It’s not supposed to be like that, but it was.
The recent case of Felicity Boots brought back my own trauma and how my family almost collapsed because of post natal depression.
I recall my NCT (National Childbirth Trust) group getting together three or four weeks after our babies had been born. They were all joyous and loving being a mum. I sat and cried. I couldn’t relate to any of them. They couldn’t relate to me. It felt like no one could.
I don’t know why it was different for me. Why I couldn’t cope with my daughter. Why her cry made me want to smother her. Why I refused to feed her. Why I couldn’t pick her up and cuddle her. I just didn’t want, but I did. I knew deep down, somewhere in me, I really loved her.
I resented my husband for going to work. I hated the comings and goings of visitors that seemed to have taken residence in my front room from the moment the baby had arrived. Asian household do not consider a mother’s recovery or needs, everyone just piles in.
It was only when I burnt myself very badly 12 weeks after giving birth and was taken to the doctors that I spoke and someone listened. I had tried to speak to my husband, but he didn’t understand, my mother and in-law took no notice and just told me to get on with it. 12 weeks felt like a lifetime then. My husband and I would just end up screaming at each other, no one sleeping, no one enjoying the new baby. One day my husband didn’t come back. He had had enough.
He didn’t go far, but didn’t come home. I couldn’t blame him. Who would want to come home to a nightmare. He was desperate and so was I. The Doctor was great and helped us to understand what was happening. My husband found help in the form of my NCT group and neighbours. For me, they were far more supportive than family.
It took a good 6 months to come through the end of my depression and find my own peace with my daughter. This can be different for all sufferers. I am pleased to say that I have a lovely relationship with my daughter now and cannot imagine life without her.
The signs are telling and more awareness needs to be raised to help sufferers with post natal depression. It is really serious and in the case of Felicity Boots, really damaging.