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What/who helped you?

Hello, it is my first time posting here. I am a Mum to a 3 year old girl. I suffered with post natal depression and still have many down days. I am now considering trying for another baby, I am so scared though, although feel so guilty saying that as children are such a blessing.

I wanted to ask others, what helped you with your postnatal depression?

For me it was finding playgroups, I go to a playgroup at a church and for me it has been one of my saviours! Also I have an amazing GP.

I would appreciate your thoughts xx

Thank you in advance

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Don't feel guilty at all! I suffered with severe pnd after having my little boy almost 2 years ago now and the thought of another child fills me with dread. My psychologist always said that I just needed to accept that a future pregnancy would cause me anxiety because of what happened last time and to be kind to myself rather than fighting it. They have also suggested next time I should go on antidepressants in the third trimester so they are in the system from birth to help keep my hormones more balanced. I also know I am more equipped this time with how to help myself so hope that will go some way to make things a bit easier.

Do you have a specialist perinatal mental health team close to you? If so they will take referrals in pregnancy regardless of whether you have any symptoms on the basis that you have suffered before. That way you are in the system and getting the help you need from an early stage.

With regards to how I helped myself I found this forum amazing and even made a lifelong friend from it. Peer support was great for me as it was so helpful to just be able to offload to someone who understood. Also like you said getting out to classes and keepIng busy, not putting too much pressure on myself to be supermum and to trying to do things for me xxx

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Thank you for your reply. My psychiatrist said they would refer me to the specialist perinatal mental health team this time round. I finding things difficult at the moment as all my usual groups have stopped I really miss my usual routine. I feel guilty taking time out for me but it's definitely something I need to do. X

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People have to me mum guilt is forever and will always follow you around and it's true! Today for example I was off work, hubby was in and I really wanted to send my little boy to nursery so I could get on with some jobs and have some me time. I've beaten myself up all week about whether it's awful of me to send him but I did as I've paid for it anyway and I needed a bit of me time after the stress of Christmas. I still find it hard now to give myself time for me but I'm getting better at it and with that I'm getting better at knowing when I need it. At the end of the day the best thing for your little girl is to have a happy relaxed mummy and that means having time for you. Plus you will be teaching her the art of self care which will be great as she gets older!!

Try to schedule yourself in at least one thing to do each day. Do you work at all? It's hard being at home with them. I try to keep busy and do at least one thing to keep busy. I also find scheduling things for late morning or early afternoon breaks the day up better for me. When I was unwell if I went out first thing I would get really down having the rest of the day at home.

What is it in particular yOu are finding difficult? Your mind wondering or just feeling low?xx

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I've been quite irritable (I think I maybe pre-menstrual) , I feel so guilty, my daughter follows me round all day and I feel like she wants my attention constantly, usually she is in Nursery twice a week as I have been working up until recently. My partner is off work too over the Christmas period. Yes I usually go out in the afternoons when our groups are running. Did the specialist perinatal mental health team offer you counselling?

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Funny enough I've noticed that PMT for me has been a lot worse since suffering with the pnd. Now I tend to write off my mood in that time period and accept that I'm going to struggle more than the rest of her month.

I had sessions with a psychologist which taught me to deal with the immediate emotions and did a lot of CBT with her. I did however find that the psychologists didn't dig as much as I would like and I did go to see a counsellor privately which has really helped. What NHS trust are you with? It's really unfortunate that it's a real postcode lottery with services for perinatal care. I don't think my trust use counsellors for perinatal just the psychologists and then you can go through the standard IAPT counselling if you don't qualify for the perinatal care.

If you really feel like it's the right time then go for it and put all of the support in place around you from the start to help minimise the risk. My psychologist said to get my gp to refer me into the service as soon as I find out I'm pregnant next time and then I will get Referred straight in so they can do anxiety management in pregnancy to help things escalating.

Self help wise I have read a couple of books recommended by the GP and I read a lot online on how to help myself and keep my mood up.

I know what a tough battle it is but you are being really sensible going into it which will help a lot xx

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Thank you Leanne. It really helps talking and getting advice from mothers that have been through pni. I wish I had found this before. Do you mind me asking which books they are? I'm currently reading overcoming anxiety which is written by a psychologist. It's very good xx

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Definitely. Peer support was my saviour! I'm now setting up a peer support service in my local area as I don't think I would have got through it without it. There's nothing like having people to talk to who totally get how you are feeling. You are strong to have got through it once and if you did get it you would get through it again. However try not to worry too much as it's not a given and you will be more aware of it this time. If you do then suffer you will be in a better place to help yourself from the skills you have in your toolbox along with anti depressants if necessary. It may be they decide to consider it antenatallu or just watch and see how you go. The first set of anti depressants I went on didn't work half as well as the second set they tried. When I was really struggling they tried an anti psychotic too but I didn't get on with it. The books I found helpful were cognitive behaviouraltherapy for dummies and the mindfulness handbook. I also followed an amazing woman on Facebook called the butterfly mother. If you go onto her page you can go into her blog post history and her blogs are amazing and so helpful!!!xxx

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You will be a fantastic ambassador and I wish you all the best with the support group, I hope to someday help others too. I will check out butterfly mother and take on your words of advice. xx

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Definitely do and go back and read her previous blog posts on the website. They're really helpful. The CBT for dummies book was recommended to me by ththe GP. I would definitelygo and see your gp and see if you can be referred into the perinatalservice when trying for a baby. Good luck! Let me know how you get on!xx

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Yes I'm very surprised I wasn't referred to the perinatal service before so hoping this time I will be. Happy New Year! x

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I'm sure you will be. Maybe go and see your GP to discuss it beforehand so you know the situation. I feel extremely anxious about my next pregnancy when I really think about it but having a plan in place with the perinatalteam for when I do fall pregnantmade me feel a lot better about things. It will at least put your mind at rest and will mean you know what to expect. Happy New Year to you too xx

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How are you gettingon Amac82?x

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Hi Leanne, Sorry for the delay in replying, I don't log in everyday. I haven't been well, nor my daughter or my mum (chest infections-there's so much going on at the moment), so that's been tough but I am happier now I am back in my usual routine, playgroups are back on. I am still awaiting my CBT Appointment. How's things with you? xx

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Yeah good thank you! Have you been to the gp to see if there is a perinatalmental health team who can see you to put your mind at rest for when you do decide to try for another baby?x

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I know my psychiatrist mentioned it last time I seen her, but I think there reluctant to refer me until I get pregnant. We have actually started trying now. Do you mind me asking did returning to work help with your PND? Or was it an added pressure? x

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I found it helpful for me. It gave me a bit of normality post baby to go back to what I knew and a bit of perspective not being so stuck in the whole motherhood, depressed blur. The psychologist had said to me a lot of people find it helpful. Initially they wanted me to look at a phased return as they were concerned that the stress of the job may be too much for me but I went for it and found it did me good. Are you working at the moment?xx

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I'm pleased it helped you. I think I have lost part of my identity at times. I was working up until recently but found the job was adding to my stress levels however I have applied for another job closer to home and my friend works there. Xx

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Hi Amac82

It's great you're adapting your job to your needs - good luck with the job you've applied for.

Going back to work helped me hugely. I think the distraction from how I was feeling plus having something else to focus on really brought along my recovery.

Good luck with the baby making. I think you mentioned that your previous Pni was brought on by various life events - things are hopefully different now and I imagine you know yourself better and can recognise any symptoms should they return. Of course it's scary but do talk talk and more talk with us, friends and family. Reassurance and support can go a long way x

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Thank you Rocky. I'm glad that you shared how going back to work helped you- do you work full time? I try to be very proactive in my depression but I lack being emotionally resistant. I remind myself that my circumstances have changed a lot since having my daughter 3 years ago, I have since moved house and feel happy in my new home and my mum has also reduced her hours so I can see a bit more of her. Xx

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Those are all positive things to help how you feel. I work three days a week and have done more or less always since having kids. What about you? X

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Give it a go. It may really help you! Just go for something low stress and maybe part time if possible so it's not too much too soon. Maybe your last job was just too much for you. My psychologist was concerned about me going back to mine because of how stressful it was which was why she suggested staged return. Her theory is that going back to work helps as long as it won't put too large a pressure on you. Maybe try and find something you really enjoy which isn't too stressful x

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Yes my last job was as a solitary position (I don't think that helped either as well as the stress) but I was so desperate to go back to work thinking it would be the cure of my pnd. I do agree though if I can find something low stress and something that I enjoy it will be good for me. It really does help being on here and listening to your experiences so thank you. Xxx

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It's always worth taking to your employer - perhaps they can adapt your role even if it's temporarily and offer support.

When I went back to work my old school boss was surprisingly sympathetic and even admitted he'd had depression . I said I just couldn't predict how is cope so is have to see and he was agreeable with that. As it was it was fine x

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Yes I suppose it's building a rapport with management so you feel able to confide in them. I still worry whether I'll be judged. X

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What would help you at this time work wise? How could the role be adapted?

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It's always good to have the advice. We have all been there at one stage or another. Do you know what sort of thing you would like to do? What do you enjoy? I didn't tell my boss as he was very old school and so didn't see the point but when I did actually tell him later he said he wished I had told him. Always best to lay your cards on the table I guess!x

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I enjoy helping people. I used to work front of house and like building a rapport with my clients. My customers were always complimentary. I think they could also sympathise that I was under a lot of pressure. I think I'm probably better working in a team environment. Xx

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In a team you might have others to support you so feel less alone especially when the pressure starts to build.

Maybe taking on a more admin role if that's possible ? You are doing so well in recovery terms that you may well feel completely different in a couple of months time x

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Yes definitely. I suppose it's learning from every experience, the positive and the negative. Thank you for the compliment, my psychiatrist said that I was too hard on myself but I feel there's so much pressure on mums xx

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You're so right - there's huge pressure to be perfect! In the media were constantly being bombarded with perfect images of parenthood and this we feel like failures if it's anything less.

You're doing a fantastic job x

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Thank you. You are a real credit to this site. X

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Thank you for your kind words - they mean a lot. I know what a horrendous experience Pni and it's a privilege to support ladies and their families going are going through something similar x

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Yes definitely. I too hope to help others with pni eventually xx

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If that's something you'd like to do send me a message whenever you're ready and I can give you details about supporting ladies and families online x

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I definitely think consider a few options and if you keep moving who cares if it gets you a feel for different things until you find what works for you as a family. I started back in April and have moved jobs twice since then but now I'm in a job that works for my family perfectly. What are your childcare plans whilst you work? Can you do some temping for a bit and try out some different things or do you need to have something fixed for nurseries etc xx

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Fortunately my partner is very supportive financially although not always emotionally. He has never put any pressure on me to return to work. I think work will give me some time though and keep my skills up to date. Yes I'd definitely try temping again as I did this previously before having my daughter although I think there's less need for part time work xx

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I always worried that about my job but have moved a few times and each time had no problem finding part time work. I think in today's society it's becoming a lot more usual! Maybe try lots of different types of job to see what you like and what stimulates you most.

I know they feeling. My husbands the same. I think men find it difficult to deal with emotional things like we do! Even now he struggles with what we have been through I think!x

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Yes, my partner is a very traditional man, I do everything in the home as well as looking after our daughter. Our relationship has really struggled in the past especially when my depression is bad but he works extremely hard and if it wasn't for him we wouldn't be living in our new home now xx

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Could you get help from family of friends?

It's common for men to find it difficult to provide emotional support. My partner at the time was quite horrible to me. He later admitted that he found me hard to handle. I had to get the emotional support from others but someone suggested I give him practical tasks instead and that did workx

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Yes I think that's what stresses me out about having another baby, how will I cope doing everything with two kids. I burn myself out, trying to please everyone else all the time. Fortunately my mum is great and I have some close friends that I know I can count on. Sorry to hear you went through a tough time, did you have counselling? X

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Definitely agree with giving him practical tasks. My hubby isn't great at using his initiative to help with housework but if I give him a specifif task he will do that. Maybe give that a go? X

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Yes I'll definitely try xx

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You need to learn to look after yourself first ! I'm like you but certainly since Pni I'm more self centred which actually isn't a bad thing.

Re counselling I did have it but in many respects I was recovered. We discussed boosting my confidence as that was fairly low. I also had long standing relationship problems which had nothing to do with Pni.

Counselling can be good to tackle issues which have cropped up during this illness. Commonly low self esteem and confidence manifests itself along with negative thought patterns and anxiety. It can be good to offload too. Ha e you done it?

Two can be hard - but with planning and suppirt it'll be easier x

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Yes I have started researching local gyms with creche facilities in a bid to put myself first a bit more.

I had counselling when I was pregnant, she was an excellent therapist however she felt that when my daughter was born I needed to concentrate on being a Mum, but I missed having someone unbiased to talk to and felt that I had lost my identity once I became a Mother. I have tried to reconnect but they no longer offer the service. xx

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That's such a shame - a great therapist is worth their weight in gold! There's plenty out there though especially privately (although not cheap).

bacp.co.uk

You can find one with the link above. Also try your local children's centre or mind sometimes offer a free or reduced counselling service x

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Thank you. I'm still awaiting my cbt appointment so going to see how that goes xx

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How are you doing? X

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Hello, I'm okay thanks, how are you? No sign of pregnancy yet, but we will carry on trying. Do you mind me asking how many children you have? Did you have postnatal depression each time? x

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Hi glad you're well.

Don't mind you asking at all! I have three children and had Pni after child no 2 only. I think I had had 2 miscarriages in between children 1 and 2, plus I started to get obsessed with my eldests son health and I ran myself into the ground trying to be perfect . Particularly the latter led to Pni x

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Sorry to hear of your miscarriages. Yes I feel pressure to be good at everything and have a tenancy to compare myself to other mums. I am trying to figure out what I will do differently next time to try and prevent the pni x

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It can be hard when a child arrives if you're used to controlling situations and putting yourself under pressure to succeed whatever that means.

I'm extremely disorganised by nature yet when my second child was born I put huge pressure to be perfect mum/provider/housewife and instead of resting I would be forever cleaning and just chasing my tail. I had 4 yr gap and felt I should be able to do everything because of this. I felt I had to compete with a group of perfect friends too - the irony is that 13 yrs later we were talking about all of this and they too used to put on fronts of perfection. One friend had 3 kids under 5 and a husband wilth depression , another's seemingly perfect marriage was crumbling for various reasons , another's partner was an emotional bully. So you see there is no perfect! X

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Did you have any support from family members? What made you stop chasing your tail/cleaning etc or did you just carry on until your children were at school?

I have a bit of a routine now. I do my weekly clean every Saturday and do little bits everyday such as washing. The list does seem never-ending though and it's easy to become obsessed with cleaning. Xx

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Hi

When I was v ill my mum later my partners mum spent about 2 months with us as I couldn't do anything. Fortunately once the meds kicked I picked up quickly and was simply exhilarated with getting my life back.

I think part of my Pni was lack of coping - everything was overwhelming . My son was weaning and I couldn't even boil a carrot.

Once I felt better I could keep up on top of things more plus didn't stress so much. When I had my third child I made getting sleep a priority. I made a great set of friends and we'd all tell it how it was with lots of moaning!

Sounds like you've got a great routine going - if that's what you need why not? X

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It's good you had support from your mum and mother in law.

I can get very overwhelmed with things but figured I need structure/routine and I think that's why I want to work. I appreciate you sharing your experience with me, it helps me not feel so alone. X

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So pleased I can help you. I've never felt so alone as I did with Pni. It was only when I started to talk to other women online that I realised what I felt was common - before that I thought it was just me!

Going back to work helped me hugely. Just as you said the structure, routine and distraction boosted me and my recovery .

Are you at work currently ? X

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I feel stupid at times as my daughter is now 3 years old and I think why am I depressed still? What's wrong with me?! (Sorry had a couple of bad days)

I'm not working at the moment, I am looking though and have registered with some agencies x

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Don't apologise for having these thoughts which can hit you especially if you're having a rough time.

In my case and my experience of supporting ladies Pni can last a while. I was ill for over 2 yrs and I had Pni moderately and took meds. I know many many ladies who have had it longer than that. Saying that I know looking at such a timeframe can be upsetting and daunting but you almost ha e to forget about that and just take each day at a time. As long as things are improving overall that's positive. This is an illness and nothing to do with you as a person . You are really doing so well x

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Thank you, I suppose it's knowing I'm not alone. I think as women we are our own worst critics too. I've come off my antidepressants as we are trying for another baby (I would rather not take medication during pregnancy) so I suppose its adjusting to that and being kinder to myself. x

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You're so right - we women are out worst critics and would never think worse of anyone yet judge ourselves so harshly.

Coming off meds can bring on lows too so do look after yourself . Treat yourself to something nice - haircut, massage anything you enjoy. It's an investment into your wellbeing x

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How are you doing Amac82? X

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Hey, so sorry for delay, I'm ok thanks. Still awaiting my CBT appointment, seems to be taking a while.

Hope you are well?

I'm looking forward to Easter, I have some lovely crafts and an Easter egg hunt for my darling daughter, there's something I really love about Easter. X

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Sorry I went slightly awol AMAC how are you doing? With regards to organisation and housework when I was ill someone taught me to use a bullet journal. I never looked back - I use it for organising my life but you can also use trackers for things such as 'me' time, exercise and mood trackers can be especially helpful. I used this link to learn how to do it google.co.uk/amp/s/www.buzz...

I still use this now for managing all my various commitments and tasks so I don't feel overwhelmed so easily. I also heard someone say the other day that they manage housework by having a half hour blitz and set a timer so they stay focused and that's all they do so they don't find themselves constantly having something to do - there's always housework and otherwise it can feel overwhelming! I've tried it last couple of weeks and found it really helpful! X

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Hey Leanne.

ooh that sounds good thank you, I love making lists. My sister in law mentioned the timer strategy too so will give that a go. I'm also trying to limit clutter as I find I can clean a lot faster then.

How are you X

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Leanne is the queen of lists and so efficient! I'm the opposite but she's got me bullet journaling and it does help.

The Easter stuff sounds great - you're very organised. Yes I like Easter - it's the start of spring although you'd never guess it atm weather wise! Lots of hope and sunshine to look forward to x

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Ah thank you, I always like to have nice things planned it gives me something to focus on other than my negative thoughts.

I also try to list my positives from the day as its so easy to focus on the things that have gone wrong that day. I have a tendency to blow things up in my head or ruminate on things. Talking of positives you and Leanne - you are both great at helping the mums, I only wish I'd found this sooner but better late than never! xx

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Thank you! You're so lovely! I also wish I had found something like this earlier when I was struggling. I don't think women realise the support that is out there and it's not always easy to find or to have the effort to look for when you feel so low in yourself.

I have been reading up on Kon Marie and the art of decluttering and I've found it amazingly useful! Have a look! It's the idea of only keeping items that bring us joy and not just because you feel you should keep it, because someone bought it you or because you might use it one day or might fit in it one day! The idea is if you are not using it now get rid. You may want it again one day but then if you do buy it again - the expense is worth it to rid yourself of the clutter apparently! It also advises to declutter in categories rather than by room so all clothes, all books etc. I did it on clothes and had about three bin liners!X

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Haha, I have the Kon Mari book, I really enjoyed reading it, I think I may have to re-read it to give me that boost again!! Fortunately we have a garage and I have kept a lot of Ava's toys so the next baby can enjoy them.

Do you mind me asking what your age is? I had my daughter at 32, and it has taken me a while to decide on another baby due to the post natal depression. x

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Hi

I was 26, 31 and 35 when I had my three and had Pni after my second only. Strangely enough I felt very broody even though I was very ill after my second child. I think I was a bit obsessed with doing it all again and perfectly. However, I was over that when I had my third child and was very careful to look after myself x

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Did you get good support from your parents and in laws with all three of your children? Were they hands on? My mum made a comment earlier which made me think maybe I am too dependent on her xx

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No not really as they live over 2 hrs away. Saying that when I was v ill with Pni my mum spent about 2 months with me as I couldn't anything and my now ex partners mum came over for 2 weeks - she lives in Ireland. Fortunately after 2-3 weeks on antids I started to pick up quickly and regained my independence.

What did your mum say to you? Don't worry - it's great she can help you out when you need her X

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Thank you. I just feel really guilty at times asking for help but then I also see how much help other people get from their parents.

Sometimes I question my decision to have another baby, my mum says she will help out more this time but do I depend on that xx

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My sister got loads of help as parents live nearby and it makes a huge difference. I'm sure she's happy to help. You'd manage if you had to but the whole journey will be smoother with support X

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Yes, like you said I want to get my second right, even though I suffered postnatal depression I threw myself into so many different baby groups and I will look back on those times with great fondness. I just want to let go of the resentment. Xx

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That's really positive that you managed to get out and about mixing with people. Clearly you really enjoyed it and I'm sure the distraction and interaction with other mums lifted you.

What do you resent exactly? That's such a normal and understandable reaction. Pni is such s cruel illness - it robs you of so much . However as hard as it may be to understand now positives do come out of it. I know myself more than I did before, I used to hide my true feelings - I no longer do this, I ha e so much more empathy understanding and compassion and for me the most important , I've met the most amazing women from all over the world like you. Leanne and I have become the best and closest of friends . Also from pni.org.uk (take a look)!

In time that resentment will fade as will the bad memories of this. You're doing so well x

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That's lovely. I have gained a lifelong friend from a playgroup, she's a mum to four boys. Yes I hope one day to use my experience to help other mums too, when the timing is right. I think I feel angry as I felt let down by so many people, I believe actions speak louder than words. But I need to understand noone is perfect especially not me. I have so much love for the lady at playgroup as she was there when others were not. Xx

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The reality is some people, even close ones, don't know how to handle mental illness , so withdraw st a time when you need them the most. May others didn't know what your needs were? Yes everyone is different. But having had this experience you can be more supportive for struggling friends in the future x

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I was 29 when my son was born. I'm 32 this year and despite thinking about it more now than I have done have no immediate plans to have my second. I'm guessing I'll be around mid 30's by the time I get round to it.

Don't feel bad about accepting help from your mum. My mum lives across the road from me (literally) and as much as she drives me insane at times I am grateful she is so close. Our house is currently on the market and I'll notice it with my next one that she's not quite as close to help out. It's what parents do though and she probably loves spending all of that time with her grandchildren.

Next time I will certainly ask for help more than I did and will accept support when offered. With my son I felt like I had to be some sort of perfect mum and manage everything myself. I worried if people helped they would think I couldn't do it and judge me. I know that's not true now though - don't forget hundreds of years ago the whole village would raise a family and now they expect us mums to raise children, do all the housework, take them to all these various groups to give them stimulation, messy play, wean them by blending a multitude of vegetables, and also in most cases hold down a job - then if we can't do it all we feel like we're failing. I make a real effort to change my mindset on that now and not worry about whether I'm doing enough - I'm doing my best and that's more than enough! When my son was about 3 months old and I was really ill I used to be desperate for another baby, probably like you to feel like I could do it properly. There's no such thing though so now I just want to enjoy it and if that means half the street helping me I don't mind. Xx

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It's lovely to hear you and your mum have a good relationship. Good luck with the house move. We only moved house about a year ago but I love where we live now.

My daughter was a good baby but I found it extremely difficult when she went through separation anxiety she wanted to be held constantly and I couldn't get anything done. It was at that time my depression hit its lowest point and I did ask for help but some of it was poorly received. I remember talking to the health visitor she was so patronising and basically told me to just get on with it xx

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Had she been more supportive I'd would have made a huge difference. Hopefully now you have more confidence in yourself. My eldest was quite demanding and remember looking a my sister hoovering with envy as like you I could barely go to the loo without him crying!

How are you? X

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Hi! Yes I agree. Maybe on hindsight I should of brought a sling to put her in but I don't know whether that would of reinforced the clingy behaviour. I find myself envying other mums that have had so much support, one of my relatives has had so much help to the other extent. I am weary of coming across as bitter, I don't want to. xx

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I always used to find it hard when my son was crying or whinging. A lot of funding has been put into perinatal mental health this past year or so and training people up. Funny enough I've had an email today from one of our lead health visitors about improving their training for the hv's so I'd hope you will have a much different experience this time around!xx

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Yes hopefully, that's really good. Where I live all the Children's Centre have gone which doesn't help. Fortunately the churches support Mums well by running playgroups. xx

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We are in the same situation here now in that the council have just decided they are going from next year! Did worry me slightly but I'm hoping Health visiting services won't change too much and they had cut so much from them around here they weren't running any baby groups from them anyway, just the weigh ins and things.

I made a point of joining classes with my son to get me out and about but I just paid for them privately. It's a good way to make friends. I did a baby massage class when my son was about 2 months old and although I found it so so hard at that time to make myself go I'm sure looking back now it must have helped stop me totally sinking. X

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Hi Leanne, sorry for the delay, I hope all is well with you.

Yes I really enjoyed taking my daughter to baby groups as well, my favourite was baby sensory.

I've had some good news, I have been offered a part time job which I've accepted and I've also got my first CBT appointment this week too x

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That's great news! Things are really coming together for you! Let me know how you get on with the CBT! When do you start the job? X

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Thank you. I want to make the most of my CBT sessions.

I start my job in May. Its casual work but suits me perfectly. Hope all is well with you. x

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That all sounds perfect! Casual work is probably less pressure too which will help you ease into work gently! I'm fairly confident it will help you hugely though! When does the CBT start? I got a book the GP recommended called CBT for dummies which I found helped explain the basics to me (nothing could quite beat actually physically doing it with the psychologist for me though). Maybe start keeping a note of your main thoughts which circle so you can go to CBT armed with thoughts to work on!

I'm good thanks, not much happening here, just ticking along! X

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Glad to hear you are well. Yes it's finally clicked for me what I want to finally do - job wise, giving myself something to work towards. A goal so to speak.

I had my first CBT session this week, she was very good and summarised well. She's given me some homework. I know most of my issues are from my past though.

It's sunny here and I really hope spring is finally here x

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Hi Amac82 - how life? Really hope work gives you that boost and distraction. It did for me!

What's sensory play? Is it with lights?

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Hi Rocky, baby sensory, they used to do baby signing, bubbles, and different textures like pasta play, and different topics so every week was different, me and my daughter loved it and I would go again. I believe the different groups has contributed to my daughters confidence and development. My daughter is different to me in a good way! xx

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Fantastic ! What a wonderful experience for both of you.

It sounds like the cbt was very positive for you. How will it work? X

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Yes it really was.

My CBT will be on a weekly basis. So I'll complete worksheets as homework then we will discuss what I've written.

Have you heard of the website actionforhappiness? x

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No I haven't heard of that. What's it about?

Will you cover a particular theme or thought each week?

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Action for happiness is really good especially when I have my down days, there's 10 keys to happier living, one of them is do things for others which you and Leanne do wonderfully. Also there are cafes all around the UK, that deliver the happiness course.

In regards to CBT I think the theme will be determined by me and my goals, what I want to achieve from going. x

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Will have a look at that site - I do think learning to think positively - which doesn't come to me easily - helps in general . So thank you!

Do let us know re cbt and how you find it x

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Yes me too, I can easily ruminate especially if I have time on my hands. I think that's why I try to go out so much with my daughter xx

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It really sounds like things are looking up for you! Especially if you have figured out what you want to do career wise!! My son and I loved baby sensory and when he got too old for that we found a baby signing class which we started and still do now! It helped my confidence loads but also meant that no matter how rubbish I was feeling, we always had some nice quality time together which helped and also on my low days helped me remember that we were having some lovely times together!

I always had homework too after mine. Try and really engage in the homework as it really helps the sessions be successful. Give it a go and if you struggle outside of the sessions leave gaps on the parts you are struggling to think about and mark those out so they can help you go through them the next time! X

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Yes thank you. I am very grateful for the support of CBT now. I think it will help having a therapist where I can relay the information back to rather than internalise it.

Baby signing sounds good, there are some great groups now. x

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How are you Amac82? How's the cbt going? How are you feeling? X

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Hi Rocky, it's lovely to hear from you. I'm ok thanks, hows things with you?

In regards to CBT, the therapist has picked up that I can be inflexible in my routine and I have a tendency to avoid things if they cause me anxiety, I felt a bit deflated as I want to have some positive coping strategies instead of just focusing on what I'm doing wrong. x

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Glad all is well. I'm good thx just very busy.

Try not to feel downhearted about avoiding anxiety - most people do this and none more so than me! You have control in the sessions so tell the therapist you want to learn coping strategies - there are lots out there! Maybe occasionally and in a controlled way try to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone? It doesn't have to be big nor stress inducing. And you're not doing anything wrong at all. It's human nature to protect yourself and prevent yourself from hurtingx

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Yes, good idea thank you. Yes like going into my local shopping centre with my daughter when she would have a tantrum was not enjoyable for either of us, so I said to my therapist, I would ask someone to go with me or I would just go by myself instead at the weekend. x

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Sounds like the perfect solution! I think it's finding a balance between getting really stressed and thus making yourself feel worse and just pushing those boundaries which will give you confidence and actually build resilience. You're doing s fantastic job! X

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Thank you so much, I appreciate you seeing my point, I'm not sure whether my therapist understood. I feel she may have the wrong idea of me but I suppose the sessions are quite short.

I hope you have had a great weekend, the weather has been lovely here xx

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Everyone is different and you're finding your feet atm learning what's happened and why whilst introducing coping techniques into your life! It's a lot to take on and Rime was t built in a day!

Yes loving the weather in the UK - I'm sorry I e forgotten are you uk based ?

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I'm from the Midlands. Where abouts are you? The sunshine always cheers me up and went for a walk with my lovely friend today xx

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I live in Surrey now but originally from Nottm!

How are you? X

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Oh Surrey is lovely. I have family that live in Farnham.

I've been really emotional today-pmt I think. My therapy went better and she wants me to have more of a balance in my routine. I'm in work next week so that's going to be a change in my routine but I also need to give myself a break if I don't get everything done. My partner works long hours so that can be hard at times. Do you have a structure to your day?

I tend to do my jobs in the morning and go out with my daughter in the afternoon xx

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You sound very organised and I'm sure that'll help the transition to work easier. Leanne is uber organised too - I'm the opposite although since having kids I'm better. But structure and efficiency does make life easier .

Yes definately give yourself a break - do what you can but factor in some chill out time!

I'm sure working will give you time to focus on other things and that'll boost you. It did me!

So pleased the counselling was positive - it does make a difference !

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Yes I can be although I can give myself a hard time if I don't get things done or meet the standards I set myself!

I think I put too much pressure on myself at times.

I really want to go back to the gym now, I think I need to focus on things over than the house and my daughter. I tend to start but don't stick with it as I end up prioritising other stuff xx

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Definately give gym a go. Perhaps try some classes. For me that works well as once I'm in there I can't leave! X

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Whereabouts in the Midlands are you from? Only if you want to tell me obviously no pressure! I'm Midlands based and now I have become involved with setting up peer support and things here I have a lot of Midlands based contacts with regards to perinatal. If you want I could see if there's anyone local who can provide you with any suppor particularly for pre-conception for your next baby! X

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That would be great, thank you!

I struggled to find support groups near to me. I will send you a private message regarding location.

I hope all is well with you xx

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Fab just got your message and I do know they are in the middle of setting up a lot near you. A hv from by you contacted me to advise on their model and is looking at setting up all sorts of support and I can message her for you separately and see what they offer x

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Thanks Leanne, I would really appreciate that x

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How are you doing Amac82? Hoe you're feeling well and enjoying the weather !

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Hi there, I'm doing well thank you. I have been enjoying work, it has only been a couple of hours a day but that suits me fine as I can still get bits done round the house.

Yes this weather is lovely, we went for a lovely meal and took our daughter swimming. How about you xx

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Sounds great! Yes I've been enjoying it too. The sun does lift me!

I'm really pleased work has had such a positive impact . I'm sure it'll help you recover further ! X

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Thank you. It's nice to have a bit of my own money too and I can actually buy my other half his birthday present that's from my own money. X

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Nothing like a bit of financial independence ! What are you going to buy him?

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An experience day I think, looking at the zombie ones, haha! He likes walking dead. Xx

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Sounds like the perfect gift!

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Hi rocky. How are you? Have you got anything nice planned for weekend xx

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Hi amac82

How are you doing? How did your hubbys bday go?

I'm away in New Forest with my bf and it's been heaven ! So relaxing! X

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That sounds lovely, it's nice to have quality time together.

Oh it's not until August, just trying to pre-plan, I'm a forward planner.

I went to the doctors to tell him about trying to conceive, I feel he has put a real dampner on it for me, he's concerned about me and my partners relationship and whether my other half really wants another child, or is just doing it to make me happy. xx

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Hi

What do you feel about your partners motivation in having another child? What's your relationship like if you don't mind me asking (you don't have to reply if it's too personal!)

It's great your GP takes such an interest and I'm sure is just trying to be objective but tbh he's there to support you during any pregnancy.

I was in s very difficult relationship with the father of my children. He has issues , has drink issues and put relationship was never fulfilling - he never supported me emotionally and we were like to separate entities and the glue were the kids as there was nothing there otherwise.

I fell pregnant accidentally with my first but went on to have 2 more kids who were very much planned. I don't regret my kids. I remember telling the counsellor after child no 2 and Pni I really had a strong urge to have 3 children but knew my relationship was really rubbish and morally I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. She basically said if it's what I want but to try and put systems in place to get the emotional support I needed as I wouldn't get that from him.

Sorry I've waffled' an you talk to your partner about this? X

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Hiya, I've sent you a private message. Hope you are well x

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How's life Amac82?

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Hey, I'm ok thanks, I go away to Cornwall this weekend to see family so looking forward to having a break and quality time together. Sometimes I find things difficult as I no longer take my antidepressants as we are TTC. Hows things with you? xx

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Hi

Hope you have a brilliant time. The weather will be perfect for you! Coming off meds can make you wobble but remember non Pni/non meds folk have crappy patches too . Good luck with the baby making!

All good with me - quite tired but hoping this weekend will be calmer X

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How was the weekend away? How are you finding it coming off the meds? X

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It has had its challenges, my daughter seen me crying the other day then I felt really guilty as I've always tried to hide my depression. Cornwall has been lovely the weather has been glorious. X

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Honestly don't want worry about her seeing you crying! My little boy has seen me crying so many times and he is still a happy crazy 2 year old. They are much more resilient than we think and they won't remember anything from this age when they are older! I know it's still so easy to beat yourself up about it though! X

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Hi Amac82

How are you? So pleased Cornwall was so wonderful. I love it there!

Don’t feel guilty about your daughter seeing you crying! Crying is normal and it’s not unhealthy for kids to see that. They can learn it shpuldntbe hidden and also how to show sympathy and empathy!

How is your moodX

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Hi ya, Sorry for delay, hope you've been enjoying this weather.

Yes thats probably a better way of looking at it. I can be very hard on myself at times. My mood can be very up and down. Its my last CBT Session this week, so I am going to try and summarise everything I have learnt. I can hold onto worries instead of letting it go. xx

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How did the last CBT session go? It's easy to be hard on ourselves. Do you feel the CBT has helped? Xx

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Yes it has definitely helped but things easily become a habit. My therapist pointed out that I can rely on myself as I took myself to playgroups and took medication. Also she said I can put a mental filter on things, so to try and change my perspective I suppose. Also to reduce the demands that I put on myself, it's okay if I don't get everything done. I've had to experiment with that one and see what other people do for example, cooking, cleaning and tidying. Compared to my family, I prioritise cleaning over tidying, but tidying my house probably has a more positive impact on me. I sometimes strive or want perfection but that doesn't exist. xx

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Hi great to hear from you! Weather is a bit too hot tbh!

I was just thinking perhaps keep mood diary - it doesn’t have to be detailed just to see whether there can be a trigger for lows.

Good luck with cbt - it’d be great to hear a summary and your thoughts on it x

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It's been raining here today, its nice to have some fresh air as it was becoming very humid. Yes definitely, I do notice my mood drop dramatically prior to time of the month. It's just knowing how I can manage it without meds. xx

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I bullet journal and a lot of people do mood trackers with that. Someone initially suggested it for me for that reason and I found it really helpful. Now I use it for more practical reasons and to help me feel more organised and more in control. It's becoming quite a thing and I know a few people who do it now. Lots of Facebook pages for inspiration too including a Facebook group for people who specifically use it for mental health purposes.

Like you tidying is massively beneficial for my mood. As long as it's tidy I try not to worry about cleaning it if I don't have the time or energy to do so as tidying has a bigger impact. I saw an interesting post on a local Facebook page where mums were saying they give themselves a half an hour blitz everyday where they set a timer and clean for that half an hour and I've just started doing that as it felt more manageable. I always get more done when I'm under a time pressure too! X

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Hi Amac

Pmt sucks! I never suffered from it prior to pni. I take vitamin B and I’ve been told evening primrose can help - maybe get advice as not sure if it’s suitable if you’re trying to conceive though . Also exercise can lift you hugely / maybe try to get a bit in at that time of the month x

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Yes I do love the gym, sometimes it's just getting the motivation to go but once I've been I love it. Do you mind me asking-when you suffered post natal depression did you have feeling of resentment?

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Yes it can be hard finding the enthusiasm to go to gym - perhaps find a friend or if you can get a personal trainer for motivation .

Yes re resentment at my partner. But it was more to do with him being horrible to me. However that can be quite a typical feeling - perhaps not unjustified either? Why do you feel resentful? X

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Yes I feel resentment a lot, its quite destructive I suppose, I think thats what keeps the depression going partly. I don't know whether I've previously mentioned but I felt like my mum choose her work and boyfriend over me and my daughter, even though I felt suicidal at times. I don't mean to sound selfish or needy.

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You don’t feel needy or selfish at all. You were in a pretty bad place and needed help and I guess it’s normal to seek that from those closest to you. If they don’t give you that, well the resentment is normal whether it’s justified or not. Also if you’re in a dark place those feelings appear far too easily.

I had a crappy couple of months last year . I’d had a friend who I used to see a lot but since she learned how to drive I didn’t hear from her at all. Anyway I told her how I felt and I think she was stunned. It’s only months on now that I can see my feelings weren’t completely rational .

What happened with your mum? You don’t ha e to say if you’d rather not! But feel free to talk if that helps x

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Thank you, I appreciate that.

My mum says she feels bad and guilty she wasn't there. The trouble is there was someone in the family influencing her and now they have gone and done the complete opposite, she basically moved in with her daughter and became a live in nanny (I wouldn't expect that). My cousin is pregnant again, and someone else in the family is too so it's bringing back lots of emotions, they both have a lot more support than what I do or did.

I just wanted it to be a happy time. I suppose every parent is different too, I've made a lot of sacrifices for my daughter but I don't care as she is the best thing that ever happened to me, sorry for the rant xx

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It’s not ranting , just offloading and that’s healthy. Clearly it’s not a case of your your mum simply being selfish and uncaring - other factors were at play. And it’s a testament to your own strength that you’ve managed so brilliantly. In time you’ll let you of that.

When I had my youngest (I’ve got three kids) I struggled with tiredness as my little one slept dreadfully day and night . I used to nearly cry and she never visited me (she lives 120m away). Eventually I had a go at her and she said she couldnt leave my dad on his own . Yes it hurt as my sister who lived near to her had 24/7 help but it did fade x

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Thank you, it was my daughter that kept me going, she was actually a good baby. Thats where I'm so thankful for the groups and the group leaders as without them I would of felt even lonelier. That must of been really tough on you, did you consider moving closer to your family xx

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Its so good to hear you found a positive support network - sounds like it made a huge difference.

No I did t think of moving - in quitexsettled where I live with friends , my partner at the time and I had jobs there, kids were in school etc. It was a tough time but I did t have PNI so much much easier to cope with . This illness is so debilitating x

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If you don't mind me asking...Hows your mental health now? Do you still suffer depression and anxiety or was it just the post natal depression?

I tend to find social media can have a very negative impact on my mental health, I definitely seek validation from others e.g. - that I am liked etc. x

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Not at all! I got PNI about 14 years ago. I had weird physical symptoms and debilitating anxiety. After 4-5 months I took antids and they helped hugely but the anxiety turned into depression . After I recovered (felt myself more or less ) the low self esteem and confidence did linger a while. I think the whole experience gave me insight into myself and fortunately I’ve been ok mentally and had a third child PNI free.

Maybe avoid fb etc - I know people who paint the perfect picture on there but in reality their lives are crumbling so it really can be more or less rubbish but if it triggers feeling s if inadequacy avoid it and maybe focus on improving g your own self esteem - write down your strengths and achievements maybe in diary format? X

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Thanks for sharing, so you have teenagers? Hows that going?

I tell myself to come off Facebook altogether I know it would probably make me happier if I did but it's fear of missing out and being excluded from things even more. It was my birthday the other day and some of my friends didn't even bother with me, I don't have as much time on my hands anymore so I don't know whether its a case of them feeling like I'm not bothered, I suppose my priorities have changed now xx

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My eldest is 18 , middle 14 and youngest 9. Teenagers - my eldest was gobby but actually a really good kid. Typical boy just doesn’t think. His bike got stolen as he just left it outside work unlocked as he forgot keys to lock - still hasn’t called police. The 14 yr old is typical teen - scowls, never happyvwith anything !

Happy birthday for the other day! Did you have s nice day?

It is hard if you feel left out but fb can do that. Try to think of it as an additional thing to your life not the way of conducting friendships. I know that’s a bit old fashioned in this day and age but so much healthier. Do most of your friends not have kids?

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Thank you! Me and my partner went for an amazing meal and then to a casino so that was lovely to have some quality time just the two of us.

Yes that's a good way of looking at it. I have a mixture of friends but two closest friends, I've known my one friend for 31 years but she doesn't have any children yet and my other friend has 4 sons. I tend to speak to mums from the playgroups as well as I try to plan days out with the kids. Do you go out with your friends much? x

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Sounds like a brill night out. Really good to have quality night out.

Don’t go out that much at all - I met some amazing mums at my youngest s post natal group. We usually meet up with kids a couple of times per year and have the odd night out but now the los are older go to different schools it’s harder . One of my friends is off on Thursdays so when I’m not working we go out for coffee . What are the playgroup mums like?

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Hiya, sorry for delay, my idea of fun has changed now too, my idea of fun is a spa day or afternoon tea, I tend to meet up with my mate every Tuesday at local cafe. The mums at playgroup are nice, some are very glamorous but everyone is very welcoming and we all tend to get along well. Hows your weekend going x

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Spa days are amazing! Leanne and I went on one around Easter and it was heaven - just perfect and so relaxing!

It sounds like you have a good network of mums around you which is important .

My weekend is going Wel. Just retirning from a weeks hołs in Northumberland- beautiful scenery - if not a bit stressful! X

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It's lovely to get away isn't it, we are going on holiday in September, as my partner is self-employed he won't take time off unless it's for a holiday.

Do you mind me asking you what you do work wise?

It's lovely that you and Leanne have a special friendship xx

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Where are you off to? I’m sure it’ll be great just having a change of scenery .

I work in customer services part time - I’ve been there a long time and tbh probably something different would suit me better but it’s convenient . I do enjoy the human interaction .

It’s been brilliant meeting Leanne . It’s one of the many positives having PNI - I’ve met so many amazing ladies I wouldn’t ha e met otherwise x

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We are going to Cyprus, my daughter starts school late this year, so managed to get a better deal.

Yes it is truly amazing how the community can help each other and support one another.

Ah customer services, so you enjoy helping others and you do so on here too.

It's nice working part time too, having the work/life balance xx

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Cyprus sounds amazing - I’d love to go !

Thank you for your nice words - not sure I help many people at work but it’s really rewarding to help ladies with PNI. I found the site when I was ill and the support completely overwhelmed me. It was really the first time someone understood what I was going through .

What do you do work wise? Sorry I’ve forgotten !x

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I did work as a Receptionist, I loved working front of house. I now work as an exam invigilator, until I know whether I conceive a second, I'm delaying looking for more hours.

Yes I certainly wish I had found this site earlier, I had a very unsupportive health visitor too, which did not help.

Hope you've had a good weekend x

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You sound very much like a people person! How do you enjoy your current role? Can you choose your hours?

Health visitors - ahh- some are amazing others not do . Having a good one can make a huge difference for sure!

X

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Hi, yes definitely a people person, I enjoy being able to help people where I can too.

I enjoy my current role, I get on well with the lead invigilator too, its nice to have some adult company. The shifts are mainly morning but they are very flexible in terms of working hours.

Yes I think I struggled when the health visitor dismissed how I was feeling as the midwives were always very supportive. xx

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Hi how’s it going?

Just thinking about the health visitor, is there another one you could see in the future? Maybe it’s worth looking into for the next pregnancy ?

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Yes hopefully, luckily my support system has changed for the better now and I don't think I will be as anxious with the next one...well I hope so anyway. My best friend is hopefully moving back to our home town soon too.

Weekend is going well thanks, we're catching up with friends today and taking the kids out. The weather isn't great though.

How are you? Are you enjoying the bank holiday? x

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That’s great news re friend. How long have you known each other?

With baby no 2 I found you kind of know what you’re doing and tend to be more relaxed so that makes it much easier .

Where are you off to with kids? I collecting mine from my parents as they’ve been there for a few days and meeting up with my best friend - we’ve known each other since the age of 11!

Enjoy and hope the weather is t too bad x

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Ah that's nice, are you children close to their grandparents?

I've known my friend for 31 years now. Did you have a nice time meeting up with your friend?

Yes I went to so many groups with my daughter, I'm not sure I could afford to go to them all this time round, but I'm going to choose my favourite groups.xx

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Wow 31 yrs - that’s some time! I wish I lived nearer to my best buddy - we’ll there a few really close friends incl Leanne who live quite far away so it’d be so nice to see them more regularly. I’m sure it’ll help you a lot having yours nearby.

My friend and I have known each other for 34 yrs! She moved to my school when she was 10/11 yrs olds do we’ve been the closest of friends since 13.

Yes the eldest children seem to do everything groupwise - there’s no cash or energy for subsequent kids! But you’ll know what you prefer which is great x

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Haha, yes I'm running on empty some days now - I'm on my iron tablets.

At least with the second or third they learn from the first born anyway. xx

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My kids are close to my parents - saying that although I know they love my kids they’ve never been hands on or fun / I think if they’d made more effort to enjoy quality time my kids would remember that x

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What about the grandparents on your and your partner’s side - what are they like in their role ?

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It's nice that your children are close to their grandparents.

My mum is good, she'll take her to the park. My daughter enjoys spending time with her Nanny. xx

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That’s brilliant - it’s incredibly important having family to help and of course great your mum is building a strong bond with your daughter x

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Hi Amac82

Just checking in to see how you are doing? X

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Hi, sorry for delay, had a busy couple of days, back from holiday, catching up on all the washing. My daughter started School this week too.

I'm also now engaged so lots to look forward to and plan! How's things with you? x

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Firstly hugest congrats to you and your fiancé! What wonderful news! Was it a surprise? Have you got a rock? How were hols? How’s your daughter been at school? How are you feeling? So many questions...

All good here just very tired as I’ve been working long hours x

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I've sent you a message xx

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Hey! Sorry I've been on for a while! Had so much going on I had to step back for a while! How are you! Huge congratulations on the engagement!!! How did your daughter fine starting school? A lot of my friends children started this year too! It's been more stressful for them than the kids I think! Xx

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Glad works helping! It does make you feel a little more back to normal once you are working plus like you said having the money to buy things and just the freedom of work! Sometimes in my lunch break I go for a wander just because I can go out and clear my head just me! Sometimes I sit at my desk with a book but I always try and take a bit of time out! X

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Hello Amac82

Welcome! I'm so sorry you've struggled with this terrible illness. For me too it was awful with lots of ups and downs.

Glad your GP is good - what treatment have you had. Finding groups with supportive mums is wonderful.

Don't feel guilty about feeling scared. It's quite normal given the Pni. It's worth chatting about this with GP and getting a care plan in place. There are meds deemed suitable in pregnancy - I believe there is a slightly higher risk of issues with baby but it's still very low. Happy to send you a link. The bottom line is forewarned is forearmed and there is suppirt out there.

How far do you think you've come in terms of recovery ?

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Thank you.

In terms of treatment, its been mainly antidepressants, I did have a good Health Visitor too but she's on maternity leave. I'm awaiting a CBT Appointment, currently on the waiting list. I've suffered previously with depression and anxiety unfortunately, so it's something that I have to continue to manage. Even though I am petrified to have another baby, I feel it would be a good age gap as my daughter is now 3 years.

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Youre doing all the right things. Cbt has a really good success rate. I learnt a few techniques which helped me a lot.

Also having a good support network around you can help hugely x

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Yes, fortunately, my mum is great and the lady who runs the playgroup too. My circumstances have changed a lot since my daughter was born - for the better, but I fear that it will change again - if that makes sense. My depression was reactive. xx

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Having a strong network around you and leaning on them really helps.

Having had Pni once does make you higher risk of having it again but the risks can be minimised.

Can I ask what you mean by reactive depression?

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A series of stressful life events. My father was ill when I was growing up and died when I was 21. When my daughter was born it all came flooding back I felt so abandoned by my family but in reality they were just busy with the usual stuff like work etc. Thankfully I threw myself into groups and my daughter was a good baby. I will always be grateful for playgroups xx

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Hi

It's common for past traumas to resurface with Pni - it sounds like life was hard for you with your dad ill then dying. Really hope the cbt works - it's very good in combatting negative thought patterns.

I think the feelings of abandonment are also common. With Pni your needs change but often close family friends don't realise that or don't know what to do X

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