Accepting that I have Postnatal Depression

PNDIn general I am quite an upbeat positive person but for some time I have been feeling very very low and not myself. I have felt very negative about pretty much everything and feared I was sounding like such a misery on my blog. I considered the possibility of Postnatal Depression but the label seemed too big, if that makes sense. I think of PND and I think of Mum’s suffering with it and I just feel like “no, not little old me, I’m just a daft woman struggling to cope. I just need to get on with it and sort myself out.” So for some time that is what I have been trying to do.

I’m a big believer in faking it till you make it. I felt if I told myself I was happy then eventually I would get there. So I kept trying and making myself take deep breaths and stay positive and fixed on my goals. But the problem is that anytime anything went the slightest bit wrong I would crash and be right back to rock bottom. My attempts weren’t working. My motivation for my diet has gone too and I have been comfort eating like crazy but not feeling any better.

A good friend of mine used a great analogy for depression recently. “It’s like you’re constantly cycling uphill and you’re giving all you’ve got. You can’t stop peddling as you know you’ll go downhill, but you can’t keep going the way you are either.” I felt this summed it up perfectly and I have been trying so so hard to just keep going but it wasn’t working. I know how lucky I am and I have a wonderful husband and 2 amazing kiddies but I really haven’t been enjoying, well, anything, for some time.

It has also started to affect Monkey too. The last couple of weeks in particular were really low for me and I have been in tears quite a lot and very snappy. Monkey is a sensitive little soul and he really takes it to heart when I shout at him or am upset. He obviously copes with the odd time but the frequency lately has had a cumulative effect on him. He has been going through a bit of separation anxiety at playgroup and crying a lot about going and when he is there. He is waking up some mornings crying. When we ask him why he just says “Mummy.” Which makes me feel awful I have to tell you.

So last week I finally accepted that this isn’t normal. That it was time to get some help. I went to the Dr and after a chat with a very lovely lady Dr she confirmed my suspicions. I am suffering from postnatal depression and it does need to be treated for my sake and the sake of the children.

As well as the low-dose antidepressants my lovely GP said I also need to let go of my need to be in control. I need to stop trying so hard to be a perfect Mummy all the time as I am dooming myself to failure. She said I need to remember that I am a person too and not just Mum and have to put myself first sometimes. I need to make time to do some exercise as that will help my mood too. She really was helpful and understood exactly how I felt.

I am a few days into the tablets and have felt a bit odd at times, which I think is normal. But in general I am already feeling better. I think even just the act of accepting that I need some help, and taking the pressure off myself instead of constantly trying to pretend all is fine has made a big difference.

Hubs has been great and supportive. He has said he feels guilty like it is his fault and he should have done more and of course that isn’t true. In true man style he wants a solution and he wants to ‘fix’ it but he is coming round to the fact that medication is the right thing for now. I never wanted to be on antidepressants and never thought I would be, not that there is anything wrong with them, I just didn’t think I would need them. But right now, I do. They are low dose, non-addictive so I can stop anytime, although my GP has recommended I use them for at least 4 months.

So we shall see how things go, hopefully the tablets will just help me stay a bit more level and stop the crashing lows I have been feeling, meaning I can enjoy my little ones, and everything, a bit more. The label of “postnatal depression” still feels a little uncomfortable, like I don’t deserve it, but I guess like anything it is a spectrum and there are varying depths of it. I still feel uncomfortable writing this post but I have accepted that I need some help and I will come through the other side of it, I know I will.

Have you suffered with postnatal depression? How did you feel about the label?

My word for the week is “acceptance.”

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62 thoughts on “Accepting that I have Postnatal Depression

  1. I can so imagine how hard it must be to get to a point where you think: this is not normal. Because the state your life is in after having a baby is not ‘normal’ to begin with. You are constantly in a state between waking and sleeping, everything seems like a dream, you can’t really live and enjoy half the time because it takes all your energy to just get to the next feed. So when the baby fog starts to lift but you find that the world is still drained of colour and sunshine on the other side of it, it must be very hard to recognise that that was not what it was like before. I can’t remember how I felt (especially physically) before I had my son. I know I was always moaning that I was tired, but I had No. Idea.

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I am so glad that you have found some help and a way to start getting back to a new, but happier normal!

    • Thank you Judith and you are so right, I suddenly realised I hadn’t found anything funny in ages, like I had had a sense of humour transplant or something and I realised hang on, this isn’t me! haha no none of us had a clue before we had kids what tired really was did we? xx

  2. Acceptance I found was my first step in to feeling better. I had awful PND when Eli was small and lived in fear that social services would see me as an unfit mother and take him away. It was such a relief and a huge weight off of my shoulders to finally admit it to people and allow myself to start taking steps forward.

    ive since had anti-natal depression with this pregnancy and ive been told I am high risk for pnd this time but im undergoing preventative treatment and have a good care team and this time I know not to be ashamed and that things can get better.

    much love to you x

    • thank you and I agree that the weight that has come off with accepting it has already made a difference and from here the only way is up. I am glad you have the support you need this time round and there is definitely no reason to be ashamed. Much love to you too xx

  3. Caroline, I am so glad you sought help and got some, it is brave and you should be proud of yourself for taking control. Thankfully I didn’t suffer pnd, but I did think if I stuck at breastfeeding feeding any longer it would have been on the table as I felt so overwhelmed. It is such a good post, although we all know how normal and common pnd is, I rearly see any posts about it. I hope the sun shines on you soon x

    • Thanks Fiona, it was difficult to right and hubs felt a bit exposed when I shared it but I feel that as part of accepting it I have to be open about it as that will help me, and hopefully help others who feel the same xx

  4. So glad that you have managed to get some help from your GP and sounds like the anti-depressants are helping ease those crashing lows. I can really identify with this – it sounds very similar to how I felt after Sophie was born in many ways and it took me a long time to accept that there was more to how I felt than just having to try harder and tomorrow would be better. Acceptance is the first step on the road to recovery and well done for taking that step. Sending you a virtual hug and hope that things will now start looking up x

    • Thanks Louise and this is exactly how it was – just soldiering on and then suddenly realising that I was getting precisely nowhere! Thank you and good to know from your experience that things do improve! xx

  5. I’m sorry to hear that Caroline,
    but well done for being so brave for sharing your feelings in this post and taking the first step to acceptance.
    Sending love and hoping things get a little easier one small step at a time x

    • Thank you Jayne it isn’t easy talking about it but I din’t like the stigma about it so would rather have it out in the open than try to hide it as i don’t think that will help me get better xx

  6. My mummy goes through massive ups and massive lows. Well done for seeking help. My mummy can’t bring herself to speak to anyone and marks it down to bad PMT…but who knows she may be suffering from PND too. Hopefully you will start to feel better soon x Daddies always want quick fixes…sometimes it takes time. Thanks for sharing and being so honest #PoCoLo

    • Thank you, being a Mummy can be hard and it is hard to know the difference sometimes but when the lows are too low and the ups don’t last very long it can have a cumulative effect and for me I just realised I wasn’t myself anymore. Hope your Mummy is ok and gets help if she needs to – and i am here to chat too if ever she needs it xx

  7. You’ve done so well recognising that you needed some help, and being brave in taking that step. I think ‘acceptance’ is such an empowering word and feeling. I do hope that things start to improve for you soon, sending love xx Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Thanks Jocelyn it has taken some time but I feel good that I am there as at least now things can start to improve! xx

  8. Lovely word. I think that for us to start making a situation right we need to acknowledge, accept that something is wrong. I dont know if I had this as my son got sick few days after I gave birth. So I dont have time to think about myself. Looking back .. I shouldve given myself more time to reflect on things after I gave birth as its affecting me now. Too late. Hard to expound but its too late.

    Good luck on the meds and hope everything will be better =)

    #pocolo

    • Thanks lovely and it is so hard to focus on yourself when you have a tiny person and the effect really can be long lasting. Hope you are ok too xx

  9. Oh bless you. Such a big thing to accept but so important for you and your family to have that, plus the help you need to get through. I’m in the middle of accepting something which is incredibly hard, so I’m not being flippant when I say that I really do empathise with you. Unfortunately, I can’t be as open on my blog ( for lots of complicated reasons) about it all, but you have my love and support for what that’s worth x

    • Thank you Iona i really do appreciate the support. I hope you are ok with what you are going through the love and support are very much reciprocated xx

  10. Sorry to hear that hun but I’m glad you took a little trip to the docs. I was wondering if you were ok when I had a read of some of your posts but like you thought “this was pass”. Just a bad time and all will get better but obviously it wasn’t!The tablets will hopefully do the trick and perhaps you will feel like you need to have more time to yourself, which will boost your mood! If you ever need to chat just send me a tweet and say hello. Lots love xx #wotw

    • Thanks Sarah, I too thought it would just pass but then realised I had about zero sense of humour and just thought, “this isn’t me!” and knew something had to be done! Hopefully things will be better soon, thanks lovely, lovely to know :) xx

  11. Oh goodness, I really feel for you. I am so glad you have sought help, it is vital for you and your family. I have three children and have had pnd with all of them, albeit milder each time. I didn’t get treatment and had an awful time after my first but have since had treatment for depression and feel much better. I felt very odd for the first week or so of taking my meds but it soon settled and I felt much more motivated. I also had some cognitive behavioural therapy which was helpful. I still struggle at times and have to watch myself but I realise how important support, help and friendship is as well as formal treatment. Consider yourself to be on a journey. Please be kind to yourself and if you have people around you who can help, either in a practical way or as a listening ear accept it. Keep going up that hill but remember to change gear ;-). Or get towed for a while! Thinking of you :-)

    • Thank you and I am glad to hear you got the support you needed too as it can be icredibly difficult. I do feel like I may have had it with my first too but never really understood or got help as it can be very difficult to accept it xx

  12. So sorry to read you are struggling with mental health complications. Having suffered after a number of my children I can totally relate! But take hope in the fact that it will improve and one day (hopefully soon) you will look back and realise how much better you are feeling. Lots of love for the journey xxx

    • Thank you, sorry to hear you suffered too but good to know that things did improve for you and I am confident that that it will improve for me too xx

  13. Oh Caroline you poor thing I never knew.
    It is so hard and you’re doing such a great job.
    You’ve done so well talking about it and going seeking help.
    Big hugs. If there’s anything I can do my love I am here xxx

  14. Oh I hope you’re ok lovely. It’s all uphill from here (even if it is a difficult cycle), at least you know there’s sunshine on the otherside.

    I had quite bad PND & was in denial for so long, refusing to get help because I felt like admitting it would make me a bad mum & a failure. How wrong I was. I should have sought help a lot quicker, I was so surprised at how helpful & friendly the doctors & health visitors were & how quickly they helped me to turn things around. After all, it is just pesky hormones (& a few life factors thrown in obviously).

    It must feel so good to let it all out finally, to your family & on here. A complete relief & weight lifted I’m sure. xxxx

  15. Sounds like you have a wonderful GP, she is very compassionate and has given you excellent advice. Fair play to you for sharing your battle and hopefully now you are on the right road to recovery :)

  16. What an incredible post to write – you will have made so many ladies see that it is a very common thing, and that it is OK to ask for help. I have been there myself, and the cycling uphill analogy is spot on. I really hope you start to feel better soon.

  17. What a wonderful post, it will make a difference to so many people. It sounds like you have a fantastically supportive husband, and gp which is lovely. I think it’s really brave to accept things that we don’t feel comfortable with and I really hope you start enjoying things again. Thinking of you x #maternitymonday

  18. You’ve done the right thing getting help, these early years are so short and so precious you don’t want to look back and remember it feeling like the way you’ve been feeling. I hope you’ve turned a corner and life gets a little easier xxx #maternitymondays

  19. I’m glad you found Dr who listened and the courage to do this for yourself. The first step is often the hardest and you’ve done the best thing for you and your family. I will say with regards to your meds, don’t feel you need to put a time limit on it. Most anti-depressants take up to three months to take full effect, and you want to get the benefits of it whilst you work through this point in your life.

    Good luck, #pocolo

  20. Well done to you for seeking advice and help from your Dr. It’s not easy to face up to feeling that way sometimes. So it is hard to admit it to yourself. Some people don’t seek help and I am so pleased for you that you did. You deserve it. I wish all the luck in the world and hope that you feel better soon and continue going up that hill but with a lot less struggle now. Lots of love xxx

  21. Well done for accepting this and for seeking help. There is absolutely no need to suffer when you can get help and get better. I think you summed it up perfectly by saying ‘you weren’t enjoying anything’. That is such a tell tale sign. I have suffered depression a couple of times in my life after traumatic/stressful events and I know when it’s happening because I can’t get excited about anything. It’s such an awful thing to live through and at the time you just want to get better and ‘be’ happy again. I wish you all the luck with this but it sounds like you’re on your way back up already. xxx

    • Thank you and that was the crux of it for me, I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed, how sad is that? Definitely not normal for me and I have definitely laughed more again since so I really hope I am on the up! xx

  22. I hope things are still on the up for you hon after finally being able to admit that the problem was more than just a bad day or a series of bad days. Once again I think you manage to use your blog as a way to reach out to people who might be feeling the same things and it’s so generous of you to share your personal experiences in this way. Xx #thetruthabout (thanks for linking X)

    • Thank you lovely that is such a lovely thing to say. I never know whether it is the right thing or not but it helps me to know others are going through the same thing so I hope I can return the favour to others too in some small way! xx

  23. Well done for admitting there was an issue and seeking help. So glad that your GP was helpful and supportive. Hope the treatment helps and you’re soon feeling more like your old self.

    Sending hugs, tea and biscuits …

  24. PND is so hard to recognise in ourselves. Asking or help is the right thing to do though. It is easy to feel that it is just you but 10 to 15 percent of women experience this. I had it through stress after my second son was born. I also work with clients with depression and have interviewed many mothers for my up and coming book on the topic. What is universally talked about is that we all grow and learn from the experience. Many of us come out the other side stronger and yet more flexible. Be really kind to yourself. Really assess your life and what works for you. There is no point in high standards if we are miserable and most importantly know that it will change. #sharewithme

    • Thank you, I wasn’t sure about writing it but I do think it helps to be open about it as there is still such a stigma about depression and there really shoudn’t be xx

  25. Bless you hunny it’s not easy and I am so glad you got help to support your theories and some things that might help you now too. It’s hard to accept or even pin point sometimes what is the matter and I am glad you got answers. Monkey will understand and I think sometimes we put WAY too much pressure on ourselves in every department from work to parenting to diets. Life doesn’t seem to have enough hours in the day to be perfect at them all the time. Funny enough we don’t need to be even if we are pushing ourselves at achieving it. I am very guilty of this. I hope it helps and you find yourself calmer and feeling better soon my lovely. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • Thanks so much lovely, we really do and no matter how much I know perfect doesn;t exist I still seem to be aiming for it, bonkers really! xx

  26. So sorry to hear that love! The good thing is that now you got help and you are getting it under control! It’s a big step to take! I hope you start feeling better soon. Thanks for hosting, xx #MaternityMonday

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  28. I haven’t blogged about it but I have been seeing someone to treat PND. I have been suffering terrible highs and lows since Ethan’s diagnosis. I’m in a much better place than I was but everything you have written is what they have taught me. We are all just human and we are terrible at putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I’m so glad you are feeling better, I’m sure it will continue x

    • Ah I am sorry to hear that lovely though I think it is very understandable as must be very difficult to get your head around! Thank you lovely and I hope things improve for you too xx

  29. A brave post to write Caroline and I am glad you have accepted the fact that you need some help. I am sure that you will feel better soon as seeing the doctor is definitely the first step. You sound like a lovely Mum and we put too much pressure on ourselves sometimes. I hope you will feel back to your old self again soon. xx

  30. I’m so proud of you for seeking help and speaking out! Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday. I’ve started antidepressants twice in my life, and I’ve found it takes 2 weeks to 2 months for side effects (in my case sleepiness) to shake out.

  31. Pingback: Is PND losing it's hold on me? - Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

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