My struggle with post natal depression

So I’m writing this post not sure why or what I plan to achieve from doing so but nothing ventured nothing gained…
My beautiful, and most wanted baby boy was born on the 30th of December 2016. Although, I did not enjoy pregnancy due to a million and one complications one thing I knew I was so excited to become a Mammy. So rumour has it if you have a tough pregnancy you’ll have an easy birth… well whoever said that to me you’re lucky I can’t remember. I had hoped for the “perfect natural vaginal birth” but things didn’t go to plan. Long story short after a 3 day induction Oisín was born at 15.56 by emergency c-section. Of course I loved him, sure I loved him the minute I heard his heart beat at his 6 week scan. Yes, I was emotional. However, this instant gush of love or bond I had expected didn’t happen. As I was being stitched back up my wonderful husband had Oisín all to himself. Bitter sweet as I believe those precious moments alone were the making of the best daddy he could ask for.

Once I was brought to the recovery room I was asked to feed Oisín but he didn’t want to latch. The nurses took his blood sugar levels and with a blink of an eye he was rushed off for close monitoring. I was brought back to my room and my family arrived. Apparently, my dad bounded up 2 steps at time but he just wanted to make sure I was ok. Finally, after what felt like an eternity my baby was brought to my beside and I got to count his fingers and toes! Not long after my family and husband left a nurse checked Oisín’s blood sugars and they had dropped again. She whisked him away, where he spent 2 nights in special care. Now, don’t get me wrong I know there are mothers and babies in worse situations than us. However, from the beginning I felt like a failure.

If I am honest the new born phase is a blur. I had the best baby fed 4 hourly, he barely cried and he brought joy to everyone around him except me. Unfortunately, my dream of breast feeding him never really became a reality. I had imagined having this amazing journey and a special bond but unfortunately he wouldn’t latch even after having his tongue tie rereleased. I exclusively pumped for 6 weeks until I decided I was too much of am emotional wreck to continue. For myself and my baby I needed to develop some kind of normality that wasn’t me feeling like a cow who couldn’t leave the barn for more than an hour!… Although ending this journey was my decision I still had doubts. I felt I was failing as the “perfect mother” and should have persevered for longer.

As the weeks went on things didn’t improve. I had and still have the most amazing support network (Will post about who they are another day) yet I still felt awful!… I would then feel guilty for feeling that way and beat myself up then feel even worse. I would cry at the smallest thing, snap or bite someone’s head off for no reason, say horrible and nasty things that I didn’t mean. I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore… and I am still trying to figure that one out. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I would get flashbacks and couldn’t sleep. I lacked confidence, self esteem and felt like a terrible mother. Enough was enough and with the encouragement and support of my husband and my mam I went to my G.P I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress and post natal depression. I was started on medication and with the help of family and friends a holiday to Spain I began to have a somewhat normal life. Things were good. I made new friends, met up with old friends, started crafting (never again!!!), went to playgroups. I began enjoying Oisín and life again!

After six months I was wheened off the medication. I thought I felt good and was determined to back to work. I returned back to work working less hours. Things were manageable at first. My mam was minding Oisín and I told myself I just needed to develop a routine. However, as time went by my anxiety began to spiral, my confidence as a nurse had reached an all time low and I questioned my ability daily. I would put on a brave face but inside I was screaming. On the worst days/nights I would go cry in the bathroom. With over 10 years experience I knew this wasn’t me. At home I was panicking over silly things, loosing my patience, obsessing over cleaning but no energy or motivation to do it or anything, my flashbacks and nightmares (if I managed to sleep) came back with a bang, my confidence as a mother was shot, I had become that nasty short tempered person again. I felt so alone (sometimes I still do) but I would make excuses not to meet friends and stay in my pyjamas all day. I hated myself and felt the world was better off without me. At one point I walked out on my husband and baby and drove to the Blessington lakes. I came home that night and starred at a rake of tablets but I couldn’t bring myself to take them not because I am weak, because I AM STRONG, I AM NOT A FAILURE, I AM NOT POST NATAL DEPRESSION AND I WILL OVERCOME THIS.

I spoke with my husband and the next day we went to the doctor. I was re-started on medication and sleeping tablets. I was referred to a mental health team. I am under the care of a psychiatrist and a nurse comes out to my house twice a week. My medication dose has been trippled!! I go for counselling weekly, have joined a yoga class and I make myself get up and get out of the house every day. I have asked for help from family and friends. I might look like I am ok but I am scared, I am vulnerable, I feel I am failing as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, nurse and friend. I don’t know who I am anymore every day us a struggle. However, one thing is for sure I know Oisín needs his mammy and I won’t give up on him. I love him with all my heart. Our bond is growing and it needs nurturing.
If you got this far thanks for reading. I criticise and judge myself enough so please don’t comment negatively. There is enough stigma around mental health and PND. Although you can’t see my illness I am still hurting the same as someone with a visible scar. I am having a lot more good days and they say time is a healer so there is hope for me! I never in a million years thought I would suffer with Post natal depression but it affects 1 in 7 Irish women. So if you are going through or have gone through something similar and you would like to chat send me a message Ill always have an open ear. Don’t be ashamed and seek help.

Thanks again for reading.

Love Bróna

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66 comments

  1. Balling Brona! Beautifully written, well done and good on you for sharing, you 100% have helped someone out there with this piece! Oisin is lucky to have such a strong Mumma with determination to feel better again. Lots of love xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brona u r so strong writing such an honest piece, well done. Defenetly being a new mom is a hard job….. I remember only well getting great advice from you during this year when I have been questioning myself over things, You are stronger then u think u have helped me a few times this year and each time I was so greatfull, you do a wounderfull job as a mommy with great advice and help. Hope you feel better each day I think ur supper mom! X

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh Brona, it’s a hard journey being a mommy starts from pregnancy… you are brave at least you could express it… I had the same may be lesser severity when I had jo… I hated my husband and left him heartbroken..it took me a good few months to let him sleep in our bed .. I had my mom with me for first 3 months and when she went back to India, I forced myself to be Normal.. I still know , I am not the same person anymore but not the worst like in my early motherhood…I still get panic when jo is ill and poor Eldos, he is suffering as that’s where my anger directed at…. things are much better now after moving the house with new friends around..
    Give me a shout if you wanna talk…We are mom because we are well capable of being one..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gillian thank you for reading. This is just reason i posted my story to help mamas. You will get through this. Admitting to yourself is the 1st step. Its ok not to be ok. Xxx

      Like

  4. I am so pleased you have broken down a barrier and started talking about this. I’m tempted to do one myself but I don’t think anyone would be interested in my tale of woe!
    Mums need to be more open and honest and mental health (and all of the other rubbish stuff that goes alongside being a mummy). Instead all you see and read about are these perfect families which makes you feel even more of a failure.
    We are not failures. We are strong mums doing the right thing for our families. Sometimes that might mean taking tablets or having time away from your family. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s right for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading. I didn’t think anyone would read mine. The feed back has been amazing and so therapeutic. Might be worth giving it a go. X

      Like

  5. Hi, your little boy is going to be so proud of you! You have really helped me as I am trying to decide whether to come of my medication soon. Thank you for your honesty and your compassion.
    I understand your journey as I’m living through my own post natal depression and anxiety journey right now. I am the same as you with hood and bad days. Today has been a tough one and your story has given me a sense that I’m not alone and I can do this. Thank you again for sharing your experience and story.
    Sending you and your family lots of love across the sea from England.
    Love from Charlotte and my daughter Orla xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading. Charlotte messages like yours are the reason i posted this. You are never suffering alone. I am so glad i have helped you today. Chin up hun. Tomorrow is brand new day. Xx

      Like

  6. Hi, loved your post so honest and real…. although I’ve never gone through this myself a lot of my friends have. I think it’s so important to talk about mental health issues … your doing an amazing job as a mother! Keep doing what your doing xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done for writing about your experience, very brave.
    You are a great mother and wife because you cared enough to acknowledge that something was not right and you courageously choose to do something to try and fix it. You are stronger than you think and you will get back to where you want to be.
    Best wishes to you and your husband and son for the future, I hope there are fun days and happy times ahead for ye all x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Brona,

    I don’t have any kids but am excited about starting a family with my SO. PND is something that would play on my mind a lot as I would suffer from anxiety and depression as it is. I follow Grace, facesbygrace, on snapchat and love how she is so proactive with mental health issues – I came across your post through her this morning.

    Thank you for writing this. You are extremely brave for being so open and honest in a world that can often feel so cold and cruel. I hope you find writing therapeutic – it’s the whole reason I started my blog to begin with.

    Looking forward to following your blog. Sending much love your way today, xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi thank you so much for reading. Yes i love how honest she is about mental health issues. I want to raise awareness and would love as many people to share my instagram and blog to this reaches as many mothers as possible. Yes it was so difficult to writing and was I was nervous about posting but the response has been amazing and definitely therapeutic i have woken up the past 2 mornings feeling like i can fight this xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Can I reblog your post? It might help to share your message.
        I’m delighted that you’ve had a positive response because you really deserve it. I find that, in Ireland, we still have a stigma around mental health. It might appear that we don’t, but we do… I’ve been told that I should tell people I’m going to the dentist instead of a counselling session… and I have zero shame in telling anyone that I’m attending a psychotherapist. If it wasn’t for us asking for help, we might not be here – that’s something that I think is so important; we need to acknowledge the fact that we are doing our best and that our best is good enough. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes please share it as much as you like on all social media. Yes definitely we are nearly made to feel embarrassed about it and when we are suffering which is so wrong. Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    • @skuisce You are so strong to be fighting 11 years. Hope you have help and support you need. Here if you ever need an understanding ear. X

      Like

  9. I could have written this. This was me. Except I didn’t have a understanding husband at the time so my recovery took longer. But I got there. And now it’s just me and my son and we are great!
    Anyone that can grow a tiny human in their own bodies for 9 months and produce a beautiful miracle deserves all the credit merit and medals of the world.
    Hold your head up mama. You are amazing. X

    Liked by 2 people

  10. As one of my longest friends. Brona u are a machine sometimes ur on the blink. But always know I love u to bits. ND never been so proud to call u my friend. This is Ana amazing piece that will hope help some other Mammy’s with their struggles. Xxx love u sweet heart head up . U are raising a beautiful lil man who always makes me smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks so much for writing about your experience. I identify with much of what you wrote looking back on my experience after my first baby and his traumatic delivery. It took me almost a year to have the distance to see how traumatized I was by my experience of childbirth and how anxious and guilty I felt about what I could offer my baby. I thought because I knew I was sad , that meant I wasn’t really depressed. Things improved gradually for me and 4 1/2 years and 2more babies later (!) I feel stronger mentally than I ever did after my first baby. I found a great private consultant to mind me throughout my second pregnancy and that positive experience was so unlike first time round that I felt somewhat restored and positive about looking after my new baby. I just wanted to share as I think you are so brave and feel it is so important that new mammys know we all have a different experience and there are people out there to talk to. Well done and good luck Brona.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. such a brave and honest lady and getting the story out there of what post natal depression is like is great as theres not many people what like to talk about these things. its hard being a mum.its better to get things out than to keep it in to only make you feel worse.credit to u sweeti. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well done,had post natal depression and trauma almost 5 yrs AGO and like u I was totally not expecting anything like it as I was a so ready for my Lil man but things were extremely bad after giving birth as bad as your story maybe worse.. it gets better trust me your doing the best job and as my grandmother told me ‘if you don’t look after you who you are good too nobody’ email me if you want a chat I have years of advise and battles x lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Parenting can be super tough and when the launch is so challenging it’s a big mountain to embrace. To do that whilst also unwell is epic. It can be easy to trivalise an invisible illness as it’s hard to know what you are experiencing, by blogging you are allowing me to see the layer of PND ontop of all the experiences new parenthood brings .. I can’t imagine. Hope it gets better for you and u get to enjoy the sunny moments too. Know u are a super mum.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey Brona, Becka here. I just wanted to say your blog is amazing. Your little boy would really be proud of you! I suffered with PND with my youngest child and I felt like it was a living nightmare, the only thing that got me through the days was my boys. Well done for writing about your journey! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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