Emma (@imummabear) shares her story of postnatal depression, and her advice if you think you might be suffering.
A smiling mumma, two sleeping babies. Contentment.
The comments I received when I posted this picture a year ago were all so sweet. “Perfect” one said. But this wasn’t perfect at all.
I was very ill. I felt suicidal. I felt my children would be better off without me.
That that little squishy bundle there would be happier with anyone else but me.
That sweet new born girl, that shared my body for the best part of a year, didn’t need me. That toddler, confused and tired, feeling unsure on this new family dynamic, didn’t need me. They would be happier without me.
If you saw this picture, would you guess that I felt no connection with my baby, or that I resented my toddler? Would you guess I was so deeply unhappy that I couldn’t go through a day without shutting myself away crying?
I dreaded every feed, every change, every nap.
When I see a mumma asking for help, reaching out and admitting they feel suicidal, admitting they are confused about these feelings, not coping, I look at their pictures and even I think “they don’t look depressed.”
I see smiling, well groomed mummas, I see chubby baby cheeks being squashed in kisses, husbands tenderly holding newborns, toothy grins surrounded by bolognese. Surely these women can’t be depressed.
Looks can be deceiving. Be kind.
And if you are these smiling mummas, wearing a mask of happiness, I understand but I beg you from one mumma bear to another, TELL someone. Tell someone, anyone, tell me, how you feel.
Don’t be ashamed, don’t wear a mask, because I promise you, you can get better. Share the dark days and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I feel sorry for the mumma in that photo. I feel extremely sad for her. She’s trying to hold it together. She’s trying to be the best mum she can. She’s very ill and even she doesn’t know it. She’s not getting the support she desperately needs. But she will.
I know because one year on, she will be in a good place, writing a blog maybe.
Having opened up to family and friends, having taken medication, having had counselling and got better.
Being a mumma is still very hard, the hardest job I’ve ever had to do, but there’s relief in the PND cloud being lifted.
Postnatal depression can look exactly like this.
Search on FaceBook for @imummabear to see more posts like this.
Where to get further help
Postnatal depression: If you think that you may be suffering from postnatal depression it is important to speak to your doctor or health visitor. A useful resource for advice is the mental health charity Mind. Information can be found on the Mind website or you can call them on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Suicidal thoughts: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts it is important to seek advice immediately from a member of your family, a friend or someone you trust. You can also call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in immediate danger or know someone who is, call 999.