I've just joined mumsnet and this is my first post. I'm looking for some support/advice.
I think I may have PND- or at least I thought I did until reading some much worse accounts here.
I've been struggling for weeks and in denial but tonight I finally spoke to DH about how I'm feeling. I can't stop crying- anything or nothing sets me off. I can't bear to get out of bed in the morning. I have a constant feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I feel guilty about everything- giving my son formula top ups because he's too hungry makes me feel like a failure. I can barely leave the house. The thought of meeting people and speaking to them is making me feel physically sick. I keep making plans and cancelling them at the last minute as I can't face it.
DH wants me to speak to health visitor who will be here this week for DS 6 week check. I don't want to as I feel I'll look like a bad mother. I love both my sons and wouldn't want anyone thinking otherwise. I would never harm my children.
I had to go out yesterday to drop my car off somewhere. I felt so sick and anxious. I had a fleeting thought just turn it into a wall. This scared me that I could even think like that hence why I've spoken to DH about my feelings. I haven't told him about that though as he'd worry even more.
I don't know if I'm even looking for a reply. I just feels better to get it off my chest. Reading my post back, I'm wondering if most of my feelings are just down to being sleep deprived and hormonal?
OP sorry you are feeling this way, but glad you have been able to share with your DH. please mention how you are feeling to your HV. The feelings you describe sound a bit more than the effects of sleep deprivation. There is help out there if you ask for it. It doesn't make you a bad mum: in fact, looking after yourself and asking for help
Is the best thing you can do right now, for you and your kids. Take care.
Thanks for your reply.
It's so good hear that it might not be PND - I was feeling so ashamed.
Yes the sleep deprivation does not help- my son is awake every night from 2am onwards. Perhaps it's this I should seek help with.
Hi Gemma really sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Please do speak to your HV about it - she won't judge you at all, but she will be really pleased you asked for help.
I had PND after my 2nd child was born and I remember feeling many of the things you have described, including the worry that people would assume I didn't love my baby. I have to tell you that nobody said that to me, nobody thought that at all. Nobody suggested I was a bad mother, in fact I was praised for being brave and asking for help.
Do keep talking to us if it helps and be kind to yourself - this stuff is really hard (but it is something you can and will get better from too).
Thanks for replying also.
That's exactly what I'm scared of- that people will think that I don't love him or I don't want him. He was a much wanted baby before he was even conceived.
My HV is nice. But every time she's in she comments about how well I'm doing with feeding ( we had latching problems but I persevered) and how easy the visit is. I feel like I'd be disappointing her also if I was to bring it up.
Even if I wanted to- I find it very difficult to just open my mouth and talk about how I'm feeling. It's taken me 5 weeks to tell DH.
Today I have both DS on my own and I'm trying my hardest to pluck up the courage to leave the house. I haven't told ds1 yet as I don't want to disappoint him if I can't.
You wouldn't be disappointing her! She will have seen mums before with similar feelings, and if you ask for help it's her job to give it, or at least point you in the right direction. How about speaking to your GP at the 8 week check?
Also, I don't know if you managed to get out today, but if you didn't, don't worry. 6 weeks is still really early days, particularly if you've had feeding issues. Please try not to put pressure on yourself to do things or be a certain way. DS1 won't suffer if he has to watch a bit more Cbeebies than usual for a few weeks!
You mention reading worse accounts: please don't use this to downplay how you are feeling. Speak to a professional, there is help out there, you just have to ask for it.
Thanks for replying again. It feels nice to know that someone is listening.
I didn't manage to get out today. I will try again tomorrow.
I just have to pluck up the courage to speak to someone. Thanks again xx
The 6 week heck is for your baby and for you. You should be asked to complete the Edinburgh test which is a series of questions which helps identify if you have PND. I have to say (from my experience) it sounds like you do, but please please please speak to your HV and be honest with her. It really doesn't have to be a miserable time and there is help out there. Do not feel like a failure for asking for help, it's actually a very brave thing to face up to it like you have started to. Good luck!
Thanks for replying.
I suppose I'm also a bit reluctant to speak to HV because she will refer me to GP who might suggest medication. This is a route I most definitely want to avoid if possible. Not that there's anything wrong with it- I just have my own reasons for not wanting to take medication.
What other help is there? It probably depends on the area as to what is available.
I've been reading a lot about it today. One thing that scared me is that it could lead to developmental delays in DS. Up until now I thought it was only me it could effect but I don't want it having any lasting effect on my son. He doesn't deserve it. The guilt is quite overwhelming today.
I am trying. I will try and speak to HV. Or maybe ask DH to.
The GP will discuss options with you, but it doesn't necessarily have to involve medication. I didn't want meds, mainly because I was bf and that limits your choices of which antidepressants to take, plus I just didn't want any meds transferring to my dd2 via bf. Sometimes just getting out and speaking to someone about it helps. I was lucky that my doc was a mum to 3 kids (older kids) and she totally got what I was going through. We met a few times to see how I was doing and sometimes I sat and cried and she was just lovely and patient and understanding. For me, I totally ignored the signs of PND and it was my DH who persuaded me to speak to the HV/ doc at my dd2s 6 month check up. By the time I had met with the doc a few times, I was also about to return to work and that helped me enormously. Not being in my own was key I think.
Don't get me wrong, I still get days where I wake up very down but I think that's part and parcel of being generally knackered, the house being a tip, the kids running me ragged, DH buggering off to rugby and I think "what's the point". But the next day I can be fine and the kids do something sweet and you realise that ignoring the ironing or the house on its head is not the end of the world.
Small steps, honest. Start with making an appt to speak to the docs/ HV. They can put you in touch with groups where you can meet others having similar feelings or speak 1-2-1 with someone. Can be a bit of a wait, so maybe try to just get out for some fresh air? Half an hour walk with the wee one will do you the world of good. You don't have to speak to anyone, just bundle yourselves up and walk for a bit.
As for affecting your baby.... They're so little at this stage. All they crave is your voice, milk, sleep and cuddles. They won't remember if you are a bit unhappy or a bit lost at sea at the moment.
I just re-read your OP again. Is this your 2nd child? I had PND with my 2nd and I do think it's a lot to do with being more knackered and more in demand, plus you know what's coming (sleepless nights, teething, tantrums etc) so there's no blissful ignorance.
Yes this is my second. I agree that this contributes.
Breastfeeding is one of the reasons I don't want to take medication.
I have to leave the house today to pick up ds1 from nursery. Going to try and stay out for an hour other than coming home and locking the door.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It really helps knowing I'm not alone. I'm glad you are feeling much better.
DH has agreed to come home early tomorrow and help me speak to HV.
Just read and think you should definitely speak to someone health visitor or gp I think they can help even without medication. At one point my hv was concerned I might have pnd but just talking to gp helped. I also was more open with friends at that point. Arranged weekly catch up- at yours if you can't leave the house or I've found soft play to be good as older ones engaged whilst little ones welcome. Sleep depravation is awful though and I find myself crying a lot when I've had a bad night x
My DD is 19 weeks old and I've got PND. I've had a lot of the same feelings/thoughts as you have and went to the GP yest who has prescribed 10mg of citalopram for me, as well as referring for counselling/CBT. I was feeling low after I had her and started medicine but then stopped it as I thought I could cope. However I know I need to be on some tablets for the time being and its been a creeping, gradual decline in how I'm feeling. If you want to avoid tablets, maybe ask to be referred for counselling? The fear of going out and anxiety is horrible isn't it and I too always make plans but then cancel. Let us know how it goes with HV
Thanks ladies. I'll try and take all this on board.
I've been up all night for the 6th night in a row so that doesn't help. The world looks much bleaker when you've only had around 5 hours sleep in 3 days.
I'll keep you posted xx
Hello gemma, you are really brave to join and post on here, I know it's a big step. I had bad PND with DS1 and it took me a few weeks longer than you to acknowledge it. One of the biggest reasons why women don't talk about it, or don't talk about it as early as they should is that almost everyone feels horribly guilty, and worries that people will think they don't love/didn't want their baby. All GPs/HVs/midwives understand that that's not the case and that's not how it works.
What happened to me is that I eventually went to see my GP and admitted how I was feeling. I did a questionnaire for her (which is a bit easier than answering questions in person). I'm not able to take antidepressants as I had a very bad reaction to one a long time ago, so we had to tackle it in other ways, but there are some ADs which are safe with breastfeeding. In the end I saw a psychologist every week at my local children's centre and I also saw a mother/baby therapist at the Anna Freud Centre which is near us so I was very lucky to get that for free. It took a few weeks for these referrals to come through and in that time I saw my GP every week and she helped me decide what to do while I was waiting for the referrals: she said it was really important that I got some proper sleep and that I could no longer do two nights in a row. She was very clear about that which helped me talk to my husband about it, so from that point on my husband did every other night and gave DS a bottle. DS was a bit older than your baby (about three months) but this was fine and didn't cause any problems with our breast-feeding. I also started using a creche at our local sports centre so I could have a quick swim and a bit of time to myself.
When you describe thinking about crashing your car for a moment, this is a really normal part of being depressed: they are called 'intrusive thoughts', that suddenly pop into your head. It can be very frightening, but it doesn't mean that you have any intention of harming yourself, it is just a sign that you are feeling very low and anxious. It is important to mention this to your GP/HV - if you do a questionnaire there'll probably be a question about it.
I actually did the Edinburgh post-natal depression scale myself online one night and that's what made me realise I needed to see the doctor. You might want to do it yourself and then tell your doctor/HV how you scored. Once I was seeing the psychologist, she did questionnaires like this with me every few weeks so that I could see how I was beginning to improve, which was really encouraging.
Good luck. It is a horrible experience but it is also a really common one - I have been really surprised how often it happens that if you admit to a woman a bit older/with older children that you were a "bit low" or something like that after having a baby, they will say that they were too. I think it's something that loads of people don't/can't talk about at the time but it's easier to admit to a bit later on when you've come out the other side. Which you will!
Also, I forgot to say - it is true that children whose mothers had severe untreated depression for a long time (e.g. years) do often show some developmental delays. But you are really early on and you are already admitting you feel low and seeking help, and that will protect your baby and also protect you from getting lower. Six weeks is a really tough time, still so chaotic and yet you are so tired by that point.
Hello again Gemma, just thought I'd pop in and see how you are doing today?
I second everything that kalidasa said.
I also want to reassure you that noone is going to try to force you to take medication. There are other options open to you as well. My friend was referred to a support group for mothers with PND which she found very helpful. Your GP should be able to refer you for counselling and your HV might be able to look into things like HomeStart. My HV came to see me at home quite a few times and just talking to her really helped.
But can I also gently suggest that you don't dismiss medication out of hand? Sometimes medication can be very helpful and there is no reason at all why you can't take it and continue breastfeeding (I did) - there are anti depressants that are perfectly safe to use while bfing. I think of depression like a vicious circle - you feel lousy so you don't feel like doing much/seeing anyone but that just makes you feel even more lousy. For me, anti-d's gave me a "leg up" to break that vicious circle and start doing some more positive things that were the first steps on the journey to feeling better. Does that make sense?
Do keep posting if it helps.
PS glad your dh is coming home early today, he sounds lovely.
I think telling my HV was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I think in the end I just said "I don't feel quite right". Do you think you might be able to say something like that? It maybe feels less daunting that thinking you have to tell her everything.
I really appreciate all you lovely ladies taking the time to share your advice and experiences. It gives me a glimmer of hope that I'll get through this.
This morning has been pretty tough. I seem to fall apart as soon as DH leaves for work. I just feel much safer with him here. He called his mum to pick DS1 up from nursery to allow me to try and sleep when DS2 does. He's so supportive I'm so lucky to have him. But I also feel incredibly guilty that I'm burdening him with all this. I think he deserves better.
The HV isn't out until tomorrow (did I say today? All my days are rolling into one) I'm hoping that she gives me a questionnaire and then takes the lead on asking questions. I find it much easier to answer direct questions about how I'm feeling other than a general 'how are you'. If that doesn't happen the DH will approach it for me.
That definitely makes sense about the anti-ds. I just hope that I can combat it without them. If not then I would consider taking them providing they don't interfere with breastfeeding.
Thanks again for everyone's concern. It feels good to just write down how I'm feeling and not bottle it up. Xxx
Kalidasa- Sorry I didn't directly reply to anything in your posts but thank you for posting.
Sounds like you have had a really good plan to recover from it. How are you now?
DH is happy to do night feeds but DS2 is up all night and it isn't fair to ask him to do that when he has work the next day.
I found the edinburgh test- is this what the health visitor does? I scored 20/27.
Just now I'm focussing on having a better afternoon than morning. So far so good. Only 2 hours until DH is home.
Thanks again everyone xx
Glad the afternoon is going better. Many morning's I would cry as dh left saying I can't do it- normally having had no sleep. Oh and I still count down until he comes home...
I think GPs/HVs tend to do a slightly simpler version actually rather than the full Edinburgh test, but they are all fairly similar. I think anything over 13 suggests you are depressed to some degree - obviously there's quite a range from mild to very severe depression which would correlate roughly with scores between 10 and 30. If you got 20 though I think you should definitely raise it with your GP/HV.
I am pretty well now gemma though I am 30 weeks into a second awful pregnancy which has actually (physically) been worse than the first - I was in hospital all summer and am in a wheelchair for the rest of the preg. Psychologically I have managed better though and because I was quite ill after DS and can't take ADs I am high risk for PND again so have lots of support. I am hopeful that as a result I won't get PND this time, or that if I do, it won't be so bad. Fingers crossed!
I was really really lucky to get mother-infant therapy on the NHS because of where I live. This is the gold standard I think but it can be quite hard to access. It was amazingly helpful though.
Icklekid- my text to DH this morning said the exact same thing. I feel like I've lost a limb when he's out. Kalidasa- Congrats on your pregnancy sorry to hear your having a tough time but glad to hear your getting all the support you need.
My pregnancy was pretty tough also(albeit not as bad as yours) as I had severe HG and SPD. I think I was depressed during pregnancy but was too ashamed to seek help. I wish I had now as it might have avoided this now.
I feel sick to my stomach about today. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm just being a drama queen. I read something today that makes me question how I'm feeling- doesn't every mum feel low/guilty/inadequate/etc at some point?
Sorry im thinking out loud and trying to talk myself out of speaking up today. I won't though- I can let HV decide if it's PND or not.
I'm dreading this.
HG and SPD here too Gemma, both times. I wish they would introduce a policy where any woman admitted to hospital for HG, especially more than once, were automatically treated aggressively to prevent depression/for post natal support. There really seems to be a big correlation between bad HG and PND. It is such a ghastly condition. Even though I am in a wheelchair with severe SPD with 9 weeks still to go, I would choose SPD any day over the HG (I am still sick but it's a lot better than the first 20 weeks).
Good luck today. Don't worry if you break down talking to the HV. It is a huge conversation for you, but will really be a very normal one for them. Thinking of you.
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