Connecting with other women with similar experiences to mine has played a huge part in my recovery.
I had a traumatic experience when I gave birth to my twins in February 2020. This led to me missing out on our first bonding experiences but for the first few weeks I was okay and adjusted to life as a mum of two. Then, four weeks later, we entered the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic.
My partner was a key worker, so he kept working throughout. Without any visitors allowed, I became very isolated. I’d had so many plans for my maternity leave, such as going to groups and meeting other parents, but I couldn’t do any of that.
Losing my identity
My mood became very low and I started to feel anxious all the time. I also internalised a lot of my feelings and worried when people came to visit that they only wanted to see the babies. I felt like I’d lost a big part of my identity.
It all came to a head one day when I was playing with my twins and had the thought, “I could just disappear”. I knew then that I wasn’t okay and told my husband how I was feeling. He encouraged me to call the doctor. The first response I got from the doctor’s receptionist was, “Is this important?”. But I pushed forward and asked for help.
Early support is vital
After an assessment from the mental health team, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed medication to help with my mood, and I was referred to my local Maternal Advocacy and Support [MAs] group. It took me a long time to build up the confidence to attend, but as soon as I walked into the first meeting I knew I was in the right place.
Connecting with other women with similar experiences to mine has played a huge part in my recovery. There is no judgement and you can laugh, cry and giggle with women who know where you’re coming through. I have mum friends now!
I wish I had known about services like the MAs group sooner and shared how I was feeling at an earlier stage. I also believe it’s important that health and social care professionals understand how hard it is for new mums who may be struggling to seek support. They need to actively share with the mums the amazing services which could help them.
Find out more about the MAs project, led by MMHA member Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA), on our blog or on the WRDA website.
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 that may be able to help.