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Post-natal post traumatic stress disorder - any advice?

(12 Posts)
cherrysmum Sat 14-May-11 11:57:34

Hi everyone, Im hoping someone can give me a bit of advice really, here goes...
My daughter is 5 months old, I had crap pregnancy, was on crutches for most of it with awful SPD, moved house to an area where i dont know anyone and all my old friends dont have kids so have lost interest, i developed severe pre-eclampsia which started really quickly after being monitored for weeks previously and then discharged as i was ok, and at 38 weeks in the space of 4 hours had horrendously high BP and was in agony as the pre-eclampsia had affected my liver, 3 drips to try and stop me from fitting,2 failed sweeps which were agony, pessaries which didnt work, attempted ARM which they couldnt do as she was in the way, reactions to the drug they gave me for BP and then ended up with spinal block and emergency section. I was completely terrified. It was the worst experience and it all happened so quickly.
I was really ill in hospital for 6 days over christmas and was in agony and my little girl couldnt get the hang of breastfeeding, it was hell. They only let me go home in the end as my partners mum is a midwife so knew the score.
The staff at the hospital were absolutely amazing all the way through and the care i recieved was wonderful.
My partner is currenty off work with depression and finds our daughter hard work which makes things tricky between us sometimes.
I thought i might have PND but having looked at all the info online i feel like its possibly post-traumatic stress disorder, I dont feel like i can tell my partner as it will just be one more thing for him to worry about.
I love my daughter immensly and have never had a problem bonding with her, infact it feels like the only thing working properly is her.
Im dreading going back to work and leaving her. it makes me feel physically sick.

Is this PTSD? Everytime i think about what happened it terrifies me and reduces me to tears, i keep thinking how she could of died, or I could have or even both of us.

How do I go about tellin my GP all this is a way which makes some sense?

Thanks for reading x x

NanaNina Sat 14-May-11 13:26:07

Hi cherry'smum - I am not a young mum (but grandmother) but I do know about depression as still struggling to recover from severe episode last Easter. You certainly sound like you had a terrible time, and I think you will be suffering from the aftermath whether it is depression or PND. You have faced another life crisis by moving house (which is quite high on the life crisis list) and it doesn't sound like you have much support. Have you got any family who could support you. You mentioned your DP's mother being a midwife - do you get on with her.

RE your partner - has he had depression before - is he getting treated with ADs or counselling. Does he have a job where you get paid even when he is off work. Assume he must have seen GP because of sick notes unless he is self employed of course. I think it is the most probably the depression that makes him feel that your daughter is hard work. When I am at my worst with depression (it fluctuates) and I can't be bothered with the cats and fine them hard work! Also the arrival of a baby (hoever much she is loved) does change the household and the dynamic between the parents.

I feel so much for you - dreading leaving her - I was in that position over 40 years ago though I was lucky enough to have my sister caring for my little ones. How long have you got off - were you thinking nursery or childminder. For what it's worth I think a childminder is so much better as it is a normal life rather than an institutional life. Is there any way of you not going back to work - maybe becoming a childminder - it can be quite financially rewarding.
Anyway you have enough on you plate at the minute to think ahead too far.

You haven't said exactly what your symptoms are - I am sure you must feel defeated and anxious for a start.

I think a visit to your GP is a must - just tell him/her (a her if possible) what you have posted here - you won't be telling them anything they haven't heard hundreds of times before.

Sending you warm wishes and so glad you are enjoying your lovely little girl.

madmouse Sat 14-May-11 14:39:58

You're having a tough time that is for sure.

It is impossible to say from your description whether it is PTSD or PND as PND too can make you tearful and scared and make you think of things over and over again.

Hallmarks of PTSD are intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares (not necessarily all 3 but often two of them), avoiding thinking about what happened and avoiding situations that remind you of what happened, and being on high alert all the time. If that matches how you feel you need to tell your doctor.

In any event it sounds that you need some counselling.

I have just battled my way through PTSD which was complex (mix of sexual abuse issues and traumatic birth/ds born very ill) and it has been awful and hard work so I hope you get the help you need quickly. Your post described things quite well and you could always print this and take it to the doctor.

My dh too was depressed (coming out on the other side now) and it was so hard both being ill at the same time. Get support from others around you and keep talking to each other.

philnteds Sat 14-May-11 20:43:49

Hi Cherrysmum i think you definitely need to speak to somebody (health visitor or GP) with regard to what you went through and i am sorry you had a bad time, you went through the wringer physically and it is very scary sad the emotional aspects of it are perhaps only catching up with you now. Please don't be afraid to talk to a professional you may even wish to speak to a midwife or a counsellor at the hospital to try and talk through what you went through. Good Luck and all the very best.

emma2617 Sat 14-May-11 22:17:54

Hi Cherrysmum, I felt compelled to reply to your post as I too am suffering terribly with PND and suspected PTSD. Long story short I was in and out of hospital with placenta previa, planned section (had emergency with my previous child) then all hell broke loose, haemorrhage and emergency hysterectomy at 24 years old.

I found the depression comparatively easy to bring up witht he doc as I suffered after my first child. I struggle to say "depressed" or "depression" but most GPs will pick up on an anxious looking individuaal who goes in and says they are really struggling and pretty quickly identify depression. It is essential you speak to someone ASAP though as going back to work will more than likely knock you down again, it did with me anyway, so it will be somewhat easier if you are already on the road to recovery. Nobody will suddenly tell you they think you are depressed, that is what I was waiting for!!

With regards the PTSD, I have been advised that I may be suffering from this as I have massively increased anxiety levels (I constantly play out worst case scenarios in my head eg-pram rolls down hill and under a bus etc, and every time I hear my baby cough I run to check him as I think he is choking to death) and keep having flash backs to being in theatre looking up at all the faces of the people working on me.

The most important thing though is to speak to your GP, be as open and honest as you can be so they can make an accurate diagnosis and begin to get you the help you clearly need and want. Good luck

cherrysmum Sun 15-May-11 10:11:10

Thank you everyone, Im really grateful for you all taking the time to talk about things which are not easy and I hope you are all doing ok.

My partner was getting paid but is now only getting SSP which is also a huge worry, I dont have to go back to work until September but have to see my boss soon to sort out everything, I am fortunate in that my mum retired recently so will be able to look after my little girl but even knowing that doesnt sit well.

I get on really well with my partners mum and sort of told her how I feel yesterday and she said I need to speak to my GP so I will be going first thing tomorow.

Im so very grateful for your replies, its made me feel less alone, Im so sorry that you all had awful times and youre all amazing for being able to share your stories to help someone. I'll let you know what my GP says.

lots of love x x

timetomoveon Sun 15-May-11 20:17:33


I'm glad to see you are now going to try to go to the GP. I suffered from ptsd following the birth of my son for over 2 years before I got myself together enough to be able to see a doctor. Now I'm more or less on the other side of it, I wish I'd been in a position to seek help earlier but I just wasn't able to.

I really hope the doctor is helpful. Good luck.

cherrysmum Mon 30-May-11 12:15:27

Hi everyone,
I just wanted to let you know whats been happening since I first posted because I was (and still am) in a mess and you were all so nice to me.
I went to the GP, who did the Edinburgh score thingy and said that I have PND and Im suffering from post-traumatic stress too, Ive been refered for counselling, Im waiting for an appointment to come through.

Ive started having horrible nightmares where really bad things happen to me and I cant get to my daughter (the other night I dreamt I was attacked and there was blood everywhere). And Ive started having panic attacks. So theres a crap circle emerging here where I cant sleep, get to sleep, wake up panicking and cant get back to sleep so im shattered etc.
Ive been back to the GP, who is really lovely but said that physically Im ok and that the people he has referred me to will be able to help me the best.
Since these recent events, my partner has walked out, on incredibly bad terms, citing me being snappy and making him feel worse as his reasons.

Im fortunate in that my mum and my MIL are amazing and really supportive, but I really really need him.
If anyone has any advice on how to talk to him (which should be happening later) without falling apart completely and ending in an arguement it would be really appreciated.
Also,does anyone have any experience of taking anti-depressants for this? My GP offered methese as treatment last time but I said no, Im BF and didnt want to pass anything on to my little one but maybe it would help?

Thank you all again youre an amazing bunch of people.

confuddledDOTcom Mon 30-May-11 13:03:34

There are safe ADs for breastfeeding in fact any your GP gives you will be. However they may not help the Birth Trauma. Have a look at the Birth Crisis website for suggestions. Sleeping tablets might help but not a good idea with breastfeeding.

I hope you're feeling better soon. I had BT for 2.5 years until my youngest was born, my magic cure! It's horrible to live with and I hope it can be sorted soon for you.

madmouse Mon 30-May-11 16:38:23

ADs can help a lot with anxiety - sometimes even in a small dose. And anxiety is a huge part of PTSD. I think sertraline is safe when BF but there are more.

Can you write your dh a letter explaining why you are snappy and how bad you are feeling? In particular that you may snap from the effort of keeping things going while all you want to do is curl up and die/hide?

confuddledDOTcom Mon 30-May-11 20:15:31

Everything I've read has said ADs don't work with BT. Maybe it does with some people.

madmouse Mon 30-May-11 20:29:27

confuddled it will not solve birth trauma but can help with generalised anxiety caused by birth trauma. Also birth trauma is not a medical condition - it is an event with psychological consequences that can very from PTSD to depression to being 'ok'. Any conditions coming out of BT will need treating accordingly

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