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PND | First Counselling Session | An Update

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how my doctor had diagnosed me with Postnatal Depression.

I was referred for counselling and said I’d update you guys on my progress…so here it is:

I was given a call back and a telephone assessment, basically going over why I felt depressed. He also agreed I had “Perinatal Depression”, which actually covers more than just Postnatal Depression which means after birth, which is more accurate for me since my Depression first started when we lost our first baby.

We discussed my options and he thought 8 sessions of counselling would be a great starting point, at this stage the waiting list for counselling was 17 weeks! But because I fall into the “perinatal” category, I got moved up the waiting list so I was only 6 weeks away, but I actually had an appointment within 3 weeks, which was great.

I felt positive and happy to have taken the first step to help myself, which helped my mood to be lifted.

My first session nearly didn’t happen, the room was in a huge complex, hidden right in the middle around the other side of the building, so at first I went to the wrong reception. In my head this was a sign I shouldn’t go, I almost stormed off to go home, but I knew if I missed this session I’d be knocked off the list, so i fought my own mind’s negativity and although I was 5 minutes late, I found the room.

The counsellor was a lovely welcoming lady, I basically word vomited my whole life to her with all my anxieties and fears thrown in too, but she was great and didn’t make me feel silly for blurting it all out. She didn’t even need to say much, she just supported me in the decisions I was unsure about and basically told me that the way I am raising my children and living my life is OK and that I need to let go of the negative comments people make and just let them go over my head, she also thinks I’ve had a lot of trauma over the past five years of my life with losing two babies, Jack being really premature, my Dad passing away and a lot of other personal stresses that have caused me a lot of anxiety.

She thinks CBT will help me, once I’ve finished counselling. So I’m optimistic about that.

So my first counselling session went really well, I’m excited about my next one.

For those struggling with Depression who are thinking about starting counselling, I would say even after one session I feel more positive, it’s amazing the feeling that just making a forward step with supporting your own mental health can do.

There are so many options to help and support you if you feel depressed, you just need to take that step forward and the support is there, it isn’t a one size fits all and everyone’s story is different, but one thing that is true for everyone is that you should NEVER keep your feelings to yourself if you are feeling Depressed.

I’m keeping you guys updated to show how getting support for PND does work!

Here are some support links:

Samaritans

MIND

PANDAS

If you are in Lancashire like me this is who I get my counselling through:

Minds Matter

I will continue to keep you guys updated on my progress and if anyone wants to get in touch, share their success story or just to talk please comment or get in touch.

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But you don’t look Depressed…

But you don’t look depressed…

Apparently if you’ve had Postnatal Depression before you are more likely to have it again.

When I first had Depression I didn’t think it was Depression, I thought these were normal feelings after losing a baby, actually after losing two.

Being pregnant again and getting past my “safe point” of 12 weeks during my pregnancy with Jack seemed to help, but then I was taught a harsh lesson about how there is no safe point in pregnancy, when my waters went at 25 weeks and he was then born at 29 weeks. Those same feelings came back and my coping mechanism with life (or lack of) returned, that seems to be my way of spotting when something isn’t quite right with me, if I am suddenly unable to cope with everyday situations.

Of course my baby being born almost 3 months early wasn’t an everyday occurrence, so I cut myself some slack, just because I had the same feelings as when I lost the babies, didn’t mean I was Depressed, right?…Wrong.

I had this amazing baby, finally at home, finally in my arms, yet I felt like I wanted to die. I was so terrified of someone holding my baby and hypersensitive to what people said that I was isolated, but that was okay (to me). My baby had been born early, it was OK to be overprotective, that’s what I thought, and do you know what? I wasn’t wrong, I had every reason to be overprotective, but my fears of leaving the house, even walking down the street were wrong, it was Depression, it turns out it had never really gone, there just happened to be a lot of traumatic things happening around me that gave me even more reason to be sad.

So for a moment I sat and thought about how I may have Postnatal Depression after my first child was born, but I also felt off-colour, maybe I was ill? No…I was pregnant. Jack was three months old and he was going to be a big brother. Well, that answered all my questions, it must have been my hormones making me think like that. They’ll settle down, I thought, then before I had any time to think about myself or what may be going on in my head, or even the joy of a new baby…

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I got the phone call every child dreads, my Mum saying my Dad was having a heart attack. He’d had one before when he was 42, it was very minor and he’d been improving since then, age now 50, I calmly got ready to make my way up to the hospital to check on him, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as my Mum told me, “they said his heart isn’t beating” that’s when I knew it was over, I just knew in the pit of my stomach, he wasn’t coming back.

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So as my bump grew, so did my Depression, but my Dad had died of course I was depressed, it was grief! I’d never thought about the fact that since my first loss with a Molar Pregnancy, which brought with it a Cancer scare, that I had been suffering with Depression all this time, I had the thinking process that once I’d had Mikey I would be OK.

Don’t get me wrong, if you met me on the street or even spent a few hours with me, you’d probably say “You don’t look Depressed”, I was a master of disguising it, partially because I was ashamed, I had two perfect children by this time, what did I have to be Depressed about? And the rest of my fear was telling someone and then once flood gates open, they don’t close.

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There’s also the fear everyone is too afraid to talk about, that your children could be taken away from you, I thought if I told my doctor that I felt like I was worthless and failing in every aspect of my life, that I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I was afraid to leave the house, that he’d think I couldn’t cope and would take my kids away, but this isn’t the case.

Finally I got the courage to go to the doctors over a year after first telling him I felt Depressed and he helped me, I didn’t take antidepressants because I was Breast feeding and didn’t want to stop, but I started counselling, which helped. I found life easier to cope with, I wasn’t afraid to get in a car with the kids in case it crashed, or walk down the street in case someone just took them from me, I felt like I could lead a normal life again, of course I will always grieve for my Dad, but life was manageable again.

So with my fifth pregnancy and third baby, I felt strong, like this time was different. I’d got into a great routine with my boys, they are both great kids, who sleep, eat and behave well (most of the time). There was the everyday stress of life in general, knowing I had to have a Cesarean which wasn’t what I wanted but was safest for baby and planning my wedding, but I was coping.

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So what came next hit me like a tonne of bricks…

My husband Paul and I had a minor argument about 9 days after Nicole was born, it was that minor I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember just thinking “I can’t cope with this…I want to die”. The feelings of anxiety crept back again, I was scared to do things in case something bad happened, yet no-one knew. Since then it’s been like a snowball effect, it’s just got bigger.

There is a stigma that comes with Depression, that you must have a reason for it, it needs to be solvable…but what if it isn’t? I don’t want to feel like this, I hate that I anticipate every situation, conversation and reaction, but I can’t help it. I’ve got Depression…again, and it isn’t fussy who it chooses.

So I don’t look Depressed…

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I can tell you, you’re right I don’t have the face of Depression because there isn’t one, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, what religion you are or what race you are, Depression can affect anyone at anytime.

I have three beautiful healthy children, an amazing husband and a loving family, I have every reason in the world to be happy and I am a lot of the time, but when I have a chance to gather my thoughts, or I’m faced with an everyday situation, I crumble.

Being Depressed doesn’t make me a bad mother, I love my kids, I look after them and I do everything in my power to make them happy. There isn’t even a question in my mind that I’d rather be anywhere or doing anything else than being with my kids, but the stigma of Depression leaves people feeling like they don’t deserve their children and this just isn’t the case.

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If you are suffering with Depression, you need to talk to someone. Whether it is a family member, friend or a doctor. Let someone who cares know how you are feeling, there is no way out of it alone, I’ve learnt that the hard way, I’m about to start Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, in the hope I can put these horrible feelings behind me.

The only way to fight it is to talk to someone, Depression wants to isolate you…don’t let it.

Here’s some support links:

MIND

PANDAS

Mothers for Mothers

PNI

House of Light

APNI

The SMILE Group

 

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It’s OK to be “that” mum

I’ve been that mum, the one that the other mums snigger about because she doesn’t like to leave her baby, or that people sneer at because she doesn’t like other people holding him, or that others judge because she worries about literally everything.

They say she needs to have a break from her baby so she will have time to miss him, or she can’t be selfish and has to share her baby or even that in their day there wasn’t any of these precautions and they turned out OK.

I genuinely don’t think people realise they effect their words have on us. As if we don’t question ourselves enough already now we have people telling us, we’re too clingy, selfish or even becoming doctor’s overnight and diagnosing us with Post Natal Depression.

I’ve been like this with my children, when I have had Post Natal Depression and also when I haven’t, let me tell you something…even if she does have PND, taking her away from her baby will definitely NOT make it better, if it isn’t what she wants it WILL make it worse.

All of my babies have been born towards the later end of the year, so when you get visitors there tends to be a lot of winter virus going around. I don’t think people realise when they paint you as the psychotic OCD mum, that the reason you don’t want an ill person holding your new baby is because it might just seem like a cough to them, but to a baby it can be life threatening, it could mean ending up on a Children’s ward around older children with Bronchitis and sickness bugs.

Maybe the reason they don’t want you to hold their baby is because they just don’t want to let go of them, I never wanted to let go of Jack. I loved cuddling him, I knew it would be short lived, that in a few months he’d be starting to move and eventually he wouldn’t sit still for my cuddles. Surely it was me who needed the most cuddles, as his mother? We had the strongest bond after all. I carried him inside me.

That’s another point, we carried them inside us for three quarters of a year, why would we suddenly want to be separated from them? They are happiest with us, listening to our heart beat, the smell of their mummy and the sound of her voice.

For those who say in their day there wasn’t any of this to worry about, I’m sorry but you’re ignorant. Move with the times, there’s so much more to worry about now, because we have access to so much more information. Safe sleeping, anchoring furniture, stair gates, blind cords the list goes on and on, I’m of the opinion, if I can take the precaution, then why not do it? In your day it might have not been the thing to do to have bonding time without visitors, but I’m sure in your day a lot of women felt unable to speak out about how they feel, well this is my day and I want alone time with my baby and lots of it.

If there is one thing that really grates my cheese, it’s a group of people passing a baby around. Each to their own and if you’re happy for people to play pass the parcel with a tiny human, fair enough. But for me, it’s torture, watching your baby be lifted from person to person, knowing they aren’t settling anyway because they aren’t with you, but then to be disturbed every ten minutes, after just getting warm in someone’s arms, getting passed to another place…again! Yet people look at your like you’re insane or selfish for not sharing your baby.

I think most people make judgement because they literally don’t get it, they aren’t bad people, they genuinely think they are within their rights to have a sense of entitlement to your baby, but they don’t, this is YOUR baby and YOUR life. They will never have the bond you have with your baby and that is the most important bond, so don’t worry about how it’s affecting them, if that makes me selfish, then I’ll take that.

I’ve had people snigger and make comments about how I won’t pass my baby or like other people holding them, to me I don’t see why that’s something to laugh about. If someone takes your baby out of your arms without asking, for me it’s torture, that baby is a piece of me.

The best you can do is stand up for yourself and explain it to people, I have a lot of people in my life who get it and now don’t make any assumptions or take any liberties. But I also still have a lot who will never get it because they just aren’t willing to listen, they just label you as that mum.

Well I’m definitely that kind of mum…and proud of it.

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A break from blogging

So  I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging the last few months. I’ve really missed it and feel there are so many things I have missed recording about my little monkey’s.

To re-cap I have two little boys Jack (2.5 yrs) and Michael (1.5 yrs) and write about all the trials and tribulations of being their mummy. Since I stopped blogging things have changed quite a lot, I am now expect a baby GIRL!

I will talk about my pregnancy more in upcoming posts but I’m still in shock it is a girl!

I just wanted to write a quick post about why I haven’t been blogging for a while, there has been no major reason other than life just getting in the way.

So now I have my 2yr old, 1 yr old, 20 weeks Pregnancy and my wedding in 8 weeks! Safe to say I have plenty to write about…..

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Christmas Gift Guide Request

I’m creating a Christmas Gift Guide of tried and tested toys!

I will try some my self with the kids and also accept reviews from real mum’s & kiddies with pictures!

If you would like to get in contact for my boys aged 1 & 2 to try your product or to send your review in for consideration then please get in contact via Facebook or Twitter!!

Happy Holidays!christmas-presents

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Halloween with kids ideas!

I had so many ideas for Halloween with the boys but unfortunately they got struck down with a sickness bug, they are recovering now, but since they are too young to understand Halloween I saw no need to dress them up when it would benefit them more having a cosy day in their PJs. Plus it’s the one night a month they spend at Nanny’s house, so they’re having a quiet one!

But saying that I do love Halloween and think kids are adorable dressed up for it! I really wanted to do Jack dressed as Chucky and Mikey as the baby from The Adam’s Family. I then saw a friend of mine on Facebook, Harriet, who has a baby the same age as Mikey, dressed her and her son Luca up for a Halloween competition and won 1st and 2nd Place!

Like me, Harriet likes to create a lot of homemade sensory activities for her son, she gets creative and look at the results!

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Harriet was kind enough to let me use her pictures for this post!

So there you go a fun and creative way to dress up with your little on for Halloween.

If any readers have pictures of their cute little ones, comment with them or send them in via Facebook or Twitter!

Happy Halloween!

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The screaming, kicking & punching terrible 2’s are here!

Jack turns two on the 11th November, it’s hard to believe that my tiny premature baby that was born at 29+5 weeks Gestation is almost two!

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Especially since he started not even being able to breathe by himself and now he has got a whole personality of his own, saying words, starting to string sentences together, feeding himself, knowing he does NOT want to use the potty and of course the reason they are called the terrible two’s….the tantrums.

He’s always been very loving and affectionate especially to his little brother, but I will give you a few scenarios in the last week that have shown the sudden change in his behaviour.

Tantrum 1 – Biting

We were playing “tractor” which started with me getting a picture of a tractor on google images for Jack to point at and say “tractor” to on my laptop, we have gradually progressed and now he says around 30-40 words, the other day we were playing a lovely game of tractor when Jack started smacking the laptop, so I looked at him and said “No Jack, that’s naughty”, he looked at me with anger, his body went rigid with rage, he ran over to his Daddy who was laid on the sofa and without any warning, bit him on the leg! There was pure anger, from nowhere! All of a sudden he was fine and accepted being told off, he gave Daddy a kiss and a cuddle with an apology. But it was so shocking! He has never bitten before!

Tantrum 2 – Raisins

Jack loves eating his dinner, him and Mikey sit side by side in their high chairs and never have any objections, except for Tuesday, on Tuesday this all changed. He screamed and went rigid, he wouldn’t calm down and just stormed about screaming, then all of a sudden walked over to the table and pointed at a box of Raisins, we handed him the box and he was fine, he then got in his high chair and ate all of his dinner. I didn’t see this as giving into him, as I’d happily give him a snack and considering he ate all of his tea, I saw his anger as frustration that he couldn’t communicate what he wanted.

Tantrum 3 – Bath time

Bath time is Jack’s favourite time of day hands-down, so when I get him out of it, there is a 5 second struggle until he remembers he then gets to watch a bit of Peppa Pig and have his night time bottle. Tonight I laid him on the towel and he kicked, punched and scratched, it only lasted for maybe 20 seconds then he was fine, he had his nightly inhaler and calmed down, I was in shock though, shock that my tiny snuggly baby that needed me to survive would try and hurt me! I know he doesn’t know the difference and is learning from his emotions, but still it’s hard to deal with!

They say that a toddler’s hormones are the same as a teenagers, well if Jack’s feeling the hormones I felt as a teenager I’m going to run and hide…this can only get worse!