Returning to Work


My daughter suffered PP last August and has been recovering slowly. Now off olanzapine but still taking her antidepressant. She is a teacher and returned to work 3 weeks ago 2 days per week. Unfortunately this hasn't gone too well she is very anxious and depressed again. Is this a normal reaction? I am very worried about her again.


31 Replies

  • Hello Marilyn,

    I'm sorry your daughter is struggling with depression, which has hit some mums here after PP. I think she has done very well to return to what must be a stressful job in a short space of time. It took me well over twelve months to find my feet and regain confidence but we are all different.

    I hope your daughter's G.P. is keeping a watchful eye on her. Perhaps he / she could suggest something for the anxiety or medication to lift her depression in time. Try not to worry, you have done so well to support your daughter. With professional help she will fully recover. I know it must be stressful for you to watch but this is a small setback compared to what she has overcome.

    Take care of yourself too.

  • Thanks again for replying her CPN is visiting tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to help. She is such a perfectionist and I don't thin this is helping at the moment I think she is overwhelmed by everything and is struggling to accept why this has happened at all. I must admit I still struggle to accept why this has happened to her too but there are no answers just unlucky I suppose. No family history. It's hard for me as she is normally so self assured.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi there - I haven't gone back to work, so no direct experience to share, but sounds like your daughter is doing amazingly well, considering how recent her illness was. Letting go of our own "perfect" expectations is so vital in our acceptance and ability to move on with life happily, I think... My expectations during pregnancy were fueled by NCT, books, TV programmes... None of which actually prepared me for the reality! I'd keep on encouraging her that "it's ok not to be ok"... Sorry that's not particularly helpful, but maybe if she comes on here and reads a few of our stories she will see how well she's really doing? X

  • Dear Marilyn,

    I went back to work full time following my maternity leave after a similar amount of time. I found it ok with some very supportive colleagues but I work in an office environment, I imagine a classroom setting is extremely tough at the best of times let alone when feeling so vulnerable. I was also very fortunate in not suffering the depression so many face following PP but I'm sure others will have very similar experiences. I think the transition back to working life is hard enough for mums, leaving your baby, re-entering a world that has carried on without's a very anxious time. I'm sure you continue to be an amazing support and hopefully your daughter will be monitored through this time of extra stress.

    We put so much pressure on ourselves don't we? Such expectations as KatG says...

    My mum was so angry at what happened. But she always said, from the very early days of recovery in the MBU, 'It's natural to ask "why me?" But why not you?' Like you say, just unlucky.

    I hope the CPN is able to help tomorrow.

    Best wishes,

    J x

  • Hi Marilyn it is lovely to hear from you again but sad to hear your daughter is struggling being back at work. I went back too about the same time as your daughter, and have quite a stressful job too, I manage several homes supporting people with learning disabilities and I went back four days a week. Like your daughter I was still struggling with depression and anxiety too. What helped? just sticking with it somehow, not having high expectations of myself. I was very lucky in that my supervisor and colleague were excellent basically saying whatever little I could manage to do was better than when I was on maternity leave where they had no cover for my job. Some days I felt like a zombie and just sat in front of my computer hardly doing anything. Other days I was in tears. But somehow slowly I recovered and gained confidence. And unfortunately from my experience the just being at work and sticking with it was what helped me gain confidence eventually. Meetings with my psychologist / cbt really helped.

    I can see though for your daughter that bring a teacher, standing up in front of kids etc, must be pretty overwhelming. I guess if she was on here herself I'd be saying it sounds totally normal for pp that you will get through it, you will be yourself again and you will definitely be a fantastic teacher again... It hasn't gone it just takes time...

    I agree with kat, finding some acceptance about what happened was key in my recovery but I think perhaps it comes later, when you have got through the worst of it. Have you told her about this forum? Perhaps she would find it helpful.

    Thinking of you and your family loads.


  • Hi Ellie nurse was in this afternoon and antidepressant has been increased. It's been a stressful day as she is very anxious think going back to work has triggered this. I have mentioned to her to join the forum but she's still quite private about what has happened to her although she did say she would think about it. I told her she would be able to chat to others who had been through the same experience and it may help. I'll wait and see how she goes don't want to pressurise her. Thanks for all your support.


  • Hi irvinm62

    I too am a private person. My mum found the website first which helped her, she told me about it but I couldn't look for months. When I was ready it has been helpful. She can join with a different name, no one will know who she is and it is up to her what she does or doesn't share.

    I too got depression after PP and really suffered with anxiety, it has been in the last couple of months I have been feeling better. I did have some CBT therapy which helped. Perhaps your daughter can ask her CPN about this.

    I am not back at work yet, I am finally enjoying time with my baby, work scares me. Your daughter is very brave, and is doing well. But recovery takes about a year so it might be too soon. I wish you and her all the best x

  • Thanks for replying. It's been a difficult week it's not a year until August and she's very hard on herself thinks she should be back to normal by now. CPN suggested psychologist but 6 month waiting list so we're going to try and source someone private I would do anything to help her. Why has this happened but there seems to be no answers. I hope you improve soon yourself. Really hard for us mums to watch!! Take care xx

  • I feel for my mum having to go through it as I do you, although it happened to us there is a whole other impact in our mums. My mum wanted me to get better too. I had a 3 month wait for psychologist help, bad but not as bad as 6. in the mean time my mum paid for private to help me, which it did. There are no answers it's a 1-1000 chance of getting PP, they think sleep depravation plays a part. It sounds like your similar to my mum and are really helping and supporting your daughter. This will really help, and she will get there. She needs to accept what's happened and talk about it, then she can try and move on. I really feel for you both x

  • Hi Marilyn. it's good her anti depressant has been increased. has she been offered any counselling / psychologist support yet? I know it's not for everyone but perhaps it would help. I agree not pressurising her to go on the forum is a good idea, I am sure if she feels she is ready she will look us up. Perhaps just you saying a bit of what you read, that she is not alone, will help even a little.

    I hope that you are ok? Sounds like you're giving such amazing support to your daughter.

    I really hope things will slowly get easier for her.

    Take care

  • Hi Ellie thanks again for your reply. Yes she is being referred to a psychologist but was told that could take 6 months after all what she has been through is unacceptable in my opinion . I have told her to ask the nurse where we could get a private appointment and I will pay for it. Just so desperate for her to feel normal again.


  • Hi Ellie thanks again for your reply. Yes she is being referred to a psychologist but was told that could take 6 months after all what she has been through is unacceptable in my opinion . I have told her to ask the nurse where we could get a private appointment and I will pay for it. Just so desperate for her to feel normal again.


  • Hi Marilyn, I'm astounded she hasn't been offered psychologist support, it really is a postcode lottery the support you get, and I realise I was so lucky. If you want to go private have a look on bacp website (if you Google bacp) and you can see different counsellors / psychotherapists. You can search by location and also style of counselling, I would search for cbt as I think from my experience and what I've read is the best for helping someone with anxiety / depression. someone else from app may be able to give you some more information. I really hope you can get more support for her soon. Take care

  • Thank you so much for replying again I have just googled bacp and there is a therapist near where my daughter lives. I'll let her know and if the nurse cannot organise an appointment soon I'll

    get in touch. It's so difficult for me as I don't want to be seen as I'm taking over her life but at the moment I feel I am the one who needs to do the pushing. Thanks again. Marilyn

  • That's great there is a therapist near her. How does your daughter feel about seeing a therapist? has she expressed a wish? I guess if you can give her as much info as possible about cbt, the benefits etc (I think app has info on the website) and maybe say just try in once or twice just to see if it helps. I agree, I needed people to be proactive. I was offered it when I was discharged from the mbu and didn't have that much choice, in my experience I wouldn't have been well enough to find / organise support myself so I think it's good you do this hard work for your daughter. maybe you could phone the therapist yourself and sound her out and get some initial info?

    Good luck with it all, hang in there, it is quite a long road but she will get better, Take care

  • Good idea I'll have a chat to my daughter first before I do that. The therapist I looked at treats PP which is excellent. Thanks again for your support.


  • Hi Marilyn

    Really sorry to hear that it has been such a difficult time for your daughter returning to work. I'm glad you've had so much support from mums on the forum via this thread already, and I think you've done exactly the right thing being very proactive about finding a local therapist who can see your daughter privately. Six months is such a long time to wait for NHS treatment, it's shocking really. If the private therapist isn't immediately available your daughter could ask her GP about a referral to her local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service who tend to provide CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for 6-12 sessions and usually have shorter waiting lists than psychology.

    I wanted to mention a couple of websites with really good advice about managing mental health at work, which may be helpful for both you and your daughter to read. I also wanted to ask whether her headteacher is being supportive - you mentioned that your daughter is quite private so I wondered if she'd felt able to talk to people at work about what she's been through this last six months?

    Here are the links giving helpful tips on looking after your mental health at work:

    You're doing an amazing job supporting her and loving her through this next tough stage of recovery. With good support from her school, medication and talking therapy there will be a way through this period of anxiety and depression, and we're here for you any time to chat as you support her.

    Naomi x

  • Thanks again Naomi for your reply just when I thought things were on the up the depression strikes again!! Her antidepressant has been increased to help her cope better with work. She's very hard on herself and doesn't want to speak about what has happened at work. I do

    think her work colleagues think she is actually better than she is because if this. I am looking after the baby the 2 days she's at work so staying overnight it certainly gives me a chance to keep my eye on her. The nurse is back on Friday and will be able to tell her a definite timeframe to see a psychologist but I've tokd her we'll get a private appointment don't think she wants her dad and I to need to pay for the appointment but I've told her we want her better ASAP so maybe the nurse can recommend someone. If not I've seen a couple on the Internet I may contact.

    Her head teacher is very supportive but my daughter doesn't want her to know she's having a struggle but I'm trying to encourage her to let her know. The school stops next week for 6 weeks holiday and we're all going to Cyprus for 2 weeks so I'm hoping this will help her but I am concerned when she starts work again after the holidays as she is going back 4 days for a year quite daunting but maybe more of a routine will help her feel more part of work than she does at the moment.

    Thanks again for your support.


  • Hi Marilyn,

    I agree that you're doing an amazing job with your ongoing support especially at yet another tough time. I think going back to work is a particularly fragile time, even though it can good in lots of ways. It's really good that you're able to help so much at the moment so don't feel you're taking over at all - when I was struggling I actually needed someone to talk me through things to help me make decisions. I guess it just a case of talking, listening to her & playing it by ear.

    Going back to work after PP has lots of challenges, especially in the first few weeks. Nothing is the same as before, along with all the usual new mother away from baby challenges, it takes quite a while to find your feet & find your 'place' in the workplace again. It really does come though, it just takes time, patience & lots of extra self-care. It's also incredibly exhausting going back, especially with the medication on top of everything - tiredness was one of my biggest daily challenges & I was sat at a desk all day so I can imagine how tiring your daughter is finding it with her demanding role. I guess family members/ friends could help with the practical things like housework, shopping, cooking etc.?

    I went back to work part-time, 3 days /week, after 6 months. I don't think I could've coped so soon full-time & was lucky part-time was an option. For me going back to work was an important step in my recovery & although it was difficult, it was very positive. The time away from my baby, the routine, doing what I used to do helped me feel myself again & was really good for me. Also it was a break for my family to know that I wasn't on my own & was safe - (I was very depressed at that time).

    I think it's good for everyone to be prepared for good days & bad days at this time, she's got so much on her plate at the moment, it's understandable if she has a bad day. It's really good that you're around to help & monitor her moods closely. Sometimes it might feel that you're going backwards or it's one step forwards & two steps back, but this isn't the case at all. It's a cliche that recovery is a bumpy road, but it's one that's going upwards all the time. It might be helpful to remind her of this now & then. Also, lots of reassurance that she's doing the right thing for everyone will be good over the next month or so & lots of reassurance & encouragement all round.

    Well done for encouraging her to come on the forum if she ever wants to 'talk' about anything at any point. There's some really great advice & info from the others above I hope you found useful. Good luck with the therapist!

    Andrea x

  • Thanks for replying Andrea it has been quite a hard week yesterday she seemed a bit better but down again this morning seems to be a bit of a rollercoaster. She feels she's not part of anything at work at the moment but I told her that will come and not to expect too much she's very critical of herself and always has been. I don't know if she'll join the forum she said she would think about it. This illness has put a huge dent in her confidence and I pray for her every night. Thank you again for all your support.


  • Hi Marilyn, I wonder how you all are? I can't remember everything I have written before so sorry if I'm repeating, I am replying on my phone as my computer is broken!

    I would agree with others, going back to work is such a mixed thing and I imagine it will be that for your daughter. I struggled and was anxious and depressed but eventually with time and just getting used to it again I think it did help with my recovery ultimately, to reconnect with that part of myself again. like your daughter I think I am quite perfectionist too at work and have quite high standards of myself and struggled knowing I wasn't doing my job as well as I could but then slowly it did get better, cbt helped.

    I was honest with work and everyone what I had been through but I know this is totally down to each individual and their individual situations / work place I imagine. I know there are a lot of people who may judge, I was lucky I was met with such patience, love and understanding but I do work in an unusual place in many ways but won't get into that now.

    Just wondered if she might consider the one to one peer support app offer rather than going on the forum? more private and less daunting? I think she would get a response and support very quickly and it would be one to one email support with a volunteer who has had pp.

    I really hope she will get this cbt/ psychologist support really soon, I am astounded,.shocked that she hasn't been offered it before.

    Take care, and just to say I am praying for you and your daughter too, I think of you a lot.

  • Hi Ellie thanks again for replying. I have asked her to join the forum but she is reluctant and I don't want to push it. Nurse was in this morning and confirmed it would be 6 months to get appointment with psychologist, shocking with such a serious illness!! I am trying to source someone private in her area I spoke to a counsellor today who has agreed to see her but think my daughter would prefer the psychologist as that was what the nurse suggested to be honest I don't know the difference. She told me she'll decide tonight and let me know tomorrow what route she is going to take. Didn't know about the one to one peer support?? I just pray she comes through this. Thanks again for your support.


  • The 1 to 1 email support from someone who's been there sounds like a good idea Marilyn, mabe less public communication would suit her better? You're right not to push her as she might not fancy it at all. If she does at any point, the link to register is here:

  • Thanks Andrea I'll speak to her but not sure if she's ready for any contact. She's still struggling we've sourced a counsellor in her area who delivers CBT so I'll pay for that till she gets her psychologist appointment. Thanks again .


  • Hello Marilyn,

    I think a holiday in Cyprus will be good for everyone. No pressure for your daughter, just time to relax and enjoy family life. Try not to worry, she will be well again.

    Take care of yourself as you need all your strength for the support you are giving.

  • Thanks for your support hearing you say she will be well again gives me strength. It has been a very difficult 10 months just not fair for women who are hit by this terrible illness I never even knew such a thing existed I think women should be warned this can happen at antenatal classes as our family hadn't a clue what was happening it was such a shock. Thanks again.


  • Thank you Marilyn ....reading your posts gives me an insight into the struggle it must have been for my mum to watch me in distress, which she has never spoken about. I am really sorry as a mum you are having such a stressful time. For many here PP hit us out of the blue, however, since my sons were born many years ago treatment and understanding have improved.

    It is a shock for the whole family but with proper medical care and your support, your daughter will emerge as the confident woman she once was. This is not an easy journey at the moment so your holiday is such a good idea.

    Take good care.

  • Hi Marilyn

    I have been thinking of you and your daughter, and hoping that you had a good summer? I imagine that she will be going back to work soon, and am thinking of her. I hope you are all OK.

    Take care X

  • Hi there that was really nice of you to enquire. My daughter went back to work / days a week in June but unfortunately that never went well and her antidepressants were increased. Since then we had a family holiday in Cyprus and my daughter had been seeing a therapist. The schools went back 2 weeks ago and I am delighted to report that this has gone really well for her she is working 4 days a week for a year and then back to full time. It has been a very difficult year for her and the family but hopefully now we are on the road to recovery. Her nurse is thinking of discharging her and she has to see the psychiatrist in October. Thank you again for enquiring and hope you are well.

    Marilyn x

  • Hi Marilyn

    That's really wonderful news that your daughter is managing back at work, it sounds that she got great support with the therapist etc. and that's amazing she's coping working as a teacher 4 days a week! really happy to hear! You must be so relieved, sounds like you're through the worst, what a year you have all been through.

    Take care

  • Thank you so much for all your support. It has been a year from hell but hopefully we are through to the other end I am being cautiously optimistic. Thanks again.

    Marilyn x

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