Michaela’s story (Belfast)
Following the birth of my eldest daughter, who’s now six, I suffered with severe postnatal depression, psychosis and anxiety. Thankfully, I received support from the perinatal team including a psychiatrist, a mental health home treatment team, a psychologist at my local hospital and mental health nurses.
I benefited greatly from this network of support; and I want women and their husbands and partners to know that often help and hope is out there, if they are going through a difficult time.
We need to do more
However, there is still much more that needs to be done to provide every woman with the mental health services they need before, during and after having a baby. In particular, I wanted to speak to other women going through similar circumstances, but there was no support group for women with postnatal depression in my area.
This is why I wholeheartedly support the Everyone’s Business campaign and have spoken at events such as the Northern Ireland Maternal Mental Health conference, where I was on the Parents Panel. It’s vital perinatal mental health care becomes a priority on a national level and professionals who care for women during and after pregnancy receive appropriate mental health care training.
No depression now
If we can achieve these aims, there’s a far greater chance that more pregnant women and new mothers will receive the network of support they need, like I did. As well as making a huge difference during dark and difficult times, this specialist help can make women more prepared for the future. During my second pregnancy and postnatally, because I had a history of perinatal mental health problems, I was under the specialist perinatal mental health team
Now, I have zero depression and a second daughter. I didn’t suffer with any mental health problems.
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