It was horrific to have to travel 180 miles to the mother and baby unit and be so far away from my husband and son and everything and everybody I knew.
Toni (Port Talbot, Wales)
At around six months pregnant with my second child, I became severely depressed. Every day was a struggle to keep my head above water. And, eventually, I started to have suicidal thoughts.
I felt like a huge burden to my family and a rubbish mum to my four-year-old boy. I’d also been badly let down by services that were supposed to have provided me with the support I needed. It was like I was on a constant merry-go-round of torture and I didn’t know how to get off.
No place for a new mum
Thankfully, with support from my husband, my amazing midwife and my nearest perinatal mental health team, I managed to get through my pregnancy and give birth to a beautiful baby girl. But within two weeks of my daughter being born, my mental health deteriorated even further. So much so that I’d be awake at night, thinking about how I could end my life.
At absolute rock bottom, I managed to speak to a mental health crisis team with the support of my midwife. This led to me being admitted to an acute mental health ward without my daughter. But this was no place for a new mum like me. Being away from my daughter was having a serious effect on our mother-and-baby bond and my physical and mental health.
Too far away from home
After three days on the ward, we were told that a place had become available at a mother and baby unit (MBU) in Derby, 180 miles away from home. I ended up staying there for seven weeks. At first, it was extremely tough, with me hardly coming out of my room. But over time, I started to make friends and begin to trust the staff more and more.
However, I do believe my recovery would have been a lot smoother if an MBU had been closer to home. I felt horrifically isolated being so far away from my husband and son and everyone I knew.
This is why I was so pleased when Uned Gobaith, the first inpatient MBU, opened in Wales in April 2021. It will make a huge difference to expectant and new mums, and their families. It definitely would have made a huge difference to me.
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