Jenny’s story (Belfast)
Four years ago I had my second child, Isaac. After he was born, I felt differently to how I had felt when his older brother, Sam, had been born. Something wasn’t right.
I felt depressed and struggled to bond with Isaac. I also felt unable to look after Sam adequately. This put a great strain on my marriage, but I just found it too hard to talk about how I was feeling.
Feelings of helplessness
When I was really struggling to feed Isaac, it was assumed I’d be fine because I’d done it all before. But this increased my feelings of helplessness, inadequacy and being overwhelmed. I even started to resent Isaac for not feeding or sleeping as easily as Sam had.
Eventually, I spoke to my health visitor, who referred me to my GP, and soon I was taking medicine that made me feel much better. My health visitor also recommended a course provided by a mental health organisation local to me, which taught me tools that helped me leave my medication behind and take control of worries that bother me.
Early support for new mums
The most important thing I think you can do if you feel depressed after the birth of your child is to admit how you are feeling, even if it is really hard.
Mental health should also have the same status as other major illnesses to help raise awareness of symptoms and support. There is so much already out there to equip people to manage their emotions but not enough of us know about it.