“Nobody told me…”

My Postnatal Depression Story

Having a baby is a blessing, a miracle. For 9 months you anxiously await the arrival of that bundle of love and joy. And you go through all the stages, nesting being the last one. When everything is arranged to the last detail, for the baby to arrive in a perfect environment.

And you have plans, and you want to make sure you make and keep memories. Hire a photographer, a clay artist, all booked in months before the baby comes. Because you want it to be perfect.

And then birth happens and it’s all magical and painful all together. And it might or might not go the way you expected, it doesn’t matter as long as everybody is healthy in the end. And you see your baby and cry and feel…
Not the way you expected at all. You look at that little thing and wonder why you don’t feel happiness or love? Or anything positive at all?

And that’s when darkness starts. That’s when you lose touch with yourself and become somebody else, a stranger living inside your body. I remember first time I held my son… I was happy the labour ended but I didn’t feel that bond with him.

And as hours passed I would start getting annoyed by his crying. I thought it was tiredness and being in the hospital, not very comfortable. But then I went home and … still nothing.

All I remember for months after having my son is my desire to die. I didn’t want to wake up anymore. I wanted it to end. It felt so heavy, so hard to push through every day. I never saw joy or beauty in my son. He was the reason for my complete sadness, because of him I was failing as a mum, because of him I was living a nightmare.

I was crying all the time. Baby would cry I would cry. I would sat on the carpet and pull my hair and swing. And I was screaming and crying and begging for it to stop. It was killing me from the inside.

I look at pictures of my boy when he was a newborn… all I see and remember is pain. I was not present in his life then. I cannot recollect any beautiful moments or any joy in having him.

Like most mums I didn’t know what was happening to me. I assumed that’s what motherhood is all about. Being a mum equals pain and suicidal thoughts, that’s what I kept saying to myself.

I always had this nasty thoughts that I am not good at anything, that I am a waist, that I don’t deserve to live, I am weak and I have failed. Nobody educated me on PND.

The system not even once mentioned to me about postnatal disorders and what factors can increase the likelihood of it. When I went for the midwife appointments, there were plenty of questions about diabetes, heart diseases, and all kinds of diseases that could be present in my family history, but not once I got asked if I ever had any mental disorders.

Such as depression or anxiety or psychotic episodes. Women with previous mental disorders present a high risk of PND and psychosis. That’s the first thing you should ask a pregnant woman. If you get diabetes you and your baby are still alive. If you have post natal psychosis, both are in extreme danger.

And nobody seems to care. Even worse, they try to purposely ignore it.

As if that would make it go away. There is a general reluctance to discuss about mental disorders in mums. People fear crazy mums! Why? Because accepting that postnatal disorders are real, it means a financial burden on the public health system.

I was amazed at the lack of mental care for a pregnant woman and later as a new mum. My depression started when I was roughly 30 weeks pregnant. I was hating every sec of my pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to escape that nightmare of carrying my son, it felt so heavy. Never ever did I get asked how I feel mentally. How I am coping with all the changes, how am I finding the whole process. Blood pressure checked, heart beat checked, all good to go.

And after having my son they asked me if I feel low. I said yes. The midwife said it was the lack of sleep and not eating properly. Or the baby blues, I should get back to normal very soon… I didn’t unfortunately. Or at least not without adequate, paid help from professionals.