Postnatal Depression Was The Loneliest Experience I Don’t Wish On Anyone (My Honest PND Story)

I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for my wonderful family.

But I didn’t always feel this way.

The beginning of my motherhood journey (also known as the postpartum or postnatal period) was rather horrific.

In the first months of being a new mum, I suffered severe postnatal depression. (also known as postpartum depression, PPD, or PND)

This was, frankly, the loneliest and scariest experience of my life that I don’t wish on any new mum! 

It all began rather inconspicuously.

My boys were born via an emergency c-section and I could not wait to meet them for the first time.

I could not wait to experience this amazing rush of love everyone was talking about.

However, to my huge shock, the first meeting with my boys was nothing like I had imagined.

I knew they were mine, I was glad they were ok….

But That special feeling didn’t come. 

No rush of love.

No fireworks.

Quite naturally, I, therefore, felt like a complete failure and a horrible mother!

Every situation I experience from that day onwards only added to the feeling of failure.

I had no idea what to do.

I didn’t feel like a mother.

The boys did not want to latch to my breasts,

I didn’t love them the way I believed I “should”.

At times, I even regretted the decision to have children.

It was all beyond overwhelming and it did not take long before I became convinced that my family would have been better off without me. 

I was convinced that everyone else was having a great time with their baby but me.

I felt utterly useless.

On a few occasions, I even wished I was dead.

The only person I talked to about my feelings was my husband who kept encouraging me to talk to my family and the GP, which I eventually did, but taking antidepressants only deepened the feeling of failure so I did not take them regularly.

Everyone else thought I was happy, but inside I was falling apart. 

I wanted my life back and I saw no point in anything anymore. 

After about 8 months of suffering in silence, I hit rock bottom.

The day I spoke up changed everything

That day started like any other.

My husband went to work and I was home alone with the boys.

I expected a good friend to visit me but I still had a few minutes so I was holding Henry in my lap and played with him.

Suddenly, a strong urge to hurt him possessed me.

It freaked the hell out of me!

He wasn’t doing anything bad at the time.

In fact, he was smiling!

I can’t explain it but it was as if something took over me and I suddenly had no power over my thoughts.

It freaked me out like nothing else ever before.

I quickly strapped both boys in their bouncers, run to my bedroom, and locked the door behind me.

I threw myself on the bed while shivering and crying uncontrollably.

It felt like I was going insane.

I wanted this to end but I didn’t see any way out!

I felt trapped and lost any hope for the future.

I hit rock bottom.

I called my husband in tears who wanted to come home straight away.

But knowing my friend Lenka was coming any minute, I told him he didn’t need to.

At that point, I didn’t care about anything anymore.

I didn’t care when she found me in tears.

I told her everything.

I told her how lovely and desperate I felt and how I saw no way out.

That was the day that changed everything.

Once I opened up the can of worms, there was no way to stop it.

That evening, I talked for hours.

Lenka listen and to my surprise – even though she didn’t have children at the time – she was brilliant and very supportive.

She showed me I was not alone in this.

Her reaction made all the difference.

I cannot even start to describe what a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders that day.

While speaking to her, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t spoken up much earlier!

Talking proved to be the best medication for postnatal depression

From that day, I started to open up to more people (even to strangers!), which proved to be an extremely effective treatment for my postnatal depression. 

I also started to take the antidepressants gradually – which helped me to function and heal. 

Over time, my love for the boys has also developed and settled.

And I finally started to enjoy motherhood like I always wanted!

It took a lot of time and tears, but I am lucky to say that not only did I survive postnatal depression, but now I am happier than ever before.

I believe that the biggest change happened when I started to talk! 

When I stopped suffering in silence and spoke up.

Once I did, suddenly, more and more new mums around me admitted they felt just like I did.

They were just – like me – too scared to talk about it.

And now, I am on the mission to help other new mums so they never have to feel like I did. 

I believe that the main reason new mums struggle (even if it does not go as far as depression!) is poor knowledge about life after the baby arrives and postnatal mental health.

In other words – one of the main causes of postnatal depression is unrealistic expectations about motherhoood. 

As even admitted by the NHS midwives – most antenatal classes don’t offer focus on information about childbirth but offer only minimal to zero information about life after baby and postnatal mental health. 

The environment and media have fed us with the illusion that a new mum experiences nothing but pure happiness from the first moment.

However, the reality is often different, so if the feelings of happiness don’t arrive, a new mum feels like a failure and often falls into depression.

I believe that if we stop pretending and start being open about the real feelings we experience as mothers,  we can finally break the stigma around postnatal mental health and dramatically lower the risks of postnatal depression.

What is your opinion?

What can we as a society do to stop the stigma and raise postnatal depression awareness?

Let me know in the comments!

PS. If you would like to read my full PND story, discover life-changing motherhood facts antenatal classes won’t tell you, and receive exclusive tips & support for new mums, then please check out my book Motherhood – The Unspoken. 

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