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Those of you with children and "shaky mental health"

15 replies

BrightLightsAndSound · 25/10/2018 06:42

Just out of interest....

My DP definitely wants kids and we're having more and more conversations about it.

I'm just worried about what being pregnant and then caring for a child does to your MH if you're already a bit "shaky" in that area.

I've suffered with very intense panic attacks since adolescence, reckon I have some kind of anxiety problem. Tendency to carastrophise A LOT.

Just wanted to hear from women in a similar position - did carrying and caring for a child make your problems worse? Or did it do the opposite?

OP posts:
SeventyNineBottlesOfWine · 25/10/2018 07:08

Truthfully, it was incredibly hard for me.
However my circumstances made it that way.
I had an extremely unsupportive partner who didn't lift a finger to help me after the birth of my daughter.
It was an incredibly traumatic labour and I'd ended up with an emergency caesarean. I was alone trying to care for my disabled son plus my newborn daughter.
It was me pushing my son in his wheelchair to school just 3 days after the caesarean, it was me doing all the caring for my daughter.
My partner just played on his PC games and didn't raise a finger to help.
My family also did nothing to help and I was completely alone.
He then walked out on us when my daughter was just 10 months old.
The whole episode triggered a breakdown and I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Before having the breakdown I'd been to see a doctor about my mental health and was told by her to be "grateful I had a healthy baby" and that was it.
I strongly believe that if I had the right support in place I'd have been fine.
Pregnancy and caring for a child is hard work anyway without the additional pressures of mental health.
If you have a supportive partner and family I believe that makes all the difference.
I spent many years as a single mother and although it's been hard managing my mental health and caring for my children- I've managed it and I believe also, I've done a good job of it.
My children are wonderful and I'm very proud of them.
I've now met a wonderful man who is kind, supportive and caring and cares for my children as if they were his. Life is so much easier now.
I strongly believe that t's just having the right support in place that matters.

SandysMam · 25/10/2018 07:16

I second is vital. I have always suffered from panic attacks and anxiety but I actually think things are better now as I have to just get on with it for the kids and am much more present and in the moment rather than worrying about the future. One thing I will say is that I couldn’t cope mentally with the sleeplessness of breastfeeding. With my first, I tried and almost went mad through lack of sleep. I then beat myself up about formula feeding and the whole thing was pretty bad. With my second, I fed the colostrum then when I felt myself going under with exhaustion, OH took the baby for 3 nights while I slept and we bottle fed from there. Sleep and mental health go hand in hand for me, and whilst I know breast is best, I made peace with this and have enjoyed my second baby so much more and my mental health has been ok. There is also must more support now for mental health in pregnancy. Good luck OP!

LalaLeona · 25/10/2018 07:25

I did find it hard..I've got depression and anxiety. Mainly the early days when was sleep deprived. Lots of support from my mum, antidepressants and counselling and i got through it. Now my kids are older I'm off the meds and although I have low days I manage fine. It's good that you are aware and do be prepared to have a few relapses. Children and babies are such a worry generally but they also make you so happy

YesItsMeIDontCare · 25/10/2018 07:31

Please don't take me as "typical", but I found my mental health issues easier to deal with when DS was young. Sounds a bit daft I know, but I think it's because I had something more important to focus on.

My anxiety all but disappeared, no panic attacks, but I did take medication for depression due to the state of my marriage 🙄.

Sadly now that DS is older it's all crept back in, but it's not guaranteed that you'll struggle. Good luck.

Frogscotch7 · 25/10/2018 07:34

Childbirth triggered a mental breakdown for me. I wouldn’t change things and I’d still go again if I was able. But my husband is a pure rock. I wouldn’t be alive without him.

eco1636 · 25/10/2018 07:34

I decided to stop antidepressants to get pregnant and breastfeed and it was NOT easy, any of it. Loved the first year of ds’s life tho, so I don’t think I had added ‘pnd’.
Did have pnd with dd tho and that was the worst it can get.

LoudestRoar · 25/10/2018 07:36

My mental health is better now my firstborn is older but it really did set off my anxiety when he was a baby.
However, for me, that outweighs how amazing it is being a mum, despite any issues I have.
Although we can tell you our experiences, it's hard, as no one, not even you, will be able to know how you will react.
The best thing is to make sure you have support readily available to you. Tell your midwife, doctors, health visitors your fears. Let your loved ones and friends know, and ask that they speak to you if they feel you need help.
Good luck!

GreenFieldsofFrance · 25/10/2018 07:37

Hi op, i'm aware of certain kinds of anti depressants you can take while pregnant but the ones I was on, you couldn't. My gp prescribed me some in anticipation of PND and i started taking them as soon as dc3 was born. This did help but honestly, I still got PND (again!). I found CBT helped and i agree with Pps that having support is going to be vital. I don't know what I would have done without my dh and DM.

LilMy33 · 25/10/2018 07:42

It wasn’t easy. I didn’t take anti depressants during either pregnancy but I was back on them within weeks after both births and I would always say to anyone to just take the meds if the doctor suggests them, don’t wait it out or martyr yourself because you want to cope without them. I was suicidal right after having my first baby. I’m a much happier, stable and therefore better mother when I’m on anti ds and I no longer feel any shame about that.

My current partner and I are planning to have at least 1 child together within the next year or so (hopefully) and the only thing I plan to do differently is to continue to take anti depressants during pregnancy this time and bypass breastfeeding (it was a source of major anxiety for me the previous times). Basically I have to consider all of family and having a mum who’s coping and happy is important. Partner is fully supportive of that. (If he wasn’t there would be no baby and tbh no relationship)

NightOwlHoney · 25/10/2018 07:42

To be honest, having DC has wrecked my mental health. We have five though. Maybe if we'd just had the one, things would have been different. I'm a shell of myself.

EthelHallowsBroomstick · 25/10/2018 07:47

I have BPD, though it's a lot better now than 10-15 years ago when I was first diagnosed.

It's easier now as I have a good excuse not to work, and I found working really hard, was often off sick for long periods etc.. So nice not to have that stress anymore- I realise not everyone had the option to be a SAHP though. Relatedly it's also given me a good excuse to be antisocial, as again, social events stress me out. I do socialise during the day with my kids but can avoid adult only stuff.

I also no longer feel suicidal as I know I wouldn't want to leave my kids.

It's also given me self worth / a sense if purpose I didn't have before (not saying childfree people don't have worth or purpose, just that me alone didn't).

The things that have made it harder are lack of alone time (either on my own completely or just with DH) and sleep deprivation. I also struggle to not be a martyr sometimes as I find it reaaaaally hard to acknowledge my own needs and with kids it's very easy to feel you're putting them first when you're maybe just making your life really hard. E.g. I didn't do any sleep training or weaning til either of mine were almost 3 even though breastfeeding hourly all night every night was killing me. I'd say it's balancing my needs and their own I've found hardest and still struggle with, as obviously ignoring my needs leads to bad MH for me, but I still feel I don't deserve to ever come first. Argh it's hard to explain.

ethelfleda · 25/10/2018 07:52

I have a one year old. So far, having him has made me less anxious in some ways. Because I am focused on him, I’m not inside my head as much so I don’t catastrophise as much.

BUT I am very tired and under the weather too which can make me feel very low.

I don’t know. I guess he is my reason to try and cope better as well. To set an example so to speak. That’s just me though - maybe my anxiety isn’t as bad as other people’s.

darkriver198868 · 25/10/2018 08:38

I would honestly agree with everyone here support is vital. I honestly agree if I had a bigger support network my story may have been different.

I also feel a loving partner makes all the difference as well.

Kemer2018 · 25/10/2018 08:42

In all honesty, unless you have definite, uncompromising support or decent meds, I wouldn't recommend it.
My mh has decreased since having a child. The anxiety of motherhood is a whole new ball game and has significantly decreased my enjoyment of it.
It's like a death eater. Sorry.

Wolfiefan · 25/10/2018 08:45

You “reckon” you have an anxiety problem? So you’ve never sought help? You should. Before you even think of having children you need to try and get your mental health on as even a keel as you can. Pregnancy, birth and young children can all affect anxiety levels.

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