Becoming a mum can be a big change with a lot to take on and sometimes it can be hard to adjust. I am a mum to two gorgeous boys (Barney and Freddie) who definitely keep me on my toes but also make me laugh until I cry. This has not always been how I felt. Freddie was born the day after Barney’s 2nd birthday, after I was induced due to high blood pressure. I had had a difficult pregnancy that I really didn’t enjoy, with a birth that didn’t exactly go to plan.
We spent 10 days in hospital, where 6 of those days Freddie was in the Special Care Baby Unit. I felt a large amount of guilt, from Freddie arriving before he was ready to leaving Barney for a long time while I was in hospital. Neither of which I could have done anything about (which I understand now).
Postnatal depression symptoms
I have always loved my boys, more than words can describe, but for over a year I never felt really happy. I kept putting this dull feeling I felt to being tired and hormones, after all I had just had a baby. I’d speak to my mum and husband about not feeling happy sometimes but I should have done more about how I really felt. Instead, I just hide my true feelings, put a smile on my face and pretended nothing was wrong.
Most mornings, I wished I could have stayed in bed and hide from everything; the only reason I got up was that I knew I had to look after the children. I would cry over the smallest things and everything I did felt like a chore.
This carried on until a year after Freddie was born; I felt that like it was getting harder and knew I had to speak to someone away from my family and friends. Through networking, I met someone who very kindly put in touch with a counsellor. I had completed 4 months of counselling and can’t believe the difference in how I feel. It has made me realise how bad I was really feeling. I now love being a mum and laughing again. I just wish I had been honest with myself sooner.
Please note, I am not a medical professional but the following tips I have learnt about through my own experiences that can sometimes help when dealing with postnatal depression.
Surround yourself with people you love
With postnatal depression one of the last things you want to do can be to socialise. Explain to your close family how you are feeling and how they can help you. Although, sometimes it is easier to confide in someone away from immediate family and friends. The key thing is to find someone you are comfortable with and can trust.
Just 10 minutes fresh air can really make a difference. It can seem like such a mountain to get out the house but it will be worth it. Exercise releases the endorphins you need help give you a boost and if you can do it outside it will be even better.
Ask for help
Don’t try and do everything. Ask for help and accept any offers of help. It can be helpful to have a list of everyday tasks that other people can help with like washing.
Speak to your health visitor or GP
I was terrified to let my health visitor or GP know how I was really feeling. I was scared of what might happen. If I had known now that there are options like counselling, I would have been more honest. There are lots of options available and speaking to healthcare professionals is the best way to getting help and feeling better. Even after the first session I felt like a weight had been lifted.
Eating regular well-balanced meals really can really help to improve your mood. Having home cooked meals in the freezer can be useful on days you don’t have time to cook
Everyone mum to be a happy mum.