Seeing as this am covering depression, I thought I would cover this one as well. I feel many bipolar sufferers will get this after childbirth. I think it’s to do with the hormones. It messes our chemical balances even more. I know any new mum can suffer, but i think we are more likely to develop it.
As explained in my past posts, I had postnatal depression after all three of my pregnancies. My first was my worst. Nobody recognized it, not even me.
Why I think nobody recognized it?
It’s your first baby, now come on, that was a massive shock to the system. I breastfed all of my children, but Lilly I breastfed, what I believe now, for way too long. She fed every hour and half for 5 months, night and day. She wouldn’t take a bottle, not even expressed milk until four months. I was so tired for five months. To be honest, I can’t even really remember the five months. Only the way I felt.
So you have sleepless nights, of course you're going to be acting differently. Of course you aren’t going to be able to take in very much information, when people talk to you. Of course you’re going to have a lot of worry, you’re a new mum. But when does this become a problem?
For me, my baby blue’s never went. About three to seven days after birth you get what is called baby blue’s you cry and cry for nothing, or over the silliest things. Not every woman get’s this, but it is around 70%. I cried for months after all of my pregnancies, I think I cried at least once every day for couple months. After I had Lilly, it was for about 8 months, until my family said I need to go seek help.
I didn't even sleep when Lilly slept, I used to lay awake thinking I would die in my sleep and who was going to look after her. I thought she might stop breathing and I wouldn’t know to help her. I wouldn’t leave the house in case something happened to me, who was going to look after precious things that was now my responsibility to look after and care. That’s one big responsibility as I learnt when she was born. I became obsessed with dying, I would think about it 30 times a day. I was in a really bad place. I would have Lilly on me constantly I wouldn’t let her go, unless she was sleeping, but I was always next to her. I wouldn't let anyone have her. She never actually went with anyone until she was a year old.
Something scared me around the four month mark. I was sitting on the end of my bed trying to stay awake, feeding Lilly. Jamie (My partner) was snoring, I just remember looking at him asleep and feeling so much hate. The image of me putting a pillow over his head and killing him ran through my mind. I actually sat there and thought I could do it, I actually wanted to do it. I remember thinking to myself, this is why people commit murder then.
I went to the doctors because into all this, they said it was just anxiety and told me to seek counselling. No medication just counselling.
I think people don’t recognize postnatal depression so quickly after you have your first child, because nobody knows what’s just taking to being a new mother and when they have postnatal depression. Your life changes so dramatically so of course you are too.
I hated Jamie for months, I resented everything he was doing, for me and Lilly, I hated being around him, I honestly just had pure hate for him.
It wasn’t until Lilly was 8months, I got diagnosed postnatal depression, I was just a pure mess by then. Drinking most nights anything to make me feel better. I just felt that I didn’t know anything about myself anymore, I actually returned to work when Lilly was 6 months trying to shift the feelings. Nothing worked.
They prescribed me anti depressants, because this was before I knew I was bipolar. I found myself again within 6 weeks, but after that went manic and ended up conceiving my son Logan, I recognized it quicker with Logan around three months, but I didn’t have it anywhere near as bad as I did I Lilly. I was just a little depressed. The same with my twins, I got depressed, but this time I was thinking more about bipolar and that’s when I got diagnosed.
Postnatal depression is awful. You feel like you should be happy, you just been given this great gift. You feel guilty because you don’t, this makes it worse. You get scared over everything, that makes you go stir crazy, I would watch anything to do with death at all. I stopped watching all the soaps because of it.
What would I say to anyone that thinks they have it?
If you think you have it, you most probably have. It’s not a bad thing, but it needs to be treated. Mine just got worse and worse because it was left untreated. I felt so alone.
I wouldn’t talk to people in case they judged me as a parent, because of how I was feeling. It is not true, you are not a bad mum because you got a little depressed after childbirth. I would say you would be a great mum by going and getting the help, so you can have the strength to have all the fun you can with your new bundle of joy. Instead of feeling drained and not good enough. I always thought I was a rubbish mother, in them 8 months, but I wasn't, I just wasn't very well.
I hate the thought of someone sat there now holding their baby and just crying and not knowing why.. That’s why I did this post, I have experienced this first hand. As I said in my post about depression, it’s a horrible illness, but I think postnatal depression takes it one step further because you are responsible for something and you feel you're failing. When you most certainly are not. You put all your energy into this little bundle of joy and have all the excess worrying.
It doesn't need to be that way though. Here are the signs of postnatal depression, if anyone is reading this that thinks someone, or you might have it please seek some help. You will feel so much better when you do, This kind of illness rarely gets better on it's own in time, because that’s what I thought.
How you may feel
Sadness and low
Tearful for no apparent reason
Hopeless about the future
Unable to cope
Irritable and angry
Hostile or indifferent to your husband or partner
Hostile or indifferent to your baby.
You may find that you
Have disturbed sleep
Find it hard to sleep – even when you have the opportunity
Have a reduced appetite
Lack interest in sex
Have thoughts about death.
So please if you feel any of these symptoms two weeks after birth, seek some medical advice, you can even talk to your health visitor.
Of course the big one there is you're tired , you are going to be tired, If you find that your tired and can’t sleep, that when you need to seek some help.