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It gets better!

(6 Posts)
Suzie78 Thu 11-Dec-14 17:30:00

This exact time 3 years ago, I logged on here for help. I was totally desperate, drowning in PND, just didnt know it at the time. I wanted to revisit to assure you ladies that are struggling that IT GETS BETTER!
My daughter was 11 months old and I had the year from hell. Difficult pregnancy, horrible birth and a very grumpy baby had brought me to my knees. Christmas was approaching and all I wanted to do was die. I'm not exaggerating, I wanted to close my eyes and never wake up. The mornings were the worst, the ball of fear/anxiety in my tummy was the first thing I felt. I couldn't eat, so was 7 stone, couldn't sleep and my relationship with my beloved husband was in tatters. I lived on Coke a cola and cigarettes. I stumbled my way through Christmas, putting on a smiley front because I didn't want to ruin everybodys Christmas by saying I was on the verge of doing something silly.
January came, and on the 11th day, I broke. Completely broke. I phoned my mum and told her I needed her to take the kids. I couldn't even feed them. I couldn't move. She took all the medication out of my house, because she knew what I wanted to do. Thank God she did.
She wrapped me and the kids up (hubby was working abroad) and drove us to her house. She took care of the kids, and I took to bed. I begged her to give me the tablets the doctor had given me to help me sleep, I just wanted to sleep and sleep.
Although it was really difficult, I spilled my heart out to my GP. I was terrified the kids would be taken away from me because I just wasn't coping. In fact, quite the opposite happened. He referred me to a free counsellor and prescribed antidepressents. Like a child, at 32 years of age, my Mum drove me to the counsellor. It literally saved my life.
This is where my story gets better....
My counsellor was a total stranger, who didn't know anything about me. She was an Asian lady, really softly spoken and immediately made me feel at ease. There was no judgement. She didn't think I was the terrible person I thought I was. She just listened. I saw her twice a week while still living with my parents. Their support, along with my husband, kept me going. I slowly began to have a shower. Sounds like a simple thing, but I was so ill, it was HUGE for me. The antidepressants kicked in and by March, I had moved to a new house with my husband and kids. We started a new life, in a new place. That was 3 years ago, and I am so happy today. Thank god my mum stopped me from doing something silly. I get shivers when I think about how close I came.
My daughter is still a handful, she has bad behavioural issues. BUT thanks to counselling, I now have to tools to deal with the daily struggles. I have learned that sleep is so so important to me. I have learned to be kind to myself. I have learned that I am human, and its ok to ask for help.
My kids are now growing up in a loving, stable and happy home. My husband has been through hell and back with me, and thankfully its made us stronger. I know life is a rollercoaster, but at the moment, I wouldn't change a thing. Its been a long time since I have been able to say that!
If you're going through the horror of PND, PLEASE ask for help. Its not easy, but if you reach out, you'll be surprised at where help will come from.
I've decided not to have any more babies. As much as I would love another child, the fear of this horrible illness coming back is too much. I've worked so hard to beat this. I still take my antidepressants to this day, and my daughter is almost 4. I tried to wean myself off them, with my GPs supervision, but I didn't feel right, so went back on them. Its worth saying that I have tried 3 different types, and finally found the one that works for me. Everybody is different, so its trial and error. There is NO SHAME in taking them. A huge part of PND is a chemical imbalance in the brain. No amount of talking therapies will help this.
I wanted to share my story, just to reassure anyone who may be reading this, that it will stop. But you must seek help if your feeling like your struggling. I let it go way too far.......
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm living proof! smile))))

Thombo Sat 13-Dec-14 10:21:08

Thank you for your message, Its very kind of you to post.
I am where you were three years ago. My son has always been difficult he is 13 months old and the last 18 months have been the hardest of my life.
My dad died of cancer a year ago and I looked after him with my mum until he died.
I became very depressed in pregnancy at 20 weeks and have never really recovered. I am on antidepressants and have a lovely husband who supports me.
I know I have to accept my son and stop hoping that he will change into a relaxed happy baby but I do hope he gets easier. Did your daughter get any easier? or did you just accept her the way she is? Everybody keeps saying it will get better but its been over a year, I have lost all hope that either of us will ever be happy.
I think it is hard to explain to somebody how hard it is to cope with a demanding grumpy baby, I know I have never felt such despair and hopelessness, as I do now.
I am so glad that you are happier, It must have taken such strength and courage to recover and pick yourself up and build a positive relationship with your child. Thanks again for posting.

Suzie78 Sat 13-Dec-14 22:04:21

Hey Thombo!
I'm so glad you took the time to read my story. Thank you for your kind words, its been really tough, and believe me, I still have bad days!! Having a difficult baby/child is no picnic as you know.
Firstly, it must have been so hard loosing your dad. That on its own is incredibly difficult. Then throw in a grumpy child, and its no wonder your having a tough time. Have you thought about seeing a grief counsellor?
Secondly, my daughter is 4 in January. To this day, she is difficult. She doesn't sleep very well, doesn't eat very well and is very very demanding of my attention. Its so tough, but we've learned that we have to parent her differently to our boys (who are very chilled out and mellow). She is a handful and most days I want to pull my hair out! But over time, I've got used to it, and know how to avoid potential melt downs with her. Routine is really important and although we try to stick to it, she has a very strong personality. I promise it will get easier. She goes to pre school Monday to Friday mornings and that has given me some sanity back. Its only a couple of hours, but I get time to myself. I've also got a little job, its only 2 shifts a week behind a bar, but its given me an outlet. Away from the constant demands and chaos that goes with life. I've also made a lot of friends there and can talk to them about my struggles with her, its so good and reassuring to know that I'm not the only one.
One day you will look back at this time of your life and wonder how you got through, and it will be a distant memory. A huge part for me was realising that my life is never going to be what it was before she came along, and yes, I miss that carefree aspect. But she is here, and I love her, even through the tough times. I've had to accept my situation, and adapt to what is now the most important role of all, being a good role model to my child. And giving her unconditional love and guide her as best I can.
Good luck with everything. If you ever fancy a chat, just message me on here.. Your not alone smile

cakeloverlady Sun 14-Dec-14 00:47:56

Hi Suzie and Thombo.

Thank you for writing about your experiences. Both your situations are a lot like my own.

I was already depressed when I became pregnant and taking antidepressant meds, which had always helped keep me going. I decided to stop taking the anti-depressants when I became pregnant for the sake of our unborn baby - even though the doc told me it would probably be ok to carry on.

6 months in to my pregnancy I became very anxious - worrying about the health of my unborn child, which made me even more worried about the affects of the stress on him too. I became very depressed again and went back on anti-depressants, which helped, thank goodness.

Then my DS was born and I came crashing down again. He was my first child and not at all what I was expecting. He cried all the time - I mean all the time. His sleep was awful and he needed constant attention. I was exhausted mentally and physically. My husband was very supportive, but I knew he didn't really understand what I was going through. We argued a lot. I felt like I was letting him down because I was not the happy, glowing loving mum he wanted me to be, and I felt guilty too.

The worst thing was how I felt about my son. I resented him a lot. He cried and moaned and demanded our attention. He took my husband away from me when I needed him most. My husband was head over heels about DS from day one. This made me jealous a lot. Jealous of the attention DS was getting but also jealous because I wanted to feel what my husband was feeling. These were hard times. I felt like a terrible person. I worried about the negative affect my mood was having on DS and about the lack of deep love I felt for him.

The whole first year was pretty much just surviving. DS was hard - though everyone would tell me he was normal, I really felt that I had created a monster. MY SO was mad about him but I thought that he was blinded by his unconditional love and that I was seeing our baby as he really was - a total nightmare. He would get so angry all the time and always needed attention - some days I just sat with him and cried. Some days I hardly spoke to him, this then made me feel guilty and even more depressed. The health visitor would reassure me that he was normal and that all babies get frustrated at that age, but this didn't help.

Close to our son's first birthday, our lives were in tatters. Having a baby had become a living nightmare. I was suicidal most the time - thankfully, I didn't try to hurt myself. After much convincing I went to see a counsellor - a really lovely lady who never judged me and was a good listener. But what helped me the most was time. By the time DS was 18 months old he was able to crawl and play with his toys - this made him less clingy and angry. My mood lifted and I began to actually enjoy him. Now he is 2 years old and our lives have changed 100%. He is happy, funny, cheeky and loving. I love him more than I ever thought was possible. Sometimes when I'm hugging him I cry with happiness.

Sorry, I've written a lot more than I intended. It's the first time I've really thought about all that since things have improved. Thombo, everything will get better, I promise. Just hang in there and be strong - he will get easier and you will love him with all your heart x

Suzie78 Sun 14-Dec-14 09:33:29

Hi cakeloverlady,
Thanks for sharing your story, I find is so reassuring when I hear that I was not alone in feeling like that. The expectation of having a baby, is totally different to the reality. I was consumed with guilt, because I didn't feel like those women with new borns you see on the TV or in magazines. They are all so calm and beautiful, not to mention happy in their new baby bubble. The guilt of feeling like crap, and not liking your own baby, was crippling for me. My hubby didn't really bond with her in the beginning, he really struggled with her constant screaming and refusal to drink her bottles. It was exhausting, and our lives just became about "getting through the day". Because we had two boys, and we finally had a little girl, people would ask us constantly if we were "ecstatic" about having her! On the outside we smiled and nodded, but internally we were both devastated that she was such a nightmare.
Thombo, could you afford to send your little man to nursery or creche, even one morning a week? I know its expensive, but he would really benefit from mixing with other kids and being away from you. Plus, you get the tiny break for a couple of hours. For me, that was when things turned around big time. I live for the couple of hours that she is in pre school. God I sound awful, but she has really benefited from it too. The funny thing is, her teachers say she is an angel in school and behaves beautifully. My husband and I just stare at each other in disbelief!! Are we talking about the same child??!!
So glad things have turned around for you cakeloverlady. It's such a hard road to travel, and it looks like you've managed to survive it. If you can get through what you've been through, you'll get through anything life throws at you smile

Thombo Sun 14-Dec-14 13:34:28

Thankyou Suzie78 and cakeloverlady for your lovely messages. Its amazing how similar are experiences are. My husband also fell madly in love with our son and I was jealous of their relationship and missed my husband desperately. We are slowly getting closer again which helps a lot.
I always think there should be a support group for mums of challenging babies as It is the loneliest and most terrifying experience. It is so comforting to hear both of you voice my thoughts. I often worry that I have created some kind of monster because of how stressful my pregnancy was. It so reassuring to hear you both say that its gets easier and that normal life will one day resumed.
Suzie78 I will think about going to grief counsellor because I know I have not grieved for my father yet. The sense of loss has been swallowed by the despair of this last year.
I must say that I am very lucky and I have recently started working and my husband helps loads with our son. This has definitely helped, as work is a lovely break in comparison to looking after my son.
Thank you both for taking the time to message and for giving me some much needed hope that things will improve. So lovely to know that others have been through it and come out the other side.

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