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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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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