This month, I really wanted to get talking about PND, or Postnatal Depression. I have a feeling it’s a topic that I’ll be returning to at some point, as there are so many of you with stories to share. And it’s right that we should keep on talking about it – PND is not a linear or finite illness, and in many ways I feel that we all owe it to each other as parents to maintain that open dialogue.
As with all mental illnesses, PND doesn’t discriminate or take into account other lifestyle factors when it strikes. Oh, on the surface a sufferer could seemingly have it all and be incredibly high functioning, both full of love and very much loved. None of these things matter, and it’s breaking down that stigma and element of stereotype that’s so important.
I’ve been sent some truly heartbreaking posts on this, but also some amazingly uplifting and inspiring blogs too. I hope you enjoy this selection and please, if you are suffering – talk to someone about it. Reach out and don’t absorb it all on your own. My email address is at the bottom of this post if you just need a friendly ear, or to blurt something out that you don’t feel you can confess close to home. Equally, if you have a feeling that someone you know is having a hard time, then be that shoulder to cry on, that supportive ear.
First up is Laura, who blogs at The Unsung Mum. Laura’s posts are usually fantastically sweary and honest, and this one is too – but it’s a very wrenching account of her experience with PND. I’ve read a lot of posts on this, and I mean a lot, but I really do think Laura’s should be shared with all new mums as part of the “bumpf” they get when their midwife visits them post-birth.
Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum has written about the “curse” of PND in her family, and I found it quite a tough one to digest. I can only imagine the anguish that Aleena must have felt at her 20 week scan and I’m so glad that she managed to break the cycle and share her story.
Beth from Beta Mummy is renowned for just hitting the nail on the head, and I remember being stopped in my tracks when she published this post. It goes back to what I mentioned in my introduction about how, on the surface, a mum can seem like she’s smashing balls out of the park and achieving everything. But, when PND affects us, we’re all the same. We all feel the pain, and the fear, and the desperation, and we need to have each other’s backs just that little bit more.
My next post comes from Laura, at Dear Bear and Beany. She hid her PND for months, afraid of letting the mask slip and gradually withdrawing from many social situations just in case people spotted how she was really feeling. I hate to think of anyone feeling so alone, and pressured into concealment. I’m so glad that Laura feels able to talk about her experiences slightly more openly now, and that she’s using her blog to help others.
Louise, from Little Hearts, Big Love, has shared something that I’m sure is far more common than perhaps we admit. Her first daughter was born with a heart condition, requiring a great deal of surgery. Her second baby was conversely healthy, which was obviously a relief…but also a source of conflicting interests for Louise. She writes about how she wasn’t prepared for the amount of juggling and multitasking that she’d need to undertake, to balance the differing needs of her children.
This one from Lucy at The Parent Game really struck me, as she makes reference to a study which claims that mothers are more likely to suffer with depression when their child is four, than when they’re newborn. I have a four year old (well, next month) and I’m finding things a bit tough at the moment, so I can completely understand this research. This is a brilliant post that comes at PND from a different perspective, and it’s well worth a read.
My next post is from Emma at Island Living 365, who conversely suffered from depressions but managed to avoid PND. However, she still utterly gets the thought processes behind PND and of course she’s right when she states that “A lot of mums worry that if they are honest about their feelings then they will be judged, that they will have their child taken from them.”
I’m similar to Emma, I guess, in that I have a looooong history with depression and mental health issues that sort of blurred into the period where I thought I’d probably develop PND, but I didn’t. At least I don’t think I did, I’m still not sure…I’ve suffered with depression for so long that I think having children was just another element to add into the mix, rather than being a root cause. I wrote about it, though, so here’s my post if you’d like to read it.
I’ll be back in May with my next round-up. If you’d like yours to be considered, you can email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me a link via @mousemoo_metoo.