I thought I would share my experience of PND as mine seems to be different from the norm that is promoted in various articles and in general knowledge about the condition.
I think mine started as a result of expectations that were too high. During pregnancy I went for the all natural approach and booked a home birth. I was determined to have a calm and relaxed birth due to a severe dislike of being a patient in a hospital (I have trained as a midwife in the past and now cover local breastfeeding support so working there has never been the issue).
Sadly for some reason unknown, my waters broke at 34 weeks, and my dream of a home birth was shattered. Even worse, it was reverted to the complete opposite of everything I had hoped for. As I was uneducated on my choices at the time, I was admitted into hospital to be monitored in case of infection risk. I managed to put the induction off for 4 days before I eventually succumbed to how paranoid they had made me with all the talk of infection and low birth weight etc. Before I could be induced I was transferred to a hospital in the middle of nowhere and at least an hours travel from our home. The induction went fairly smoothly, if not painfully, and after 2 epidurals (1 failed), luckily my little boy was born naturally weighing a healthy 5lbs6oz at 35+1 weeks with minimal damage.
It was what followed that I think caused the depression in the end. We were assigned a neonatal nurse due to the prematurity (he was completely fine other than some jaundice which is to be expected at that gestation). This nurse was awful, she knew that I had trained in midwifery and solely took it upon herself to go against every wish I had for my son and tried to overrule me at every turn. Even to the point that when I refused a feeding tube and antibiotics for him (she wanted them as a precaution with no medical reasoning for them). She attempted to send a nurse to wheel my son away whilst I slept to have the feeding tube and cannula fitted. Safe to say I didn’t sleep for pretty much the whole 6 days we were there following the birth. We were treated like clueless and negligent children for making our own informed choices and eventually had to complain to the head of midwives and demand the neonatal nurse stay away from me. We spent an unnecessary week miles away from home with no family and no support all because of a neonatal nurse who was eventually overruled by her superior who apologised and said she couldn’t understand why we had been kept in so long.
I thought I would share as I see a lot in the media of PND that an automatic symptom of it is to struggle to love your child. I would like to vouch that this really isn’t the case for me. If anything my experience made me insanely close to my son, to the point of overbearingly paranoid about his care, which can only be a good thing for him. I have spent every waking hour with him and he is now a thriving 8 month old boy. My depression was based around feelings of low self worth but never did leaving or harming my son ever cross my mind at all! He has always had everything he needs and more, he still attended all the baby groups and everything even if I was lowest of the low, I just became very good at acting in public to ensure he had a normal life.
I have attended a PND group through my local NHS and I’m happy to say that is has helped so well, I highly recommend it to everyone that is put off by it, it really is worth it. I chose this route due to breastfeeding and refusing anti-depressants. There is still a follow on support group now the course has finished that will continue once a week.
One massive bit of advice, if you have a partner that is struggling with you, remember how much your PND demands of them, you may not realise but it is a lot. Me and my partner have had the worst arguments we’ve ever had since having PND. But coming through the other side as the fog begins to clear, I have realised how difficult I have been and just how patient my partner has been. They may seem like your worst enemy at times but mine saved me.
Hope some other mothers can relate to this xx
If you would like to get in touch with Natalie, you can reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org