I was brought up in a nice white middle-class home, I had a happy childhood. But then in my teens, it all started to go wrong. I was bullied and I couldn’t talk about it. After a while, my happiness was gone and I felt different. I became too scared to do anything on my own without my friends, I started drinking alcohol to help me function. I felt like I was useless and hopeless. I started cutting myself and overdosed. I ended up being on the wrong side of everyone, including my parents. I was bewildered about why my life was going this way.
Things got better when I met my lovely husband and was pregnant with my first baby at 24. It all started up again when a friend fell out with me. The feelings of shame and dread returned again. It was relentless. Every day I would wake up with a cold feeling of dark dread in me. The baby was born by emergency cesarean, 4 weeks early. He couldn’t latch on. I wasn’t coping, in a ward with 4 other mums, with terrible sleep. The hospital midwife was cross with me when I couldn’t stand up because of the pain on the third day. ‘Do you find you’re always super slow healer?’ she snapped. It set me off. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and couldn’t stop crying.
Every day for 5 years after that I woke up with a cold, black dread in me. I couldn’t bond with baby, and even after my second, it was still stuck inside me. I never thought of telling anyone. It was just who I was. I thought of suicide every day but had to stay in hell on earth here for my babies. Every day, hour and second of that time, I felt cold, empty and dead inside.
Now I know that it was probably PND, but I’d never heard of it before. I never knew I was more likely to get it because I’d been depressed before. It really affected my marriage – we broke up – and the bonding and parenting of my children. I wish I had known about it, and learned that I had to reach out and tell people how I was feeling. Things could have been so different for me, my husband, and our children. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have, because actually, it’s needless. We know about PND now, and we how to care for mums like me. Thank you for your campaign, we need it, x.