My Journey With…. Postnatal Depression

My new series, My Journey With… is one that resonates with so many of my readers. They may not always share the post or leave a comment – but they do send me emails, DMs and mention these interviews in person. I am so pleased to know it’s making a difference to someone, somewhere. Using my platform to encourage people to talk about “taboo” topics and to share their stories can be so healing!

Today’s “Journey” is with Jenni, a fellow blogger over at My Journey as a Mom. She is sharing her journey with Postnatal Depression (PND).

Read on below to find out more about her story… and if it resonates with you or someone you know please save or share this post.

Hi! My name is Jenni. I became a mom for the first time in December 2015.

Before giving birth I’d researched postnatal depression, because, having suffered depression & anxiety before I felt I was susceptible.

I’d read all the ‘generic’ symptoms of PND and informed my husband and family so felt we were all well prepared for any signs after my son’s birth.

I was so wrong!

I didn’t display most of the ‘typical’ depression symptoms so it wasn’t picked up straight away, obviously! I was an over-functioning depressive.

I found no joy in being a mom, struggled having the world & life I’d known for 35 years ripped from underneath me and couldn’t understand why my son needed to feed every 1 – 2 hours when all the books told me average of 3 hours between feeds. He didn’t do anything the way the books told me; so I assumed either something was wrong with him or me when in fact, he was just being a baby and I was completely overwhelmed! Everyone told me the first year was tough so hubby & I honestly thought that we must just soldier on and it will get better.

After 14 months (PND still undiagnosed) I ended up in hospital with meningitis. My mom came down to help with my son as I was hospitalized twice and she commented that I was always angry, found little joy in my beautiful boy and life in general.

Initially I got really angry with her, but as I sat in my bed that night a lightbulb went off in my head and I realised that something was very, very wrong.

 

Motherhood wasn’t meant to be this awful experience; I had always dreamed of being a mom and how I was going to love it and cherish the amazing time with my newborn, but I hated being a mom 90% of the time.

 

What, or who, helped you to overcome or push through this experience? A book, a person, an incident, therapy, medication or was it just simply time?

The very next day I made an urgent appointment to see a psychologist that very afternoon; she met with me and immediately diagnosed me with severe postnatal depression and recommended I see a psychiatrist to get meds & have weekly sessions with her to talk it all through.

The psychiatrists’ official diagnosis was severe postnatal depression without psychotic episodes.

Over the next 6 months the meds helped and the talk therapy was my weekly lifeline to understanding what I’d been through and to deal with all the guilt I now had as I was recovering.

 

Where do you find yourself now? Please share an update on your current space to encourage others who find themselves in the midst of the “tough stuff” right now.

I came off meds completely in February 2018. I had always said I’d only have 1 child but that all changed when I fell pregnant later in 2018; my next baby is due end of May 2019.

I see my psychiatrist once a month; I went back onto meds about 1 month ago. I will remain on meds for at least 1 year after baby is born. The risk is too high for me to develop PND again and neither I nor my family or doctors are willing to take that risk. I am 110% happy with this decision; I have discussed risks to baby extensively with my doctor so know both unborn baby & I are doing the right thing.

 

Obviously there is not always a reason for going through such hard times in life, but now that you have are further down the journey can you share any insights or personal growth that the experience taught you? 

Way more people suffer from PND than you realize. The more I’ve spoken about my experience the more people have opened up about theirs. PND looks totally different on each one of us; no 2 people suffer the same symptoms and there’s no 1 correct way to treat the disease or person.

Be kind to moms; it’s tough becoming a mom for the first time and all we need to know is that everyone is there to support & love us.

Rather talk to a professional than your gynae if you’re feeling down. As much as your gynae has your best interests at heart after having a baby, they are not equipped to deal with your mental health. You wouldn’t see a cardiologist for a sore toe!

Find Jenni on her website www.myjourneyasamom.com or on Instagram: @suburban_cape_town_mom

If you have experienced similar symptoms and think you may be struggling with PND please speak to a family member or your doctor. You can also contact one of the organisations below.

LIFELINE

A 24-hour free and confidential telephone counselling service 
Tel: 0861 322 322
Web: www.lifeline.org.za

FAMSA

Tel: 021 447 0170 / 082 231 4470
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.famsawc.org.za

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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