1 in 10 experience postnatal depression (PND). Carla, a member of Westwood PTA in Buckley, shares her story…
I had a happy life. I had a long-term partner, house, dog, a great family and friends network, and a gorgeous happy 3-year-old, who was a joy to be with.
We decided to expand our little family, so I got pregnant.
Everything went smoothly, no issues in pregnancy, until at 36 weeks I was told that he was breech. I would need to attend hospital to try and turn him, a procedure called external cephalic version (ECV). I would only be in there for a day, as long as there were no complications.
A short stay turned into a long stay in hospital
I attended the hospital as agreed, but on scanning me first they found he had moved again; he was no longer breech but was ‘transverse lie’. This was a different situation, and performing ECV would not sort it. So I had to stay in hospital for a few days. No real explanation was given as to why, but I followed medical advice and moved in!
I was put on a ward and left to it really. I wasn’t sure why I was there, and my consultant never came to see me. My partner and 3 year old son were in daily and it was devastating; a 3 year old can’t really understand why mum is not at home. Yet I made sure his visits were exciting, we would go to the cafe and have cake!
After a few days of nothing, I was examined by another consultant who said, “I think we can induce you at 38 weeks.” OK I thought, that’s just a week away. I thought I could go home and come back, but no I wasn’t allowed. There was still no clear reason why.
That was until I talked with a midwife on a night shift…
Midwife: “Do you know what to do if your waters break?”
Me: Ermmmm yes tell someone!
Midwife: “You must immediately get on all fours and alert as an emergency.”
Now I’m thinking, what the hell!
Midwife: “If your waters break, as your baby is lying sideways across your cervix, the umbilical cord will deliver and starve your baby of oxygen – the all fours position is the best chance of the cord not cutting off the supply.”
And there it was, the reason why I was in hospital. If I went home I risked killing my baby. I was already in an emotional state after being separated from my family and I now had this to contend with! This changed everything.
Complications with consultants
So the next time I was visited by a consultant I asked when they could deliver my baby. Only this guy wasn’t as nice as the previous consultant – “We have no intention of delivering your baby early, you will stay here until nature takes its course or go overdue.”
I explained that I couldn’t wait that long, that I had a family to get home to and that the previous consultant said 38 weeks. He wasn’t bothered by this. He had decided it wasn’t happening and there we go!
My partner and son continued to visit daily and it was getting increasingly emotional. I had a toy drawer in my hospital cupboard to play with my son, we would have picnics in the gardens, and I even sneaked to Morrisons to do a food shop with them on a few occasions!
Cutting off the outside world
I craved normality and I was starting to suffer mentally. Their leaving after each visit destroyed me. I started not getting up during the day. The midwives were great and listened to me cry, the other girls on the ward who were staying for similar reasons – “lifers” as we called ourselves – were fab, they understood it and we supported each other.
Yet I started cutting off people visiting me, as I couldn’t handle it. The only people I wanted to see was my partner and son. I even cut them off a few times, as the leaving part just got too much to handle. My poor 3 year old had only been in nursery for 6 weeks before this happened, he was having sleepovers at his nan’s while my partner worked and was picked up from school by a variety of family members who thankfully juggled his care between them. He was happy enough though.
I was starting to resent the baby inside me
After nearly 3 weeks of messing around with consultants telling me different things, I learned that my actual consultant had never been to see me! So I demanded to see her, as I was really starting to lose the plot now. I wanted answers; they were delivering others at 38 weeks, so why not me?
I was told that it was better for baby to stay in, even though it’s dangerous if my waters go. My life was on hold, but my mind was in turmoil. I was starting to resent the baby inside me, he had ruined my perfect family life, and along with that feeling came a massive lump of guilt for feeling like that!
I flipped when my consultant came. I was screaming and crying, “You can’t keep changing your minds, you have to get him out of me or I’m going home.” I knew this was risking my baby’s life but I really couldn’t cope with this anymore with no end in sight – my baby wasn’t going to be small or anything either!
Carla continues to share her story in the second part of this post, where she talks about what happened after the birth of her son…
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.
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