Kirsten’s story (Peterborough)
The symptoms I showed during the pregnancy of my first child included OCD, general anxiety and low mood. I spoke to 11 different professionals before I started to receive help. This left me feeling exhausted, and I couldn’t understand why I had to tell my story so many times, and why I was the one trying to organise and get help.
When my baby was a week old I finally met a perinatal mental health nurse. Straightaway everything began to change for the better. And when I became pregnant with my second child, I had an amazing support experience.
I was referred to the perinatal mental health team at my first midwife appointment. The perinatal mental health nurse who began supporting me was the same one from my first pregnancy, so she understood the problems I was facing. She also arranged for me to have a specialist midwife, who worked closely with the perinatal nurse to coordinate my care.
The nurse also arranged for me to see a psychiatrist to do a medication check, and I worked with a psychologist for nine months. Overall, the care was seamless and they gave me the best help, support and advice.
Need equal access
Because of my experiences, I know how having access to the right services can be life changing for the whole family. I believe every mother is entitled to receive the level of support I received during my second pregnancy. There needs to be more awareness and understanding of the severity of the issue, and CCGs [clinical commissioning groups] and service commissioners need to recognise the role they can play in improving the situation.