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.
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.