PND & Me - A Postnatal Warrior

You know the feeling when you’ve been out in the cold for so long, and you come back inside but it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you just can’t get warm quick enough? As you do everything starts to tingle and it kind of hurts a little. I felt like I was in that constant cycle, it felt like I’d just get warm and then I’d be out in the freezing cold again.

I felt completely misunderstood, but yet I wanted those around me to understand and then I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t understand. I had no voice, no identity and I had no fight. I knew the lead up to this was more than becoming a Mummy at a young age, I knew there were so many contributing factors to why I found myself at complete rock bottom.

We don’t see behind the curtains, we are just out there, centre stage, being looked at and assessed. There’s questions, screening tools, then there comes medication and maybe even counselling. I didn’t realise just how important it was to identify what was falling under the radar that deeply needed to be acknowledged. Without doubt losing my Mum 18 months before I gave birth had a profound affect on my mental wellbeing, as did the relationship I was in, as did the conflict in the people and world around me. My own judgements, naive and clouded, just grasping at whatever got me through from day to day, moment to moment. As I sat on the sofa with the crisis intervention team, even at that point, I did not know how trapped I felt. I was unable to speak up about the reality of where I found myself, I would engage and shake it off, I’d pretend I was okay. I wasn’t honest in my recovery and that’s why it took me so much longer and through so much more heartache. I was terrified to speak up because they may take her from me, they may think I was an unfit mother or that I wasn’t the better parent. This was my hush and I had to keep it because I needed to be with my baby.

My bond with her was instant, the first moments we had are still as warm today as they were almost 11 years ago. The love and the rush were all instant. I know I’m lucky because I know for other women with PND, they never had that nor felt it. I know I was blessed for that part to remain so strong. Knowing the love I had for her was a strength I took in my grief. To know how much my own Mum must have loved me as I did my little girl brought huge comfort.

So the support came and it went. I nodded my head, agreed with care plans and went back into the life that I so badly wanted to change and couldn’t. I had no strength or fight for it. So I focused on my baby girl. I focused on projects of passion which were my ways to ignore the dark undertone of depression that haunted me everyday. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be and I desperately wanted to change it. I just didn’t know how.

Honestly though? And I mean the complete entirety of the word, I honestly never really recovered from it. Not for a good few years anyway. The depression moved in its own ways. It would take hold of me and pin me down for a few months and then let me

up for a bit of air. Then boom, we would go again. I lived on this seesaw for years after this first episode and although it didn’t hit as hard with my second pregnancy, it hit differently. This time, I would be riddled with anxiety.

I remember sitting shaking in the doctors office and begging them to help stop the feeling that my heart was going to burst in my chest. This time though? This time I was ready to fight.

It was a long process, with many twists and turns but now is a whole different chapter. I took every class, seminar, course, self help I could. I had counselling, CBT and I joined wellness groups and coaching. I looked inward and into my diet, vitamin deficiencies, my lifestyle. I took every ounce in that I could and whatever worked stuck, and I know those few tools I now have for life are serving me huge and great purpose. I’ve become the Mum I wanted to be, I knew I had in me. I’ve changed my life and it’s path into the most incredible ways. My career, motherhood, my hobbies & interest are done with passion and truly fulfilled. I have cleaned out things that no longer serve me or are welcome such as friendships, relationships & toxic situations. When you become strong and protected of your recovery and life as you know and have chosen it, you also become so sure of what you want and so aware of what boundaries will benefit you.

I now look back at my battle with PND and I am

so grateful for it. I’m grateful for the lessons it’s taught me even though they we’re absolutely brutal. I’m grateful for the passion it’s given me to create my career and business to support and empower Mums also. I can’t say I look back and wish on it never happening because it truly has shaped who I am. I am strong believer you can take anything, no matter how

earth shattering and you can grow it how you see fit. You can take it and you can make it good.

I know not all PND stories have the same ending. I know they aren’t all the linear straight ahead road to recovery we all badly want. I also know though that it can be recovered from, it’s about finding who you are and what you need. It starts with you. YOU are the best person to do the job of being you. No one else gets that honour or opportunity. Remember no one else is you and that is totally your super power.

To all my other PND warriors, I’ll always stand with you. You are doing great Mama.

Rhay x

If you are struggling with any of the topics that have been discussed this evening please do not hesitate to reach out for support - Samaritans on 116 123