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A Letter About Post Natal Depression And Learning to Smile Again

A few days ago, Celebrating Mums published a post telling of 5 mums and their different experiences of post-natal depression. We received this generous letter from Natalie who tells us of her response to her own experiences which involved setting up community support for others via The Smile Group. It is fabulous to see how one woman can act as a catalyst to change things for the better. Please follow on Twitter and/or leave a supportive comment for Natalie here.

Hi Kate,

I’m a PR director by day, but am also mum to an 11 month old little boy. I had severe postnatal depression after the birthday of Oscar in August. I was lucky enough to have great support from a switched on and sensitive GP and a good health visitor. I’ve since received treatment and had the benefit of CBT therapy to help me rationalise my thinking and overcome the incredible emotional upheaval.

As a result I’ve researched the issue a great deal, particularly due to anecdotal evidence and a lot of time spent on Mumsnet talking to other mums going through the horror that is PND. When I talked to my GP and asked about community support I heard there was none, which was a little alarming given that there are no less than three breastfeeding support groups in my area (v admirable but hey it’s not life threatening).

I’ve since worked with our local Surestart children’s centre and health visiting team to set up a self-help group for PND in Cheshire, which is every Friday morning. It’s a really relaxed environment and a great opportunity for mums to bring their babies, be themselves and chat with a cup of tea. A lot of other mums attending have said it’s been invaluable as a ‘sanctuary’ as there is little else out there aside from medical support to stop mums feeling so isolated and alienated….baby and toddler groups can be a nightmare and only make feelings worse as you feel you can’t relax and are constantly comparing yourself to other ‘perfect’ mums.

We’ve got a twitter feed @TheSMILEGroup – and are v keen to lobby for change so health services are more joined up and PND is on the ante-natal agenda and not brushed under the carpet.

Sorry for the diatribe – hope it’s of use.

I’m happy to be really open about my experience as I think it’s really important mums are honest – it’s the best way of making it less taboo and reaching out to other mums going through it.

Kind regards

Natalie

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About mumsarcade

Mother to three children Reviewer of products that make mums' lives easier or more fun

Discussion

4 thoughts on “A Letter About Post Natal Depression And Learning to Smile Again

  1. What a lovley letter and what a wonderful person you are! I went through PND 17 and 13 years ago, with no internet therefore no way to get the support I needed from real people in the same boat. I agree, being open about it does help break down the taboo and stigma surrounding it, but really hard to do when you feel rubbish as you know! I remember the shame and isolation.
    I remember a midwife sloping, slightly shame faced out of my front door at the point I was about to be turned over from midwife to health visitor, I’m sure she could see the tears I was fighting to hold back but pretended not to see them, things like that stick in your mind. Think I am already following you on Twitter!

    Posted by Sheila Herd | August 30, 2011, 11:01 am
    • Thank you Sheila. I think you’re right – the internet is a really helpful support tool nowadays. The anonymity of forums like Mumsnet can be great and it’s like a virtual group of friends providing vital reassurance.

      I’m really lucky to have met some very special mums through my group and, together, we’re taking real steps to make a difference and help other mums in such a vulnerable situation.

      Posted by Natalie | August 30, 2011, 1:02 pm
  2. I’ve recently been diagnosed with PND and find it so hard. In feel ashamed and isolated and confused by it all as I love my son very much but feel I guess frustrated with my feelings. I love reading stories of women who have come through PND as it gives me hope that there is an end and it will stop. I do have some dark days but mostly good I think….although ask me that next week. I’m open with my husband about how I feel even the dark stuff but I feel guilty for putting it all on him. I’d love to find a group in my area Bolton where other PND mums go but I don’t know if it exists. I’ve just got on to netmums and so far I love it. That’s how I heard about your site. I think anyone promoting PND is brilliant! Us mums need more help sometimes and it’s unfair we need to battle to get it.

    Posted by Armineh | September 12, 2011, 9:25 am
    • Here are details of the local Bolton NCT Group which I am told offers good support.
      Netmums is a great help and there is also the Mumnet site.
      Writing can help you have an outlet for your feelings too.
      You are so not alone with this issue.
      Take care and seek support.

      Posted by mumsarcade | September 13, 2011, 9:28 am

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