Last week I asked the lovely mamas in my Facebook group “What do you wish more people understood about PND?” I was surprised at how many responses I got, and wanted to share them.
So that any mums struggling out there can take strength and courage from them. So that any family or friend supporting someone with PND can understand them more fully. Because both the sufferer, and those caring around them need to understand what PND is. Without the sufferer realising what they are fighting they often won’t get help. And without those around them understanding as best they can, the sufferer may feel judged or uncared for.
Below are the responses I received. Some are quite similar, but I wanted to share different mums’ ways of putting it with the hope that it would resonate with many mums struggling currently.
I wish more people understood the difference between 'baby blues' and PND and weren't so quick to dismiss feelings of PND as 'normal'.
I wish more people understood that it's OK to have PND. It's not a disease, it's not catching, and it's OK, in fact more than OK to talk about it. Don't be embarrassed, just talk. It really, really helps.
That it’s an illness not a weakness.
That it's a real illness and that we aren't making it up because we are too tired.
That you can still appear to be functioning normally and looking after your baby well.
However under the surface things are not OK- and you are not making it up.
PND and grief are different, and shouldn't be confused. Tho that one's for Health Care Professionals rather than other parents I think. The number of HCPs who tried to put me on anti depressants when I was grieving stillbirth losses was...depressing I guess. Even when I told them I wasn't depressed, pills were their only answer.
That it presents itself differently in people, and you can experience it more than once.
I wish that I understood I had it earlier.
How common it is!
Just because it looks like you are coping and you keep telling everyone you are fine doesn’t mean you are.
That for some of us its more about anxiety as opposed to feeling down.
Mine was stress and just feeling down rather than anything more sinister, but it's still very isolating, especially when there seem to be no support groups you can just drop in to. That was all I needed really, plus practical help. Drugs and CBT were on offer but were completely not what I needed! And I wasn't asked what I would've found helpful.
That it's not just feelings of sadness....it can be feelings of anger/sadness too. And present in many different symptoms. I found this graphic really useful. Oh and it's not just straight after your baby is born, it can come on later.
That it doesn't only happen immediately after baby is born and sometimes can build up over a few months.
That it's an illness that isn't your fault. And that needing meds isn't a negative thing.
There is hope and recovery from PND but anti depressants shouldn't be the first port of call for doctors. I know for me mine was caused by chronic insomnia not just sleepless nights with a new baby. I physically couldn't sleep at any time even for 30 mins over a period of 18 weeks.
I would love to hear what you’d wished you’d known if it isn’t covered below - [email protected] I think I’ll take each theme as a new blog post - expanding on what it is that a PND survivor wished they had known, and where possible getting some health professional’s advice.
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