Rachael's Story of Post Natal Depression



By Rachael Dobson




I found out I was pregnant two days after my first wedding anniversary, and I was not met with the overwhelming joy which I thought was meant to happen. I was met with panic, shock and I was scared. My husband was overjoyed, he supported me all through pregnancy and through my decision of whether to have a termination or not. I just held on to the fact people would tell me it will be lovely to hold the 'bundle of joy' and I will be met with love I have never felt before.

My birth wasn't exactly plain sailing, emergency caesarean and feeling as if I was being attacked and I have never had so many people in one room, amounted to me waking up having a baby followed by a blood transfusion. Sat in a side room on my own, looking over into a cot, I was not met with love, or joy, just nothing... Empty. More and more people came to see me and my sister said I must be so proud. The only person I could tell was my husband, felt such a shame of a women, a wife and a mother. Every one telling me how I should be feeling and all I wanted was it to just go back to my husband and I, I knew this was selfish, but I spent what felt like my childhood caring for my mum, my husband was my escape and our first anniversary having friends round just felt like finally I'm me, I can do what I want, what people my age do. I blamed this little vulnerable child... Baby even, for taking this away from me.

The first few weeks I done what I considered a mum should and I would cry when my husband walked through the door. This wasn't what motherhood was meant to be, the tears, the tantrums, and the anger.

The morning I finally admitted to anyone else there was an issue, my husband went to work as usual, my son wouldn't stop crying, and I was overwhelmed with tremendous anger, I wanted him gone, then I was just met with sadness and horror, how could I feel like this towards a baby? I rang my health visitor and as soon as I heard her name Sarah, I said my name and promptly burst into tears. Sarah came round along with a student nurse.

I literally spent three and half hours crying my heart out, the pain, emotion, and heartache I could finally tell someone. Sarah was shocked said she thought I was such a laid back first time mum. It was easy for me to just smile and put a mask on. I remember glancing at the student nurse, who wiped tears from her eyes, seeing someone else cry because I was telling them exactly how I felt was a breath of fresh air, I knew they were listening.

After telling them how I felt, I went into a shell, I didn't want to do anything with my son, my husband would come home from work and continue to take full care of my son overnight and back to work again, during the day my nan would take care of him.

My GP signed my husband off work so he could care for my son and I, I don't know if it made thing difficult for him at work, he generally would say the bare minimum. When family visited us they would start to have ago at him saying he better be pulling his weight as I looked tired, I must be doing it all night, he never correct them. The truth, he was doing it, if our son cried I would berry my head under the pillow and hide.

I had a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse - Mental Health) come and visit me, I tried to explain when I get really angry I will pull my hair and pinch my arms and legs, and will through a tantrum like a child but I feel detached from it like I am looking at myself. Her response was do I hear voices… No! Just thought, great now I am I going to have people thinking I am Schizophrenic. As if things weren't hard enough. I wanted her to give me advice on how to work through it all, but no, just got told,' just have to work through it'.

Well done, even I knew that much.

I decided to go back to work as a temp after 3 months, and people would say to me, don't you want to be at home with your son, I also tried to do a college course and the lecturers would say you should be spending time with him. It's like I was met by the stereotype of what a good mum was. I just wanted to scream at them, no, ok, I don't want to be at home, I want to be out the house! I am Rachael I am not just a mum.

When we got to August 2010, when our son was 6 months old, I still felt the same, still blamed him, and we had the task of finding a new home, we were lucky enough to buy a house with the help of my grandparents. I met with my new health visitor and I explained the same as what I had previously and request to go to a group for Post Natal Depression I was advised there was a group but I was two pegs above it and would bring other people down. I genuinely felt like I had been slapped round the face.

I was now able to look after our son the odd day on my own but it was tough, I would use TV programs as markers, he would nap just before Jeremy Kyle, have lunch at Loose Women and then go to sleep at 60 minuet makeover and then I would clock watch till 4 when I knew my husband was heading home.

I'll admit the one day I lost it. I snapped, our son would not let me put his trousers on and I know it sounds silly but to me was a big deal, the anger came back, the annoyance, the hatred, and I held him down, hard. He cried, there was no mark on him, but I held him tight and balled my eyes out, I'm so sorry mummy let you down.

I never told anyone… not even my husband till a week later when I told my Sure Start support worker, I then had social services at my door, telling me I'm a serious risk to our son and I wasn't allowed to spend any time alone with him. I felt like I let everyone down. My husband didn't have a clue what was going on when social services were sat on the sofa when he got in from work, telling him they think his wife is a great risk to our sons safety. It took four and half months to get Social Services to believe I was not going to harm our son, when I received the letter saying the case was closed I cried, felt such relief. I received a report of what they thought; have to admit I really wanted to burn it.

Around the time Social Services were coming to the end of the investigations, I started a job at the same company as my husband, the interview in December 2010 was hard, I was faced by the two managers in my husband's office and all I could think was, what if they remember, what if they know. Since starting the job I have been open to people saying I have post natal depression, and each time I tell someone new feels like I can breathe that little bit more.

I was so desperate to meet other people who went through the same, I searched on the Internet, and when people on social networking sites replied saying they feel the same and would describe what it's like, I cried, felt so good to hear other people say they feel the same and it gets better.

Now I want to be able to do that for others, I haven't found any groups or support networks in Shrewsbury and very little in Shropshire where I live. I just want people to know you are not alone, although each person is different and has a different story to tell, I want to tell people depression of any kind is an illness. I hope admitting all of this can be a help to just one person or family I will feel happy, a lot of tears I have shed over the past year or so that why along with my husband Stuart, set up Pandas Foundation to help other so please "don't sit alone, stand together and be supported."

Hugs, Rachael x





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