Earlier this week Carla began sharing Postnatal Depression experience. In Part One of her story she talked about pregnancy complications, her feelings of isolation and how she started to resent the child inside of her. Here Carla talks about what happened after she gave birth…
The scans showed he was over 8lbs, healthy, no real reason a week or so early would harm him. He turned daily, so he was never going to get in position. We knew it would be a caesarean section but they were happy to let me go 2 weeks over before this. That would have been 5-6 weeks in hospital – and there was absolutely no way this would happen. After my meltdown my consultant said I could elect for a C-section – on his due date – so I did.
I loved him but felt nothing
I continued to resent my baby and just wanted him out and me out of hospital. C-section day arrived, I was terrified but felt nothing about the baby, just relief that an end was in sight. When they delivered him it was like someone was living my life but not me. I felt detached. I loved him and cared for him but felt nothing. And because of the C-section I had to stay on again!
He wouldn’t feed properly, which just caused me even more anxiety. It was 5 days before I left. I still felt detached, it’s hard to explain, I loved him but felt nothing… it’s a very strange feeling, no bond as I had had with my 1st son.
Home at last
When I got home it was hard. I had been in hospital for 4 weeks and felt institutionalised, and being home with a newborn and 3 year old was crazy. In a way I almost wanted to go back to hospital, as I craved something that I wasn’t getting from being at home – not sure quite what!
I slowly adapted to being at home, had lots of visits from people, all the normal newborn things, but I still didn’t feel right – still felt detached, and guilty – this was my child yet I felt nothing! Days turned into weeks, I ploughed on with home life and enjoying being with my 3 year old, not enjoying having a newborn. Don’t get me wrong he was well cared for but I was functioning not living the days.
It carried on, I got out of the house as much as possible, as I just wanted to be an adult not a new mum, I joined the school’s PTA – people, I got to socialise – and stayed detached.
I had to talk to the doctor and my family
By now the guilt was huge, I needed to love this child properly, he was my son. The health visitor never picked up on my feelings, it’s so easy to bluff your way through, why didn’t I admit it to them? Irrational fear of them taking my kids away! Even though they were cared for.
After 4 months I knew it couldn’t continue, and went to the doctors. The fabulous lady doctor listened as I explained my detachment, the trauma from hospital, the separation from my family – and she said I had postnatal depression, well done for confronting it and asked how could they help me.
I knew I wasn’t keen on taking pills, but I am a talker, so I talked! After visiting the doctor it was as if someone had turned on a light. I confessed to my partner, family and friends and guess what? They were supportive, no-one blamed me, no-one judged, everyone talked, and we talked and talked and talked!
I kept regular appointments with the doctor and things gradually improved. But I still felt as though something was missing despite feeling miles better, as my bond with my son was starting to grow and life was getting easier. It was another few months before the missing piece of the jigsaw fitted. I had been back on the pill as soon as I could – but it wasn’t suiting me, so we changed it for a mini pill – progestogen only – and bang, everything fitted, I felt whole!
My confidence grew, I felt like me – it was fantastic.
More should be done about postnatal depression
5 years later, I still have pangs of guilt about the lack of bond I had with Ryan but he is unaware. He is a happy crazy child, full of life and unaware of the rough road he started on. There’s no lasting effects on anyone, but it’s something I would never wish on anyone. The only downside was it put us off having more kids.
I think more should be done in the country to identify and help women with postnatal depression, it’s a horrible feeling and sadly can end in horrific ways – mine was only mild compared to some. If you know someone who has a newborn, be there for them, probe gently to see if they really are OK. It’s so easy to paint on a smile and fool everyone that you’re OK.
Postnatal Depression Helplines
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be experiencing postnatal depression, talk with your GP or health visitor. There are also organisations that can help such as:
- Association for Post Natal Illness (APNI) – 0207 386 0868 (10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday) – email@example.com
- National Childbirth Trust (NCT) – 0300 330 0700 (8am to Midnight, Monday to Sunday)
- PANDAS, helps, supports and advises any parent who is experiencing a perinatal mental illness – 0843 28 98 401 (9am – 8pm every day)
- Mind, the mental health charity – 0300 123 3393 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to find out about services available to you and your child in your area or would like to chat about family matters in general, get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline.
- Phone: 0300 222 57 57
- Text: 07860 052 905
- Instant message (see top of page)
We are open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.
- Postnatal Depression: The Sad Reality (Part One)
- A Problem Shared: Postnatal Depression
- Q&A: Raising A Child With Autism
- Affordable Holiday Childcare In Wales
- Twins: Challenges In The Early Days