How I fought Post Natal Depression
How I fought Post Natal Depression
Twenty-Eight-Year-Old Alisha Mepham is mum to Five-year-old Leland - here she shares her story of the dark days of Post Natal Depression.
I have suffered from depression in the past so during my pregnancy I was worried that I would be more prone to suffering from postnatal depression (PND).
I had a perfect pregnancy, everything went as planned. Leland arrived 4 days after his due date and after only being in labour for 5 hours he was born using a suction cap.
I believe that having such a quick labour, and a delivery that had to be performed in theatre due to Leland’s heart rate dropping and him being stuck in the birth canal may have played a part in my PND. I had to have a catheter fitted and had a 4 night stay in hospital.
I was now mother to a healthy baby boy but the only thing I could think of was watching TV and getting back to my normal routine.
I used to hate it when my partner had to leave after visiting hours, as that would mean that I would actually have to feed and change Leland. I have no idea what his first soiled nappy looked like as I didn’t do it (that sounds disgusting, but it’s the little things like that which make all the difference later on).
I couldn’t believe it when I first went to the toilet after my catheter was removed; there was such a huge difference in my body and its functions. I started to resent my baby for what HE had done to me.
Once we were discharged from hospital after 4 days. All I could think about was how lovely I would look pushing a pram in public and how I would now be able to hang my shopping bags from it while I’m out – silly I know, but this is how PND made me feel.
As soon as we got home I left Alex (my husband) to look after Leland by himself while I stayed up in the bedroom all night watching TV and painting my nails. The next day I left Leland with Alex again for the whole afternoon/evening while I went shopping at Bluewater shopping centre, I didn’t even phone to see how he was doing! As you can probably tell, I didn’t breastfeed, well I did try but I could never get him to latch on, and was being told so many different things from different people that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, so I opted for bottle – this also turned out to be a great excuse for me to not wake during the night for Leland’s feeds. I used to feel so bad; Alex went back to work after 2 weeks off and was working long hours each day, yet I used to pretend to be asleep just so I didn’t have to get up to Leland – I used to think, “why should I let you interrupt my sleep? All I want to do is sleep” – and that’s what I ended up doing most of the time.
The very first time I knew something wasn’t right was when I used to pretend I was ill just to get someone to look after Leland for me and take him out and away from me for the day so I could do what I wanted to do.
I think that my family knew something wasn’t right but no one ever said anything to me, and nor did I.
I remember shortly after we moved house when Leland was 2 months old, I had a visit from the heath visitor. She asked me how I was coping, and I said “to be honest, I’m not”. She asked to carry out the Edinburgh test to see if I could possibly have PND. I answered the questions as honestly as I could, and just as I had suspected, I fell in the category of someone suffering with PND, but from that moment on I had no help and support what so ever! All my health visitor told me to do was visit my GP; I then never had another visit from a heath visitor.
As you can probably guess, I didn’t visit my GP; I left things to carry on as they were, getting worse and worse. All I ever remember doing is lying in bed all day watching TV, Alex used to be the Mum and the Dad most of the time, I even used to hate it when he had a shower as that would mean I would actually have to look after Leland – at that time I couldn’t think of anything worse. I would often make Alex wait until Leland was in bed before he done anything like going to the shops or having a shower.
I used to go for days without getting dressed or going out of the house, I used to just sit in all day with Leland with the curtains closed watching TV. I used to have panic attacks when I went out shopping with him, I used to think things like – “what if I need to change him and I run out of nappies?” – That though used to terrify me, so I just wouldn’t go anywhere on my own.
After about a year of Alex not being able to take anymore, I eventually went to see my GP. All I got was a prescription for antidepressants and an appointment for 2 weeks time. I remember that every time I went to the doctors for a follow up appointment, all I would get was a repeat prescription for 3 months worth of tablets and then and an appointment for when I would need more. That continued for 2 years!
I eventually decided one day that enough was enough, I started to do my own research into PND, a book by Brooke Shields tilted ‘Down Came the Rain’ really helped me, and when I heard that people such as Katie Price has experienced the same thing I didn’t feel so alone.
I knew it wasn’t right to feel and think that way. I never hurt Leland, though the one thing that will always be in my head is the time I was with him on my own and he just wouldn’t stop crying, I came so close to shaking him, I didn’t, but just the thought of it scared me and upset me so much – I can’t tell you the amount of time I spent crying alone. I used to always think about running away, and that he would be better off without me.
Looking back now I feel so sad, my PND has destroyed my memories of what should have been the happiest time of my life. I really hope that sharing my story will help others, and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still on the antidepressants, though mine and Leland’s relationship is getting stronger everyday. I couldn’t imagine my life without him; it would kill me inside if anything happened to him. All I want to do now is spend as much time with him as possible making up for the time I wasn’t there for him as a baby.
I had to find my own help and support and ways of dealing with PND, I would hate for anyone to have to do the same, which is why I have created my own support group on Facebook to help others.
Even to this day the thought of having another baby scares the life out of me, but I know that next time will be different and that just because you’ve had PND once does not mean that you will suffer from it again.
All my love goes to my family who where there for me when I needed them most.
There is help out there.
Alisha now runs a Facebook Group called Out of the Blues - Medway