Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Baby Blues - My Experience

We have all heard of the phrase 'the baby blues' at some point in time.

What a lot of people don't realise is just how many mothers, and even fathers, can be affected by Post Natal Depression (PND). This can range from mild, feeling low days to suffering from psychosis.
Studies have found that between ten and fifteen in every one hundred women are affected by this illness, along with one in ten fathers. When looking at these figures, it is clear that PND is just as common in men as it is in women. (nct.org.uk)

Considering how common PND is, it makes me wonder why on earth there is still so much stigma around it, and also why it is mainly thought that only women suffer with it.

Whilst I don't believe that I suffered from PND, I definitely did experience a touch of the 'baby blues'. I was never advised of the hormone crash that is experienced in the first week or so of giving birth - personally, I think that being told this information is vital to a woman's mental wellbeing. I thought I was losing my mind and that I was alone in feeling that way; turns out it is just one of those things that can happen. During the first week after giving birth, high levels of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and oestrogen drop - of course this is going to cause your moods to alter at the drop of a hat.

I will be delving a bit more into PND in a separate post. For now, I wanted to share my experience of the baby blues. Whilst a lot of people may think this is nothing compared to what they may have gone through, please remember that everyone's experience is their own and means something to them, regardless of the severity.


Looking back, I think my hormone crash came to an almighty head around three days after giving birth. It was also the day that I was finally discharged from hospital and went from constant midwife support to going into an empty house as my partner was in the Middle East working.

Whilst in hospital we had discovered that I wasn't able to breastfeed, which I always had suspicions of anyway. I thought that, mentally, I had prepared myself for that, but looking back I don't think I had.

We had a lot of issues feeding the first few days - she just wouldn't keep a single feed down. Even when the midwife took her to try, she soon came back to tell me that it hadn't been successful. I'll never forget the fear I had over this. Some people know that I was born with Pyloric Stenosis and had an operation when I was a few weeks old.

A quick rundown of this condition is that the passage between the stomach and small bowel becomes narrower and can close up. This results in milk or food not being able to reach the bowel. Symptoms in babies include: throwing up after feeding, projectile vomiting and less bowel movements/wet nappies.
Whilst noone really knows how this develops, it has been known to run in families. I voiced my concerns to the midwives and nothing was done. I was sent on my way, absolutely sick with worry.

The night I got home a friend from my birth group messaged me asking how I was getting on. I remember dropping my barriers and breaking my heart to her. I was crying when writing my responses; worried about the feeding, how I wasn't cut out to do this alone, how exhausted I was and so on. She was a great source of support and encouraged me to open up to other mothers that we knew and I am so glad that I did. It was from them that I learnt about the hormone crashes and realised that I wasn't alone.

It would be a lie if I said that as soon as I realised about these hormone crashes I suddenly felt better and more "normal". I didn't. It took a long time for me to feel like myself again and some days I still don't feel like how I used to. As awful as it sounds, in the beginning there were days when I thought "why have I done this?" and for a time I did believe that I was a failure to my daughter and she would have been much better off with someone else as her mother. It was mentally draining and I didn't sleep properly for a long time through worry.


It's taken time but I've learnt to try not to be too hard on myself. I'm not a perfect person and my life is not perfect, but it is a life that I chose and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Yes, I do still have days where I feel like packing a bag and jetting off to a deserted island, but doesn't everyone?

Whilst my experience is more along the mild side of things, some people do suffer a lot worse.

Charlotte, who blogs at Welsh Mummy Blogs, experienced both Postpartum Psychosis and Postnatal Anxiety in separate pregnancies. Reading about her experience was heart-rending and scary - to think that I was feeling such emotion just reading it, I cannot imagine how it was for her to live it. She now campaigns for there to be a Mother and Baby Psychiatric Unit in Wales, which I completely agree with.

If you wish to read her experience, please follow the link below:

Charlotte's Story

Another kick ass fighter is Kerry over at All About A Mini Norris who talks very openly about how Post Natal Depression  really feels like. A quote from one of her posts which strikes a cord with me is '... I notice the storm has cleared. I look at the sky and it's bright blue. Everything is calm and quiet. It's almost serene. The sun is shining again.' This line perfectly sums up to me how unpredictable PND can be. 

To read more on Kerry's story, take a look at the link below:


Finally, the best advice that I can give to someone who may be going through this, or even just having a down day, is to talk to someone. A friend, relative, anyone. The release will help you so much. Also, speak to your GP who will definitely be able to help you further.


4 comments:

  1. A great post. Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree it would be good to know about the baby blues so new mums know it's normal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gosh I bet it wasn't hard having your husband working away. Well done for sharing your story. It amazes me how it's still such a taboo subject. Thank you for including mine x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been so lucky with both of my pregnancies to not get PND. I def had the baby blues with my first, I remember the first night of sleeping for a few hours while danny had Max crying because I felt they didnt need me anymore. With my second I just powered on thru I dont think I had time to take a poo let alone feel the baby blues :)Thanks for sharing #thepod

    ReplyDelete
  4. Really enjoyed this, I've had 3 children and have been blessed with having a great support network around me to help me with the tough times. You're a survivor and it takes a lot to share as you have done. Keep on with how you're doing and sending you virtual hugs X #thepod

    ReplyDelete