but not feel, as all I felt was pain. Although I’d experienced post-natal depression with my first baby Alfie over a year ago, I thought that I’d ‘learned my lesson’ and that I would feel okay after the birth of my second child, but here I was again, feeling the all too familiar cloud of darkness surrounding my mind. Indeed, The Association for Postnatal Illness has revealed that studies show a 50% chance of the condition recurring after a subsequent birth if experienced previously. Furthermore, Tommy’s highlights how you are more likely to suffer from PND if you have had mental problems during your pregnancy, as I had. With the NHS revealing that PND affects 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth, it is clear that as a woman you must arm yourself with information about the condition in case you or someone you know becomes a sufferer.
With this in mind, what’s the best way for you to deal with this, and is there any way to prevent PND? According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, several interventions have been shown to prevent the condition. These include home visits by professionals, who may include your Midwife or Health Visitor. Others include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and telephone support from other women who have suffered PND. As for me, after 6 months of feeling so low I couldn’t even fake a smile anymore, my GP prescribed me with anti-depressants, which I feel probably saved my life. Whilst not for everyone, these certainly helped me see more clearly and lifted the fog which had clouded my head for so long. Babycentre has stated that between 50 and 70 per cent of women who take antidepressant find that their PND symptoms ease within a few weeks of starting treatment, and luckily for me, they helped.
So, if you find yourself in a low mood during your pregnancy that just won’t go away, or find it difficult to bond with your baby, instead of trying to carry on as normal (as this may not be normal), speak to someone about how you feel. By speaking out you give yourself a chance of happiness.
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Melanie is a Copywriter in Wellness and Women’s Health. A London mum of two young children, Melanie has dealt with anxiety and depression and writes to inform others of her own experiences. She hopes that through her writing she can inspire her readers and give them support