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To wonder if anti-depressants for PND changed your whole mindset about being a parent, or just help you cope with it better?

(28 Posts)
ohsocrispyduck Fri 05-Dec-14 06:30:05

Occasional poster, heavy lurker & for this, namechanger.
I have a nine month old DC. I had a really good pregnancy & thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant. It all went well & I had very little discomfort & TBH mostly had good experiences with midwives, GP, & gynaes. I wouldn't mind being pregnant again & may even go so far as to say that I would like to be.
I don't have any concerns with raising an only child but still think that DC would truly benefit from a sibling. DP feels so too.
But --- I have really not enjoyed the time since DC was born. We have bonded well & think DC is grand (& DC thinks me grand too) & like having DC in our life but I struggle with how overwhelming it is & how stressful & how I have almost disappeared from my own life. I know I have PND (a history of irregular D episodes so I can recognise some aspects that are similar) but have not taken meds (although offered by my GP) because I am coping okay in comparison to having previously been on meds for depression & have a good relationship with DC. DC is happy mostly & healthy, & I am not suicidal or anything. I have had some health issues since the birth (totally unrelated to DC or birth) so that probably also has an impact on my state of mind.
From friends & books & family & so on I know the first 18to24 months is the hardest & hate the thought of going through another 9 months of this 24hrs a day of caring job (even though DP shares a good 30-40% of the caring load). DC is cute & I love seeing the development but I hate DC's helplessness. It doesn't go away just changes in its nature as DC gets older.
So I also cannot imagine going through this AGAIN with having another DC irrespective of how big or small the age gap will be! I think it may break me completely.
My question is --- will taking anti-depressants actually make me want to do this again? Will all the feeding & cleaning & sleepless nights truly just not bother me anymore? Or not bother me enough anymore that I would feel happy enough to easily cope with having another DC & doing all of it over again?
If you have taken anti-depressants specifically for PND, did they really change your whole view of the world, or did they just help you cope better or get through the bad patch until DC were much older?
Posted here because people who have gotten over PND don't really frequent the current threads on mental health IME. Maybe for extra clarity or honesty from anyone who did not suffer from PND too.
Thnx for any replies.

ohsocrispyduck Fri 05-Dec-14 06:32:31

Oh --- that was a longer post than I thought. Sorry for waffling on! fblush

ShesAnEasyWuffer Fri 05-Dec-14 06:34:08

Hi, op. Not able to form a coherent and full reply (awful night with ill dd). Just wanted to say that I'm on ad's for pnd. DD is 7.5 months. They have really helped. It's still hard looking after her, especially when she's ill and not sleeping well etc but they have really helped me to cope. It just feels that life is easier and I can deal with things on a daily basis. I don't have that black cloud over me. Good luck x

LadyCassandra Fri 05-Dec-14 07:26:55

^This.
I found that the ADs just took the edge off how hard it was. I am not in the UK but I got referred to a psychologist at the same time as being given my prescription and personally I feel this helped more than the ADs. She did say that ADs make the highs not so high and the lows not so low.
I stopped taking mine after 6 months as I was feeling I could cope better than I had in the beginning. The first 18 months are really hard, especially if your child doesn't sleep, i literally couldn't function when he got to 7 months and had a total breakdown. DS started sleeping through at 13 months and that was a year ago. If you had asked me if I would have another one any time in the first 18 months of his life I would have said "no way" but now I'm open to the idea. I also had an amazing number one baby so I do realise that not all babies are the same.
Hope this helps x

dottytablecloth Fri 05-Dec-14 07:32:24

Are you asking if you should take antidepressants to help you cope with another child, if there was one?

I've never taken them, so maybe I'm not the right person to comment. However I would make sure I could function normally without antidepressants with the dc you have before having another. Appreciate you may need them at the minute to deal with pnd.

KnackeredMuchly Fri 05-Dec-14 07:38:14

I didn't have PND. I have suffered horribly with depression and really hated the baby months (but not depressed, they're just fucking hard)

You do forget how horrible being depressed, you have to for your brain to function normally. A bit like how you can't quite remember the pain of childbirth/recovery - there is just a knowledge of it. When mentally better, You wont forget it was a difficult time in your life, and things that were hard like sleepless nights were hard.

For me, anti depressants were great. I didn't "feel better" one day, I realised slowly that food was starting to get flavour again and it had been 3 days since I broke down. Life is a series of bad days and good days even if youare depressed (bad days and awful days if depressed!)

I slowly noticed I was having less awful days.

I do feel there is an element of helping yourself, often voicing your troubles to health care professionals and asking for anti depressants is a tremendous first step.

Ps - I started to feel human again when DS was 13 months. You're right, he is still dependant but so much more fun

ithoughtofitfirst Fri 05-Dec-14 08:14:57

i take them. Not sure how they work exactly but they just stop you from putting a negative spin on everything. For example when ds was a newborn (without ads) and woke me up several times a night my heart would just sink, i'd feel angry and cheated, i'd think i can't cope on this little sleep and i'll never sleep properly again. Everything was negative. I take sertraline now and i'm coping with my 6 week old dd so much better. For example i just think this year will be hard but it's only a short space of time so i'm just going to enjoy it. When she wakes me up for the third time in a night i'm not thinking oh god how awful i just pick her up, feed her, cuddle her and put her back down without all the negative nonsense. It's so hard to explain and i'm probably not doing it justice but it doesn't give you an artificial sense of positivity .. it just helps you think a bit more clearly and helps things like CBT and counselling have an effect. Hth.

MorrisZapp Fri 05-Dec-14 08:21:10

I took ads for PND, and in fact I'm still on them. They took away the hideous, dark feelings and the extreme anxiety. But no, they didn't make me enjoy getting up in the night, changing nappies, always being needed etc. I hate all that stuff and if you think about it rationally, it is normal to hate that stuff.

Just don't have another kid! I'm not doing it again, why would I? Years on end of drudgery, no thanks. My DS is four now so out of many of the hardest stages but I'm still utterly ruled by his needs. It will be more years before I get true freedom back.

oldestmumaintheworld Fri 05-Dec-14 08:32:50

I had PND with my first child which was eventually treated (after my Mum arrived from overseas and realised how ill I was) and had treatment in hospital straight away after the birth of my second to ensure that I didn't get it again. What a difference it made. With the first one I was low, tired, fed-up and with the second definitely a much, much better experience. The medication helped me be a better mother and enjoy the experience much more. I can even remember thinking 'So this is what everyone goes on about when they talk about the joy of motherhood'

So yes, medication is essential. However, what I also realised was that I am not suited to being a SAHM. I hated it. I was lonely, isolated and bored being with a baby/small child. I missed the stimulation of being at work and I missed the challenges. I also missed going to the loo by myself, drinking a hot cup of tea and reading the newspaper all the way through. I even missed going on the Tube every morning!

For some people being at home is lovely, for others it's hateful. So see about getting medication and help. It's essential for your own well being. But its also not a crime to not enjoy being at home full time with your children. Talk to your partner and see what you can change that will make your life happier. If you can, try to see a counsellor too. It will help.

Having said all of that it does get easier. My children are teenagers now and I love it. They are interesting, stimulating and fun to be with and I wouldn't be without them despite the fact that they describe me as the oldest Muma in the world.

MiaowTheCat Fri 05-Dec-14 08:53:27

I take them (I have issues with depression and anxiety). I dithered about doing so, thinking I was coping fine without them, but then decided bollocks to that, there were no awards for martyrdom and having a shit time of it and if I could use something to make life easier then I was going to.

It helped a lot - and I don't know if it was the medication, or time itself (I think probably both - I'm not a massive baby person - love the toddler stage onwards) but they really did help me move from seeing life as one enormous list of the next "job" to be done to having fun and enjoying my two little bonkers people more and more (I've got two toddlers - bonkers is definitely the word to use).

For what it's worth anyway - and it's not that often said on here - you're not contractually obliged to find the baby stage fantastic. I knew from the start I was likely to find the baby bit rough and enjoy things much more when they became more interactive (I've always been like this - to the extent I worked in early years education) and things fitted exactly that pattern... once you can have a conversation with them and appreciate the true randomness of the toddler mind you might find things click with you much more then anyway!

It won't be helplessness driving you nuts much longer - it'll be trying to prevent them injuring themselves as they become determined to do everything themselves!

ohsocrispyduck Fri 05-Dec-14 15:45:22

Thnx for the comments so far. I am keeping an eye on this & will reply again.

Are you asking if you should take antidepressants to help you cope with another child, if there was one?
Sort of. But not quite. I think "cope" is the wrong word. Theoretically I do want more children but emotionally & physically, based on what these last nine months were (& the next nine are likely to be) like, I really don't. But I liked being pregnant & would like a sibling for DC. So, I guess more --- will they make me "like" this stage with DC now enough for me to not feel as if I don't want to do it every again. Will I, like someone above said, forget what it was like as people sometimes forget what childbirth was like, so are willing to do it again. (FWIW Even DC birth was a doddle compared to this relentlessness!)

NotSayingImBatman Fri 05-Dec-14 15:58:01

Don't do it.

I did and whilst I love DS2 the depression has been twice as intense the second time around.

I realise now that having a sibling for DS1 was just about the worst reason to have a baby.

ithoughtofitfirst Fri 05-Dec-14 16:03:54

It is a huge risk isn't it notsaying ? I'm sorry to hear when people had it worse the second time.

Bartimaeus Fri 05-Dec-14 16:19:46

Interesting thread.

I'm dithering about going to the Dr because I'm struggling at the moment (extreme tiredness and stress + a 3 year old and a 7 month old and I just feel numb and no love or happiness). Some lovely ladies on here have strongly recommended seeing a Dr, not necessarily for ADs, but just to get help.

As I said, I'm dithering. But I do know I never felt anything like this when DS1 was a baby, so I'm kinda sad I'm feeling this way now.

MiaowTheCat Fri 05-Dec-14 16:20:03

Main reason I think I had the issues I had were the anxiety from how I was treated during DD1's birth (actually probably more PTSD but I never got that as a formal diagnostic label).

With DD2 I was actually really fine - until she developed really bad reflux issues from an allergy to CMP, and our GP tried her utmost with ever twatty trick in the Bumper Book of Twatty Tricks to refuse to prescribe the Neocate the dietician had said she needed... that was directly what kicked off the depression in that case.

TheAuthoress Fri 05-Dec-14 16:39:52

I felt the same as you after DS was born, I didn't realise I had post natal depression and didn't get treatment until he was about 18 months.

Like you, we wanted him to have a sibling, and I was concerned about how I'd cope doing it all again as I found it a huge shock to the system with DS.

DD was born when he was 2.9, and I went straight back onto anti depressants after her birth. It was much easier having her as a baby, partly because of the ADs, partly because I knew what to expect and knew from experience that it would get better and easier.

It hasn't all been plain sailing and I still don't enjoy the baby stage, and having two children can be extremely difficult, but when I'm frustrated with DD throwing food or having screaming tantrums or trying to put lego in her mouth or the general slog of changing nappies, putting on shoes and clothes and all the other things that babies need doing for them, I just look at DS (now 4) and how funny and independent he is and know it won't be long until she's at that stage too.

I'm really enjoying DS now and look forward to DD being about 3 and upwards. And I'm not having any more babies!

For me, ADs have helped take the edge of things and help me function without being a mess of tears, sadness and anger. Enough to get me through the day without yelling at the kids and crying, and being on an emotionally even keel.

RosieProbert Fri 05-Dec-14 17:31:48

This thread is really resonating with me as I've just had dd (10 days) and I've been diagnosed with Pnd this week. I've had it since DS 3.5 years ago, I've just done a good job of hiding it but it's erupted niw.
I'm on fluoxetine and have been referred to Camhs and a support group.
Sorry to hijack your thread but the replies are really interesting to me. Good luck op

TheAuthoress Fri 05-Dec-14 22:56:51

Rosie, I'm so glad you got help. I didnt think I needed it but the difference it made when I started taking ADs was unbelievable. Hope you're feeling better now x

Gawjushun Sat 06-Dec-14 02:13:30

Fluoxetine (prozac) helped me through a really dark time with PND. Mine started when DS reached 3 months. The new baby high was wearing off. Weirdly it was also around the time when the baby stuff started getting a little easier, with colic ending and DS starting to sleep for 4-5 hours at a time. Perhaps because I was no longer in panic and survival mode, and the motherhood thing felt so much more real.

I was constantly on the verge of tears, with a panicked feeling in my chest that never went away. I had vivid, dark dreams, and horrid thoughts about harming myself. I often had an overwhelming urge to just walk out the house in my pyjamas, and just go anywhere, walk and never stop. Every dirty nappy or crying fit was a huge failure on my part because I simply couldn't cope, and as I hadn't been able to breastfeed, I felt as if I wasn't a proper mother to my DS.

After about a month on Prozac, I felt a calmer, and as time went on I found it a little easier to deal with things. I slept a lot better, and this obviously helped with my overall mental health. Over time, I managed to get a little more energy, and this meant that I could do things during the day such as playgroups and seeing friends.

I wouldn't say that my PND, or general depression was 'cured'. I now have to cope with a 2.5 year old, and the last few months have been tough. However, I've found a few ways to cope. I'm not trying to be perfect, and spend a lot less time comparing what I do compared to other mothers. I'd love my boy to have a sibling, but I'm not sure whether that will be possible, and it's been hard to accept that. I think it's just important to remember that these tough stages won't be forever, and that you do get your life, and your personality back on track eventually, one piece at a time.

Mmolly2013 Sat 06-Dec-14 02:30:21

How would I know if I had PND

Gawjushun Sat 06-Dec-14 03:00:52

Molly -- I think it's the usual symptoms of depression, appearing up to a year after giving birth. Low mood, loss of interest in things, sleep problems, no energy. You should definitely see a doctor if you think you might have it.

KnackeredMerrily Sat 06-Dec-14 08:31:50

Mmolly sorry to hear you might be feeling blue. Being depressed feels like a unique experience of self loathing. Sleep is a symptom - too much or too little. You can feel listless and spaced out. You can have suicidal or harmful thoughts. Food loses it's flavour, it feels like you have never had a sunny day.

Sometimes, it tricks you into thinking your misery is normal - that you feel low because you have a bad life, or you are a bad person. It's not true.

If you're worried please speak to a doctor flowers

livelablove Sat 06-Dec-14 08:52:05

Op I think one problem is that having a small child makes it so much harder to do the lifestyle things that help combat depression, like good sleep, healthy eating, exercise and time to relax and so on. I'm not saying this causes PND but if you have been depressed before and got over it, but you feel it coming back this may be part of the reason.
One thing I noticed in your post was you seemed to have very strong feelings about the negative (to you) aspects of caring for a small child. I think that is something the ADs might help with, not that you would like it but you wouldn't hate it so much and the good points would balance it out more easily.

trowelmonkey1 Sat 06-Dec-14 09:25:15

Apologies - not been able to read all the replies as I have a 10mo DS who is on the move!

I've been treated for PND since my son was 4mo. I've been taking sertraline and I've been under the care of the community mental health team. The antidepressants haven't changed my outlook, but they have allowed me to cope and even occasionally enjoy being a mother. However, I still find myself wanting the baby years to be over and I look forward to the time when he's a little bit less dependent on me.

I always assumed that I'd have two children, but after my experience with PND, I won't have any more. I know that I may not get PND again with a second child, but I'm not willing to take the risk.

Antidepressants aren't for everyone, but it's worth discussing with your GP. Also, check out PANDAS (http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk).
What has really made a difference to me is knowing that I'm not the only person to feel like this and being able to talk to others with PND.

Take care OP.
X

ohsocrispyduck Sun 07-Dec-14 08:54:36

Thnx to everyone for posting replies. It has been really helpful so far to read them. It seems the consensus is that the anti-depressants won't change my feelings about DC or about having another baby but will just help me get through these first couple of years without disliking it so much & maybe feel less guilty for disliking it too.
I have found that my tether is getting shorter & shorter the older DC gets. First few months the frustration manifested as crying mostly but lately I both cry & am angry & resent the future idea of having another baby already. S'pose that is why I had almost hoped that anti-depressants actually changed people's whole outlook about liking parenting, but reading these replies I think it is only that it makes it easier to cope with the day to day drama & monotony until the children are big enough to be independent people.
It is more than a bit sad though because it makes me think that although I enjoyed pregnancy & would like that sibling for DC, DP & I should probably not do it & stick with the one only. Guess we'll have to get a DC a cat! grin

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