I’m not actually sure if I really have it. I think I do. My doctor said I had ‘mild’ PND whatever that is. I know there are varying degrees.
When I read about it there are a lot of symptoms I didn’t have and still don’t have. I was never suicidal. I never wanted to harm Budbud in fact it was the opposite I wanted to protect him too much.
I think my version of PND is what you call the middle of the road version. Mine was surrounded by my anxiety. I am a highly anxious person. You can’t really tell when you meet me but I am. I have several OCDs but not the normal ones. Wires need to be hidden for example. All wires. Anyway the moral of that comment is that if you are generally an anxious person then it’s quite likely PND will come your way.
I had my phone and several apps to help me get there. It’s not my phones fault or those genius geeks that think up all of these wonderful apps for mums. I mean I was fuckin obssessed. I had an app to record his feeds when breastfeeding and I mean you had to record which boob and for how long…it also catered for formula feeding so I recorded that too. There was an app for his sleep. An app for the white noise. An app for his development and a wee message for every day telling you what you should see your baby doing. An app to record how much he shits. It was endless.
I think I realised something was starting to get worse when I had a meltdown about the breastfeeding. It destroyed me to give up. I can’t exactly tell you why it was so important it just was. For so many reasons it was important. I did come to terms with it eventually. But for me when I got over one hurdle or come to terms with one thing, another thing came along. It seemed never ending.
I was obsessed with his sleep. Why was he sleeping too long? Why was he not sleeping enough? I was obsessed with his feeds. Why didn’t he take all of his bottle? I have increased his feeds am I feeding him too much? You get the jist. I couldn’t leave him with anyone for too long. No one could look after him as well as me. I worried sick when I was away from him.
It was only a few months back but I can’t remember the exact moment when I realised that I needed help. I got very upset one day with Yorkshire Daddy (fiancé). We screamed and shouted. I threw things and he just thought I was fuckin nuts. I was tired. Dog tired. Yes I was tired from sleep deprivation. But more so I was tired of the obsessing and worrying. Now don’t get me wrong I think every first time mum hell every MUM worries about their newborn. But I was in a whole different fuckin ball park. I was in a ball park fuckin miles away on my own. I don’t think it was even a ball park. It was not a good place to be.
Let me give you an example. Yorkshire Daddy and I decided to have a date night one Thursday. Nana came round to babysit. Before we left Budbud decided he didn’t want his full bottle feed before bed. He had significantly less than normal. Any new mum would worry. And I did. So much so than when we went out I couldn’t eat my food or concentrate on any kind of conversation. Ask me what I was worried about? I don’t quite know. That was the worst thing. I worried myself sick and I didn’t know exactly why. The night was ruined for me.
Yorkshire Daddy finally realised that I needed help. I went to the doctors. Well no that’s a lie I spoke to a random GP from my surgery who just left me a prescription to help me sleep.
A couple of weeks went past. I didn’t actually take the medication cos for some reason I had talked myself into thinking ah it’s just the the baby blues. It wasn’t.
I went back to the doctor and this time got a wonderful GP who wanted to see me in person. She understood being a mother herself. We talked and went through stuff. The next minute the questionnaire comes out for PND. I thought no way have I got PND!! I filled it in. No I’m not suicidal. No I don’t want to hurt my baby. No I am not staying in the house all day. But the questions surrounding anxiety all rang massive big bells. I had to tick yes for most of them. So I had to face it. I had mild PND.
She prescribed with the standard anti depressants. I didn’t want to take them. I mean I know I have some anxiety problems!! But I’m not one of those people that needs to take Prozac!!! Fuck that shit. But it turns out I did need to take it.
Now again I feel there is a massive taboo about taking drugs for depression. If I’m honest I was in the camp of ‘you don’t take drugs for your mind’. I still kind of am. I do think that by educating yourself and retraining your brain you can actually help yourself. But I had to give them a try.
I did start to feel better. Now whether or not that was because I finally knew something was wrong, or Budbud started to get into more of a routine and settle a bit better, or the medication was working or all of the above.
I’m still taking the Prozac 3 months on. I still worry like fuck but nowhere near the massive ball park where I was on my own. And yeah I do feel ashamed. Half of my friends don’t know I have some issues. Even my parents don’t know but that’s because I don’t want them to worry about me. I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I do. I have some judgmental ‘friends’. Is it wrong I don’t want to give them the satisfaction? Or maybe they wouldn’t give a shit.
I guess the message I am trying to get across to anyone that takes the time to read this is this. You don’t have to be at the fuckin edge to have PND. You may think you have the baby blues but if it lasts longer than a few weeks then check it out. Talk to someone. Partner, friend or family member anyone.
Try this test. It isn’t a diagnosis but it’s a tool to help assessment. Be honest with yourself: EPDS Tool.
My version of PND. My ‘middle of the road’ condition may not be serious. But if I didn’t seek help fuck knows where I would be now.