"Everyone deserves help. It doesn’t matter how minor or major you think things are. Everyone deserves it. So take help if it’s there. Don’t think you’re not worthy of help.”
"The only thing I can say from my experience is 'it’s okay to not be okay'."
"I feel that it is so important for new parents to be aware that sometimes, life isn’t quite as rosy as the picture book ideal, and that sometimes we all need to ask for help and support along the way."
"When we arrived home, I felt numb. What were we meant to do now?"
"I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t feel any joy or enjoy life. I couldn’t understand why I kept seeing myself dying."
“I wish I knew that if you don't have that instant connection with your baby it doesn't mean you're a bad mum.”
Emily's story: living with postnatal depression and anxiety
"Keep a close watch on your feelings, especially in the first year after the birth of your baby."
Josie's story: Another baby after postnatal depression
"I knew I did not want to get very unwell and I remembered that the earlier I sought help, the quicker the recovery."
"Nothing made me happy. I think the biggest problem for me was the expectations I had in my mind about how I would feel. I expected to feel joy, but all I felt like in those first weeks was regret, guilt, (oh the overwhelming guilt), fear, and the most deep depression. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel and all I could do was cry."
Read Katy's story >
For Asha, not having her mother around had a huge impact on her experience of perinatal anxiety and depression. Asha tells us more about her experience.
"After 3 months or so I still felt as though I was in a haze. Crying for no reason, snappy and just not myself. I thought I had to just suck it up a little more."
Read Alischa's Story >
'The next day I went to the doctors. I did the test you know the one to see if you have it and bingo....I got top marks in every question shame my degree wasn't like that!'
Read Alison's story >
"Things started to decline for me during pregnancy when I was told he was a boy, for some reason I was just expecting to have another girl as we only had girls leading up to him."
Read Amy's Story >
"It happened to me… twice actually. The first time was a shock because I’d never been affected by mental health issues before and the second time was a shock because I was convinced being diagnosed once would make me immune. The most important life lesson I’ve learnt is that perinatal depression does not discriminate."
"To parents who might be struggling, I give you my advice as someone who has been there. Please ask for help the minute you feel unhappy. Do NOT feel guilty. Guilt is a symptom of the illness. Be honest with yourself. You have an illness. You are unwell. Like any medical condition, postnatal depression requires medical treatment. You can and you will recover."
Read Cat's Story >
"In some ways it’s ironic that I developed postnatal depression with my second baby, because she was an absolute breeze. She was calm and relaxed, a picture perfect little bub really."
"My main struggle was with other peoples open opinions and criticisms of what was best for my baby, which gave me no confidence in my own judgements and capabilities as a mother..."
"I concentrated all my efforts on making everything look PERFECT. I painted on my happy face. I cooked and cleaned constantly, I became obsessed with everything matching. I went to great lengths to make sure my son and I were always spotless and dressed immaculately."
Read Genevieve's Story >
"What I would say to other parents is get your village together. This includes family, therapists, friends etc…You can not do it alone."
Read Heather's Story >
"But with time, care and a determination to recover, things got better. I had to accept that my stay in hospital was not a punishment for my failings but a chance to learn to be mother."
"I couldn't make this baby thrive physically, I was too tired to be pleasant to him. I could not give him the love and cuddles that he needed or play with him and take him out and about. I reached the conclusion that Benjamin and his Dad would be better off without me."
Read Josephine's Story >
"I lost my confidence and struggled to make even the simplest decisions like tea or coffee! When people came to visit and Ethan started to get fussy they would look at me and ask 'What is he due for?' I hated this. It made me feel incompetent because I never knew."
Read Kate's Story >
'I spiraled into a deep depression. I was tired, but I couldn't sleep. I was avoiding social contact, because it was too hard to pretend that I was okay.'
"I went outside and googled post natal depression. PANDA came up and I called straight away. The feeling was of immediate relief and reassurance."
Read Kelley's Story >
"Sometimes after a feed, I lie in bed at night, around 4am and thoughts start to trickle through my head. I cannot exactly control them, even though I try not think think about it. I call them little gifts from anxiety…"
Read Laura's Story >
"Post Natal Depression (PND) was the furthest thing from my mind after having gone through fertility treatments and a successful IVF round."
'I felt like I was a stranger in my own body. I had been pregnant or breastfeeding for the better part of 2 1/2 years and I didn't know who I was anymore'
I am a PND survivor. It took 3 precious years from my life, ripped my family apart, caused havoc with my extended family and friends, and opened my eyes to the real world of mental illness.
Asking for help had been so hard for me to do. But once I let go of that need to be perfect and in control and asked for help I was actually able to take back control of my life and just love my beautiful baby girl.
"All I thought was that I was the most useless mother in the world and I was too ashamed to admit it. I started to blame the baby. I convinced myself that he didn't love me."
Read Robyn's Story >
"I felt no love, no bond with this tiny human. I had just been through the worst experience of my life. I had slept for approximately 5 hours in the last 72 and now my husband and I had been left alone to look after a baby with no guidance what so ever."
Read Rowena's Story >
"The next day the tears started. We put this down to the baby blues and didn't think anything of it. We went home on day 5 and from this day on my life completely changed. All I could think was 'Is this my life now?' What the hell have I done?'…"
Read Shelley's Story >
'I was tired, sad, teary, confused. I lacked concentration and struggled with things I normally found simple, like preparing dinner. I went out as little as possible and spent my days thinking of how I was failing my newborn and my family.'
It’s possible to love your children, but hate the “job” sometimes; fit your own oxygen mask first – self-care is vital to be able to look after others.
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Sharing stories about the personal impact of perinatal anxiety/depression plays a crucial role in raising awareness, reducing stigma and encouraging people to seek support.
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