I never thought it would happen to me. I was a successful career woman who had everything in control. Little did I know that I was a prime candidate for developing postnatal depression and/or anxiety.
I had a really good pregnancy – it was a healthy pregnancy with no complications. We were told early on that we were having a girl – which is exactly what we were hoping for as I was always clear with my husband that I would only be having one child. I never really enjoyed my pregnancy as I also had an underlying anxious feeling about everything. It felt foreign to me, alien if you like.
My planned c section went without a hitch and Jesse was placed on my chest. I couldn’t connect with Jesse. I remember being in the hospital room on day two and felt like the walls were closing in on me. I needed to get out so we left on day three. Luckily for me, the breast feeding was going smoothly and Jesse was feeding well.
Jesse was not the easiest baby, in fact, she was incredibly alert and developed colic so my days were spent rocking her constantly. She rarely slept during the days and she hated everything – pram, car, carrier. It took its toll on me and my anxiety was increasing by the day. I lost weight – quickly! I went from 53kg pre baby to 48kg post pregnancy. I stopped sleeping, even though Jesse was sleeping through the night from 5 weeks old. I constantly felt my heart through my chest, and I was fixated on the baby monitor as I so terrified of Jesse waking overnight even though she never did. I wanted to run away but the only thing keeping me going was the fact that Jesse would never take a bottle and therefore she needed me to keep her alive. Every day I would cry to my husband that I hated being a mum and I wanted my old life back. I couldn’t connect with Jesse and I saw her as a screaming baby that I had to keep alive and I felt resentful and angry towards both Jesse and my husband. I knew that the way I was feeling wasn’t normal and I also knew that 3 hours of sleep a night when Jesse was sleeping through was not sustainable. So I went to my doctor who prescribed antidepressants. Although this helped with my anxiety, it didn’t fix my sleep so my doctor suggested I see a psychiatrist. This was the best decision that I ever made! He put me on to another medication in combination with my antidepressants. And the best part – I was still able to breast feed! Fast forward 18 months and I can honestly say that I am better than I was before I had Jesse which tells me that I had some underlying anxiety before pregnancy. Although I felt guilty for a while that I waited so long to seek help (5 months), it doesn’t matter now. I am a better mother, a better wife, and an all-round better person for seeking the help that I needed.
"I never thought it would happen to me. I was a successful career woman who has everything in control. Little did I know that I was a prime candidate for developing postnatal depression and/or anxiety."