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Am I suffering from post-natal depression or is this normal ?

(7 Posts)
eepie Tue 18-Nov-14 11:57:42

I'm a young FTM, My DD is almost 19 weeks old, and I love her to pieces - we had a quite traumatic 40 hours labour - 37 or so hours in the birth centre - was pushing in birthing pool & out of it too for 2 hours with gas & air but my contractions started slowing down cos my body was giving up & the baby was stuck with her head turned to the side and kept descending into the birth canal and then going back as the contractions were not strong enough or close enough together. I think she was back to back as well or at least she was at the end of labour. I feel like I missed out the whole first stage of labour as was already 3cm dilated when I had a sweep at 41 weeks...then my contractions started that night at 6.30pm...The contractions very quickly within a couple of hours turned from manageable to full on, can't concentrate, can't talk, no position comfortable at all! Bath didn't help - was massively painful lying on my back in bath! Face flushed, vomiting etc. I don't know if this was because she had turned back to back or what...I still don't know why it was like this so quickly. Eventually after the 37 or whatever natural labour in BC, I had to be helped with ventouse, syntocin drip to increase contractions, epidural and episiotomy in the end - everything I didn't want (apart from a caesarean!) I also ended up losing a lot of blood and being told I should have a blood transfusion (which I refused as I couldn't stand another sleepless night in the maternity ward after not sleeping for all of the labour, the day after she was born and the first night with her too! So I had a long recovery & struggled with breastfeeding - she wouldn't latch at first so I fed her with colostrum in a syringe & when she did latch it was the most painful thing ever, I dreaded every feed but desperately wanted to breastfeed. Found out 2 weeks in that she had a 95% tongue tie ! After we got that sorted breastfeeding was instantly so much better and now I really enjoy it & she latches by herself & it's going really well. We have such a great bond now. I have looked after newborns before as a nanny but was not prepared for my DD at all ! She wanted to be held and jiggled forcefully ALL THE TIME - simple rocking or holding wasn't enough...had to be bounced on a pilates ball all day to get her to sleep...agony on my stitches and they ended up opening up ! If we put her down for a second she'd scream like she was being murdered. I had loads of help from my DP and MIL too but it was full on, especially trying to recover as well.
She has always been quite a good sleeper at night thank goodness though ! She is amazing and I love being her Mum.... But I find myself feeling quite 'blank' or 'numb' a lot of the time...bored and lonely other times. The only time I feel 'alive' is when I'm playing/engaging with my daughter or cuddling her and I feel I don't really laugh at my DP's jokes anymore...I find it hard to take an interest in anything outside my DD on a day-to-day basis. Sounds sad I know! I also find myself regularly irritable (not really with DD but more with my DP or just in general at 'things') and I sometimes get very upset getting dressed in the morning - especially if my DP comes into the bedroom and tries to chat to me whilst I'm getting changed & trying to figure out what to wear - I feel exposed and embarrassed about my body and just want some privacy/time to myself to get changed. I haven't really lost any weight since giving birth except the 4 or 5kg that my baby and the placenta weighed ! None of my clothes fit really and I'm constantly in leggings or struggling to find something flattering to wear that I feel comfortable in and I can breastfeed in. I feel pretty down about my weight/body at the moment & my DD only sleeps 30mins at a time in the day time, won't take a bottle & still feeds every 2 hours or less so I don't really have much time to myself or to exercise except I do loads of walking around with her in the pram pretty much every day & carry her around all day, but that doesn't seem to have made much of a difference !! As I'm breastfeeding I'm so hungry all the time ! But have stopped eating cake and junk now as want to get my figure back but really don't see a difference in my weight....Anyway. Sorry it's a bit of a ramble, but have just been feeling quite crappy, irritable and lonely and down for a little while and I don't know if it's just normal...maybe cos I don't get time to myself at all...or I don't see friends much, and my baby is quite a full on baby !! But maybe it's more than that..I don't know. Also I forgot to mention my relationship with DP has been tested to the limit by the birth & first few months with DD so that has been very stressful... we've almost split up a few times & have been in therapy together for last 5 weeks. Things are getting so much better now but its been really hard. Are my feelings just normal considering circs or is it more ? Advice and insights appreciated ! xx

Innocuoususername Tue 18-Nov-14 13:25:35

OP I'm not sure that you necessarily have PND, but you do sound like you are finding the adjustment to being a parent difficult. I don't blame you: it's really hard after a difficult labour and feeding problems, but even without that, you're getting used to the enormous responsibility you have for this tiny person. I found the physical changes difficult too, I'd never been althletic or particularly vain but I did feel like the stitches, the extra weight, the breastfeeding made my body not my own, IYSWIM.

But no one can diagnose over the internet, and if you mention how you are feeling to your HV or GP they can explore things a bit further to see if it is PND.

In the meantime, some practical suggestions:
If DD won't be put down, a sling can be fantastic. You can carry her but have two hands free to get on with other stuff;
Look into baby groups near you, maybe breastfeeding groups for some support with that - you might need to try a few to find one that suits, but I found getting out and chatting to mums in the same boat was a life saver;
If finances allow, try to get some new clothes that you feel good in. After both DC I felt better just getting some new cheapy tops and jeans that fit. I didn't spend a lot as I was planning on loosing the weight, but just having something decent to wear which would see me through a few months was a real mood booster. Avoid leggings! You need to wear longer length tops with them which are a pain to lift up for feeding. I found jeans with a loose top and vest more flattering, to feed you lift the top and pull the vest down with your bra so your stomach is covered too;
Re baby sleeping, I've had 2 catnappers. The first time it really stressed me out, as friends babies would sleep for hours; the second time I've just accepted that she'll sleep when she's tired, and it's so much easier on me because I'm not trying to force the issue.

Innocuoususername Tue 18-Nov-14 13:29:12

Oh and re the weight, 9 months on, 9 months off is the saying! Keep up with the walking and improved diet and you should see a difference. I found Pilates good for generally toning everything back up (it gave me my waist back!)

mrsmugoo Wed 19-Nov-14 21:14:18

To be honest I could have written much of your post word for word (minus the traumatic labour, I had a c sec for breech!) for the first 6 months of being a Mum - but I never thought I had PND, just that motherhood was a major shock to the system!

My DS is 8 months now and the last two months have been soooo much better. I feel I've started to properly get in the swing now and I'm enjoying it more and more every day.

aroha77 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:48:00

Wow sounds like you've had a rreally full on time! I wouldn't underestimate the impact that a such a long traumatic labour can have on you. Perhaps you could just describe to your GP how you're feeling and see if they have any ideas?

I definitely feel better about myself now I've stopped trying to slim into my pre pregnancy jeans and just bought some clothes in the next size up! Also feeling better now I've started to make myself go to something each day. I find 'breastvests' really useful to wear under a normal top and still feel comfortable to breastfeed in.

Good luck, I'm sure you'll look back in a month or two and realise you're feeling a lot better xx

Waggamamma Thu 20-Nov-14 14:58:39

I've just had my second baby, he's eight weeks old and I could have written your post! I'm totally in love with my boys and generally happy but it is overwhelming.

I've piled on weight during the pregnancy and none of my clothes fit properly, I feel fat and frumpy. I hate dp seeing me undressed and avoid sex, although I'm all healed down below. I hate being touched and I feel terrible to keep pushing do away when he tells me I'm sexy etc.

I try to get out the house everyday and do something for myself everyday, even if it's just a nice coffee or a bath.

I don't have much advice but you're not along feeling how you do.

eepie Sat 22-Nov-14 12:32:37

Thank you so much everyone for all the tips and advice/words of encouragement. :-)
I think I am just struggling to come to terms with how much I have changed ie my body and my life...I was a full-time nanny before I got pregnant and looked after the baby from 3 weeks old to 1 year old. He was bottle fed and obviously I got to go home at the end of the day but I still felt I should have been quite well prepared for how all-consuming and intense babies can be....however I just was not prepared for a baby that will not be put down and screamed whenever I did for the first 2 or 3 months or for the catnapping and overtiredness...the cluster feeding...the nights...the reflux...the feeding every hour...the not taking a bottle...the witching hour crying ! I thought using my nannying experience as a frame of reference (10 years experience) that I would get a break to reconnect to myself, sleep, or get housework done or just "think" (!) whilst my baby had naps in the day time...I am used to looking after babies who have long-ish naps at regular times and no matter what I've tried I cannot get my baby to do this so I just have to accept her....and accept that I have to put myself on hold for a while until she is older and I can try and reconnect to me and my needs/inner thoughts/inner self. I wasn't prepared for this complete loss of identity/formation of a new one. I wasn't prepared for how upset and stressed and devastated my babies cries would make me feel ! I wasn't prepared for how much I would worry about whether she's happy and ok and the GUILT of thinking I was not pleasing her or looking after her properly when she didn't seem to be happy. And I was under the illusion that breastfeeding made you lose weight easily ! NOPE ! It has just all been a huge shock. And the strained relationship with my DP has not helped at all. I love my baby more than anything - she is lovelier than I ever could have imagined but I think I've just been quite disappointed with how I've felt as a new mother and shocked at how brutal the recovery from the traumatic birth was. I guess it will take me a while to process and come to terms with all this and I haven't really had much time or headspace to process it yet. I went to a pilates class yesterday which made me feel really good whilst my MIL looked after my DD...she was starving by the time I got back but it was good smile

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