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Do you think PND ever really leaves you?

(62 Posts)
alicemac83 Thu 20-Feb-14 09:23:01

Hi all,
I might be in the wrong forum, but I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this. I had PND three years ago, and I'm recently getting over another period of depression. I think it was brought on by planning another baby and remembering what happened last time.
I've started having some counselling, and last night I was talking about how I genuinely love working full time, and sometimes I feel like I need more 'me' time etc and how that makes me feel guilty a lot of the time, especially after having PND. I was hoping for some reassurance, but I left the session feeling even worse - and more guilty!
I feel like there's something wrong me with for wanting my own life and working etc. Can anyone else relate to this? I wonder if all the guilt etc is related to having PND and will I ever be able to let go of that?

alicemac83 Thu 27-Feb-14 09:49:12

I'm really pleased you've found this thread helpful. I think it's a topic that's rarely discussed. Once you're 'better' everyone thinks that's it, and the only thing written about is it coming back with another baby. Nobody talks about the fact that it shapes our lives.
I think on some level it's always been with me since having DD 3 years ago. I used to love being at home, but even now I always plan a full weekend of activities so I can get out of the house, and if I have to stay at home with her if our nanny is ill I find the prospect quite daunting (even though it's always fine.) I think it's a trauma that takes a long time to get over, and also I still find it quite hard to accept that it happened to me. I always feel envious when friends have babies and feel happy from the start. But it's one of those things, and I'm sure will make us stronger in the end xxx

slightlyoverwhelmed Wed 26-Feb-14 19:51:54

I had PND after my second daughter (now 15 months) was born (although I was never diagnosed/treated). I found settling into motherhood with my first daughter pretty easy, she was a pretty easygoing baby and I lived in an area where I had a lot of friends with new babies and my husband was working reasonable hours and although there were days were I thought, "I haven't left the house much today", I didn't really feel that sense of motherhood-shock. I went back to work when my first daughter was 10 months old. By my second daughter, I had much more of a sense that my life had changed, we moved to a new area, for various reasons, it wasn't practical for me to go back to the same job and I just felt quite unsupported by my family. I was quite unwell at the end of the pregnancy and I found the birth pretty traumatic (although I recognise it wasn't the horror show that some people have). She didn't sleep well and was a much less easy-going baby, I really struggled for 6-8 months but overtime, life started to slot back into place again and I think there were a few key moments that for me just signified that things were getting back on track and that I had a good and strong relationship with my second daughter too. I still don't feel like a "good mum" in the way that I did before my second daughter was born but I am happy and I think that I will feel like that again. I don't blame myself for the depression - in retrospect, I was trying to make too many big life changes at once and I should have sorted out more support but it's easy to say that in hindsight. I don't feel guilty about being a working mum - the money has been very useful to us and I think you have to be honest with yourself about the kind of person that you are and I am too independent to want to be at home all the time. I am starting a different role in a couple of months and am pleased to be getting back to work. It is a really interesting part time role and I think will really suit me.

I have found Dorothy Rowe's books to be very helpful. I also found "Out of me" by Fiona Shaw to be a good read about PND.

This is a really helpful thread and it was really useful to me to hear other's stories. Thank you.

Zzzzmarchhare Wed 26-Feb-14 19:44:39

Very late to the thread- but no I don't think it ever leaves you. It can sometimes be a positive thing though- I went to a local support group and we were told to do force yourself to do nice things and just enjoy them, recognise that it is needed for you to be well.
I've carried this on, and whilst I still feel the PND is hovering I am much happier with life.
I keep going to get the mindfulness book- not sure what's stopping me

2littlerascals Tue 25-Feb-14 19:32:11

Yes OP cbt gets a bit formulaic. However the feeling good book is pretty helpful.

MyriadOfMiracles Tue 25-Feb-14 18:25:09

Ty 2littlerascals i will get onto amazon this eve!
I am not doing cbt though. I have asked for some more intensive therapy on the nhs. The lady is going to see if its possible. I think cbt is fab but I would prefer a bit more therapy iyswim...

MummyBeerest Tue 25-Feb-14 17:17:34

I totally agree wrt the connection of underlying depression issues and PND. I have depression, but definitely had PND when my DD was born as it was unlike any low I'd ever experienced.

I think I'm better with it, but there are some days where I just feel like a complete failure. As a mother, wife, human. I don't regret having DD, but wish I'd had taken more control of my depression beforehand rather than just winging it while pregnant.

Counseling has helped, but it is difficult to find a good counselor IME. PND is so under reseached, and it takes a particular counselor to approach such a thing with an open mind. I had a doctor flat out say that I must have had deeper issues because "women usually love being mothers."

Hard as it was, I did not let that stop me from trying to find help elsewhere.

That's a journey that I think should never stop.

Good to hear things are better OP, and best of luck to all those in the same boat.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Tue 25-Feb-14 17:07:17

I prefer showy's blanket analogy, but a lot of people find this book explains what depression feels like very clearly.

alicemac83 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:35:01

Hi everyone, I actually stopped the counselling and started again with a new lady who was amazing! She basically said that there is way too much pressure on mums these days to be happy, work, do it all etc etc. When I told her I commmute, work full-time etc she said 'and don't forget your other full-time job -being a mum.' She also told me to draw a picture of my depression as I saw it and then basically tell it to 'f*ck off!' She was so funny, and so real. It was lovely.
I am a writer and I'm serioulsy thinking of writing a book about this issue. I would have loved to pick up a book written by real mums about this - and the issue of it staying with you in good ways and bad. I never read anything about this - just that it would go. It's so interesting xx

2littlerascals Tue 25-Feb-14 13:30:37

Ok. Well I had insurance covered stay in priory hospital so got access to good stuff and latest thinking. The mindful path to self-compassion is a great book for learning to be kind to and look after yourself. The mindful way through depression is great and has a CD with meditations that help you calm the mind. Feeling good the new mood therapy is a very good CBT book, as is CBT for dummies.

Guilt is a symptom of depression but also a symptom of motherhood - guilt if you work as not with kids, guilty/bored if you don't work as not bringing in cash and "kept"...

Symptoms of depression: low confidence, lethargy, too much/too little sleep, too much food/drink/fags... lack of interest in things, isolating yourself, negative spiralling thoughts, feelings of low self-worth,. Ooh so lovely!!!

I find getting outside helps, exercise helps, social contact of any positive kind, not watching bad tv, sleep, mindfulness, supportive friends, animals, but mostly developing a kind inner voice focussed lovingly on my own health and happiness and that of my family - as well of course as others. I've always been a perfectionist beat yourself up to succeed kind of person... I've also had to contend with a lot of traumatic and unpleasant events and abusive people so needed to learn how to deal better with those.

MyriadOfMiracles Tue 25-Feb-14 10:50:44

I would be interested in the books 2littlerascals?
Sorry to hear about your depression, I agree too that underlying mild depression can often explode into major depression (pnd) after baby. I think this was the case with me. However, i still feel generally quite ignorant on the subject! Not much support round here for is pnd sufferers. Not entirely confident about the cbt either. But as I say the ads have really lifted me. Would love some good reading material too though.

2littlerascals Tue 25-Feb-14 09:53:51

Just to add there can be, as I had, an underlying mild depression issue before you have kids that explodes. At least when I got severe depression due to trauma and history and twins well it all erupted. Some quality help and right medication helped and is helping me. I ave no happy functional family. Hubby does long hours. Bullied out of job when local friends as new mum... Hardly any wonder I got v ill. I think it leaves you mainly with a fear it could happen again, knowledge that people are fragile and some are blissfully unaware of this. However it can also leave you wiser and with great life and parenting skills. Know some good books if you're interested.

2littlerascals Tue 25-Feb-14 09:35:53

Had severe depression after having twins. It has lifted when I realised it wasn't actually about being a mum/not working but around deeper emotional issues. I had always used work to escape them. I'm not saying you're like me but worth thinking about if the depression has its roots elsewhere. Also had a therapist who really didn't help. Don't hesitate to walk away if she's no good. Have you tried mindfulness? It helps me a lot to just calm down mentally. Keep at it and good luck!

LadyInDisguise Mon 24-Feb-14 12:00:05

My PND did affect the bond between me and dc1. Mainly because the PND was never diagnosed so I never had the opportunity for ADs etc.... I remember when everything lifted, dc1 was about 2yo. The best image I had for the situation was this feeling that once I had a baby and someone somehow had replace my lovely baby with a monster (aka an unsettled toddler!).

But the wish to 'make everything right again' and to 'ensure that I gave the best life possible to dc1' means that we have developed a really nice strong bond together.
it took time, a lot of time. And some effort to make everything right again. But it did and I think this is the most important thing to keep in mind. That there is no reason for things to stay as they are and that they will get better. And also as Myriad said, the PND might also bring some positives in your life. I know it did.

ButEmilylovedhim Mon 24-Feb-14 11:29:06

TheReluctantCountess so sorry to hear that. It's a truly awful experience. It's good things are improving though. Have you had any counselling? Mine helped me so much.

TheBorrower congratulations on your pregnancy. Hope it all goes swimmingly this time. Have you told your midwife? Maybe they can put some help in place ready in case you need it. You may not though.

MyriadofMiracles I think that's completely normal! It takes time for love to develop fully even if there's that bond straightaway. That bond not being there at the start or for quite a while is normal too. Birth and its aftermath is a shocking business! You might not have a long road ahead. One of the mums in my antenatal class had PND but was only on the anti ds for a few months and was absolutely back to normal and very happy very quickly. That might be you too.

thanks and unmumsnetty hugs to all you lovely posters (((()))) Hope you all have good days x

MyriadOfMiracles Mon 24-Feb-14 09:01:24

Hi butemilylovedhim thanks for the reassurance smile I agree that people do push you to do as they did - as if it deviates from their way they may feel intimidated / inferior. Not everyone , but a fair few- consciously or unconsciously.
I didnt think this 10 months ago though- so every suggestion etc was met with antagonism on my part as I felt everyone was criticising me- I felt so alone and scared :/
I do often wonder if my pnd did affect bond with dd , i always say it didnt as I loved her from the start, but i sometimes question if i experienced the same love other mothers do initially . I know now that I am madly inlove with her- it is like an all consuming , powerful love that I was just too tired/ scared / lonely/ depressed basically!-to have initially.
However i do think a lot of mothers have the same experience who do not suffer pnd- so maybe it was normal.
Anyways, for me its too early to make sense of it all! I have only been taking ADs for 2 and half months... Looks like i have a long road ahead of me- I am feeling much more confident and positive with it thanks to the ADs though.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Sun 23-Feb-14 23:51:29

We gave ds rollerblades for his 8th birthday. A few months later, I took him rollerblading at a rink. I had never rollerbladed, but I had ice-skated as a child. I staggered on to the rink and wobbled away. By the time I had done a circuit, the basic skating skills had refreshed. I returned to ds to find him gaping wide-eyed at me: "Mum, you can rollerblade! That was fantastic!"

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it's a pretty good analogy for depression.

When I say that you never completely leave depression behind, I don't necessarily mean that you will always have sadness, anxiety, whatever form your depression takes. But you will always carry that experience with you, just as you carry every experience and learning you have had in your life. You never know - it may give you strength or be of use at some point. And other people see a different 'you'. Your prejudices and beliefs are not the same as theirs - often they have none, they believe in you more than you believe in yourself, and judge you less than you judge yourself.

TheReluctantCountess Sun 23-Feb-14 22:14:17

No, I don't think it does leave you. My son is seven and I had severe PND. I more or less ignored him for the first 18 months of his life, and then treated him as a mere nuisance until he was about 5. We have a reasonable relationship now.
I will always feel guilty. I feel guilty for not not being a 'mum' to him. I feel sorrow at everything I have missed out on. I feel resentment towards him but extreme grief and sorrow. I am learning to live with it...and him.

theborrower Sun 23-Feb-14 22:10:41

OP, I can relate to what you're saying too. I'm not sure it ever really leaves you, even though you're 'better' if you see what I mean. As another poster said too, I still feel unsure of my parenting sometimes. I've never been able to relate to friends who have loved being a mum from the word go or who have gone on about how they couldn't bear to leave their DC with a babysitter until x age. A close friend said that having her DD was the best thing that ever happened to her. I was honest and said that I used to feel it was the worst thing to ever happen to me (EMCS, PND and all the feeling gs associated with both). That is not the same as saying she is the worst thing to happen to me. Of course not. I love her so much, but her first year was difficult.

I'm pregnant again and feeling a bit anxious about it all again, but trying not to (it feels like nothing is in my control anyway, as it wasn't last time). But I sobbed in the bath the other night because I thought "I don't want to go through all that again".

Sorry, that's a ramble. Just wanted to say, I relate.

ButEmilylovedhim Sun 23-Feb-14 22:09:15

Hi Myriad! So glad you're feeling better. I was on prozac for a while too. I took citalopram first which worked well for a while but then seemed not to suddenly, that's when I switched to prozac. They are quite amazing when they work.

You're so right! You can't love a baby too much. You're giving her a lovely start. I wish people wouldn't criticise. I think it's none of their business, they don't know what damage they're doing and it's more of a comment on how they did things. They did it differently, they were right so if you're doing it differently then you must be wrong and uh oh what if you're doing it right, they must have been wrong. Can't have that thought so it's hastily stuffed down and they criticise instead. Probably happens without conscious thought. That's my musing anyway, for what it's worth.

Good luck with the cbt! I've heard very good things about it.

MyriadOfMiracles Sun 23-Feb-14 21:51:10

I am currently on Prozac and about to start cbt. I was diagnosed with pnd few months back when dd was 8 months. I didnt have bonding problems but I was insanely anxcious of her health, I had constant guilt about feeding issues, i really hated myself and i always questioned my parenting. Guilt consumed me. After a couple of months on some ad's i feel infinitely better!
I think I will always have little quirks with dd though- I am very conscious of her feelings etc and am often criticised for 'spoiling' her as I hate her crying and always hold her etc. i take no notice of others though , i always respond to my dd for her well being, but for my own too!!
A counseller told me depressed mothers ae often the most attentive and loving as they over compensate through guilt. I will never ever forget her kind words. I believe it to be absolutely true!

ButEmilylovedhim Sun 23-Feb-14 21:45:24

Hi sticky, nice to hear from another of our select group! How are you now? How did PND affect you? Don't answer if you'd rather not, of course.

I do find I am much more watchful of my moods and emotions now. I rather took stability for granted before.

stickygotstuck Sun 23-Feb-14 20:16:48

Coming late to this thread, but so glad I found it. Good to hear I am not alone.

Like many PPs, I didn't know how much headspace/personal space I absolutely need for myself until DD came along.

Will try and remember what potato said about beging a recovering depressive and being aware of it so you can be proactive in pushing back the clouds before the storm sets in.

alicemac83 Fri 21-Feb-14 14:47:18

Hi Crowsnest, no it was my second session. I don't mind talking about my past etc, but I feel that it's fine as long as I get some sort of reassurance. For example, I said that sometimes I feel guilty about being a working mum, and that I feel jealous of other mums who want to be at home with their kids, and she just nodded. I kind of wanted her to say 'it's ok to feel like that,' or something! But when I left I felt like I'd created a whole new problem for myself, and now I feel like I don't love my daughter anymore! It's horrible, when just monday and Tues I felt fine with her and enjoyed her.

crowsnest Fri 21-Feb-14 14:32:08

Was that your first session? The first session does leave you hanging a bit. I had CBT for anxiety a few years ago. It kind of drags out the past but after that I felt I got a bit more understanding from it. Understanding the why's and what's and how to go forward. Try again.

alicemac83 Fri 21-Feb-14 14:17:41

I can't wait to consistently feel ME again.
I'm feeling quite low/anxious today as I've started to feel like I don't want to be around my daughter. I know that it's the anxiety/depression telling me this, and that actually I do love her, but it's so hard to break these negative thoughts. I was fine before the counselling, and now I feel like I'm struggling again.

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