Becky’s story (Dawlish)
Two weeks after my baby was born I started suffering from severe postnatal depression [PND]. I began to have suicidal thoughts and couldn’t even look at my daughter or pick her up.
The antenatal classes gave me unrealistic expectations about parenthood which I could not meet, and the attitude of one midwife the day after I gave birth crushed my confidence in relation to breastfeeding, As I struggled with anxiety and insomnia, my mum and partner had to care for my girl.
Without the right support, the problems escalated and my partner couldn’t understand what I was going through. Unfortunately, we’ve now separated.
You will get better
Although I suffered from an eating disorder at 13 and some event related mild depression, I hadn’t consistently suffered with any serious form of mental illness before but I knew I needed help. Within weeks of seeing my GP, a perinatal mental health team in Torbay intervened and prescribed me the right medication and also offered my family support.
My message to people experiencing the same pain I did is that you will get better, I promise. Be open and honest about your condition. Go and get help, and if your GP is not sympathetic, see a different one or speak to your midwife until you are referred to a health professional who can help you.
Better training for professionals
To make sure fewer people experience the devastation I went through, more investment is needed in perinatal mental health services and also better training for all health and social care professionals.
The specialist community services available were my lifesaver, but these would still benefit greatly from being expanded so they can offer all types of support to mothers, their families and particularly fathers.
If the content of this story causes you to think of anything that has happened to you or someone you know and you feel upset, worried or uncomfortable, please see our support page for a list of services who may be able to help.