also known as PND, is a type of depression that can develop in the weeks and months following childbirth. It is essential to recognise that post natal depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw; it is a medical condition that affects a significant number of women. Symptoms may vary, but common indicators include persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, fatigue, and irritability. Mothers experiencing Post natal depression may find it challenging to bond with their babies, impacting the crucial early mother-child relationship.
This is a story from a client who kindly shared her story in a local baby and toddler magazine . It explains her post-natal depression and how counselling helped her with post natal depression. The client gave full permission for this to be posted. The story has been adapted so it cannot be linked to the client.
“I was a Mum with a 9 month old baby and everyone kept telling me that I was lucky to be staying at home with my baby. So why don’t I think I was lucky and why wasn’t I happy? I thought having a baby would bring me joy and happiness. Instead I felt constantly tired and I wasn’t sleeping at night. I used to dread her crying and felt no bond to my baby. I find myself angry at silly things and my anger came out in all sorts of ways. I’d shout at baby and I am often felt irritated with my husband. In fact, I don’t think he could do anything right. I couldn’t be bothered with anything. The pile of washing was piling up, the house was messy and paperwork was piling up. I felt so lonely and isolated. I visited toddler groups but it felt like no-one wanted to talk to me. I’d just sit there hoping that someone will come and talk to me. I used to be a confident person who could talk to anyone. I had a couple of good friends that were supportive but even they stopped ringing me. It feels as though they have dropped me. I thought there was something wrong with me but it was just because I was depressed.
In 2012 I saw an advert in the Link Magazine of a counsellor who helped with Post Natal Depression, but more importantly for me did the counselling by email. As a Mum this was ideal as it meant I could do my counseling while the baby slept. It was hard to admit that I had depression but it was certainly my first step forward. I had contact with my counsellor for 3 months. At the end of this time I felt I was a different person. I can’t believe how sharing my thoughts and problems have helped me. I felt like a mum who was now under control. One day my child was running into my arms and I was overwhelmed by the amount of joy and love that I felt inside. I suddenly felt blessed and lucky to have such a wonderful child. The counsellor encouraged me to plan my day and take small steps.. She taught me techniques to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones. Not every day is a good day but generally I am happy. I am slowly making new friends and I even enjoy the days I have with my toddler when we are on our own.”