2014 – the year my partner and I decided we would try for out first baby. I had always wanted to be a mum so this was the most exciting time for me and at the end of October 2014 a pregnancy test was positive. We were both over the moon, I could not believe I was going to be a Mum! In July 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. It was the best feeling in the world.
6 days after giving birth, I woke up with a horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and I started to cry and could not stop. I felt awful. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, i’d just had a baby so why was I feeling so sad? I rang my mum who came over to my house more or less straight away. I called my midwife who came over too. She said lack of sleep and being a new mum was the cause and that it would get better. The doctor said it was ‘new mum syndrome’ and that it would settle down.
I felt like an awful Mum. I found it hard when my baby cried. I felt like I didn’t love my baby enough.
Where was this instant bond everyone talked about?
Every morning I was woken up with this horrible, anxious feeling in my stomach and uncontrollable crying. I had my midwife/health visitor round everyday as I knew there was something wrong with me. I went back to the doctor who said it sounded like Post Natal Depression which I think I already knew. I was given Citalopram and told that it would take 3+ weeks to start to take effect.
I also started seeing a psychologist but this didn’t seem to help me as I didn’t have the answers to their questions. They asked ‘why do you think you feel like this’ but I did not have an answer. I did not really know why – I could not think of anything that had triggered it, it would have been easier if I could have.
By May 2017 we decided to try for another baby. I weaned off my citalopram as I had been feeling ok for a while so I thought I was ready. End of August 2017 another positive pregnancy test once again brought excitement.
A week later the horrible anxious feelings and endless crying returned. I didn’t want my partner to leave to go to work. He said I should go see my mum so I wasn’t sitting on my own. I remember getting ready to leave and standing at the back door of my house crying cos I didn’t know how I was going to go outside. I eventually went out but I think I was struggling not to cry most of the way. I was off work for 12 weeks. This was prenatal anxiety.
I got put back on Citalopram throughout my pregnancy and am still on it today.
My advice to any mums feeling like I did is to seek help as soon as you feel something is wrong. Go out for walks even of its a short one. Talk to someone – your partner, your family, a doctor – anyone.
You are not alone.