Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Depression During & After Pregnancy: One Mum's Story {Perfectly Imperfect Blog Carnival}

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 This post was written as a contribution to the Perfectly Imperfect: Parenting with Mental Illness Blog Carnival.  The participating bloggers are sharing their experiences, thoughts, and opinions on how living with mental illness affects their daily lives and parenting practices.

This post was written by the mum at What to Do With the Children.  She is sharing her story here at Crayon Freckles.
I have never really had problems with mental health. There was one time when I was about 18-20 I struggled as I was in a controlling relationship, looking back on it now he manipulated me and emotional abused me. He didn't hit me apart from once but at that time in my life the mental part was worse as I didn't realize it was happening!!!

Because of this I couldn't see a way out. Luckily for me I met my now husband and he rescued me by making me see what love was and how he was manipulating me. The problem was it was not a fairy tail and he didn't vanish once the knight in shining armor saved me. Even though I left, he could still get to me. He told me he was dying and that I couldn't leave him he told me all sorts and he got back into my head again.

I was distraught why hadn't this knight saved me why was he back? I was so down I tried to take an overdose!!!again luckily for me my knight was there. He forced his way into the room I was in and saved me again.
It took me a long time to trust my knight as all I had ever known is manipulation. But I was happy and after a couple of months I realized my knight couldn't save me, I had to do it myself. It made it easier him being there. He was kind and patient and he helped me to see who I really was, even if I don't admit to it I know deep down inside.

So that was the main mental health problems I had until I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I could start to feel some of the old feelings coming back but only mild and only in my last 2 months of pregnancy. I told the midwife about my feelings mote than once and they did nothing. As soon as my daughter was born that was it. Just like with all the others I thrived after child birth and had no post natal depression.

When I got pregnant with my 4th I was ecstatic as we was trying for a 4th to finish our family off and even better there would be about 2 years difference the same as with my other children.

When it came to about 8 weeks the depression feelings started to come back. At my 8 week booking in appointment I told my midwife how I was feeling and that I had felt this way in my previous pregnancy. I was informed by my midwife (who I had seen and told about my problems in my previous pregnancy) that there was no record of depression and there was nothing they could do and go see the doctor!!! And that was literally the end of the conversation.

That is just what you want to hear when you reach out to someone.

But I was brave and I booked an appointment with the doctor. I told him how I was feeling and was again helpfully informed to come back when I was 12 weeks as there is nothing they can do until then. Well that was it I had had enough, I though what's the point of asking for help when no one would help.
Anyway the problem just got worse and worse.

When I was about 18 weeks I got a bug off my children on top of my morning sickness meant I had to have a stay in the hospital. To be honest this didn't bother me as I have been in hospital will all of my children apart from my first but I found out later I should have been admitted!

While I was in I told multiple midwives and doctors about my worsening depression, non of them did anything.

I started feeling very depressed at 20 weeks. I didn't want to be around my own children, I couldn't hug/kiss them let alone tell them I loved them which for me is unheard of as my children are my whole world.

At one point I even phoned child protection services so someone would take my children away from me, but I couldn't go through with it. At a routine midwife appointment, one of the ones that I actually attended I luckily had a different midwife and I told her how I felt. That the depression had got so bad I didn't even want my baby anymore. She was the one that finally did something. She organized an appointment with a consultant and phoned my doctor and told him I needed treatment and psychiatric help. I had to go into see my doctor and he gave me medication and arraigned for a phone call the next day for psychiatric assessment which resulted in 2 psychiatric nurses coming around the next day (a Sunday) to see if I was safe.

I didn't realize it at the time as non off this was helpful but it was the start of my journey to the actual help I needed.

The next bit is a bit of a blur like it was happening to someone else.

I saw counselor after counselor, even a psychiatric doctor. My doctor even arranged for my midwife and health visitor to come around to check on me. I told them all the same thing. "I have had enough and I want it to end NOW, if you don't do it I will do it myself". Worst thing is was I meant it. The midwife got me an appointment with a consultant the next day. When I went I told him how I felt about my pregnancy (it wasn't a baby to me anymore at this point) and how I had been asking for help most of my pregnancy an no one had done anything. At this point I was nearly 34 weeks.

Thankfully he admitted me as he was not willing to send me home. At the time I burst into tears. I was escorted into a side room and I just slept or starred out the window. And I was not board once. At the time I was told I would be in until I had delivered and they would induce me 2 weeks early. This was on a Friday. On the Sunday I saw someone from the psychiatric team and on the Tuesday I saw my consultant. He talked to me about how I felt and how he could help. My simple answer was induce me now (I was 34 weeks that day) his answer was obviously no and suggested in 3 weeks time. To me that was just to long and I started crying and shacking, it was just to long how was I going to cope?? He luckily Suggested an inducement in 14 days, a month early. But this came with the understanding that there needed to be a bed in scubu if there was anything wrong with the baby.

I was ecstatic with this and some of my depression started to lift. But a lot of the midwives was not happy with the decision and let it show. After just over a week in hospital I stated to feel better knowing that I was going to be induced in 7 days, so I was let home. I had the best week I had had for ages. I even started to get ready for baby but there was no excitement, and being around my children still didn't bring me any joy. Finally the day came of my induction I started the process of induction at 3 in the afternoon but as I was a month early it was slow going. I was in labor all night and all my feelings started to come back. Anyway the next morning I was taken down to the delivery sweet and given my epidural at 4-5 cm. the labor was uncomplicated and I even saw my baby being born. After he was born he was put on my chest and all my feelings of depression vanished and all I felt was love for my new baby boy. He was quickly taken off me and about 20 people came in to check him over.

Luckily he was fine and I got to keep him with me. And that was it I was cured with the delivery of my perfect baby boy. The only problem was he wouldn't breast feed and I battled with this for 3 day. Pumping and then feeding him with a syringe or cup every 2 hours. But even that didn't bring my depressive feelings back. I did not only love my baby but I loved and enjoyed spending time with all my children again. I was finally myself again. On day 3 I saw again the consultant that admitted me and when he walked in like any other doctor. He looked up and saw me holding my baby and his face just dropped and he said "WOW you look so much better" and I was.

Looking back on it now I was failed by the NHS. But my husband and I should also have fought harder at the beginning. Prenatal depression is not understood and some so called professionals do not even know it existed if my depression was postnatal everything would have been different and I would have had a lot more help.

Depression even in this day in age is still not understood. Even if you do get someone who listens to you, you gave to go through a long process before you can get the help you really need unless you are really lucky.

If you are reading this and you have got depression go get help, fight for it if you need to. It is a real illness just like any other (if it wasn't I wouldn't have been induced 4 weeks early as its unheard of unless it is for the health of the baby).

Just please what ever you do don't give up. Tell people, if they don't listen tell someone else as all you need is just 1 person to listen to help you get better.

Good luck. 

Read other posts from the Perfectly Imperfect: Parenting with Mental Illness Blog Carnival:

Andie from Crayon Freckles explores how living with bipolar disorder affects motherhood and the perceptions of those around her.  She also shares what she's doing to combat the stigma that mental illness carries.  Find more from Andie on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Krissy, a work-at-home mama of 3, shares her experience with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and offers 8 Tips (compiled from other moms who manage depression) for Moms Who Are Feeling Depressed. Find more from Krissy on her blog, Facebook, and Pinterest. 

PlayDrMom, Laura Hutchison, PsyD, LP, RPT/S, shares her personal story about her lifetime struggle with depression spanning childhood through parenthood.  She hopes that with her post others may recognize similarities in their own lives (or the lives of their children) and not feel alone or helpless in their own struggles. She also writes a guest post on A Healthier Michigan about the importance of talking about mental illnesses in hopes to help end the stigma.  With openness of discussing the subject people will feel more comfortable with seeking help and continuing treatment.
Catherine writes on her sister's blog about parenting a toddler and baby as a mother with depression and PTSD, including steps she takes to cope. 

Erin from RoyalBaloo.com talks about mental illness, how it effects her as a parent, and what parenting with mental illness means to her.  She discusses some common myths regarding Bipolar and gives advice to what to say/not to say to a parent with mental illness.  Erin is a mother to 3 boys who blogs about parenting and their homeschooling journey.  Find more from her on her blog,  Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +

If you would like to share this carnival, you can use the hashtag #EndStigma
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