This guest blog is written by Emma from Isabella and Us. Emma is truly inspirational. Having turned her experience of postnatal depression into a positive wellbeing zine. Here she shares our story – if you’re struggling after having your baby, we hope this might be a comforting and helpful read.
In May 2018 I was diagnosed with postnatal depression following the birth of my daughter, Isabella, in December 2017. After her birth I struggled with the transition to motherhood, the sleepless nights, the new identity and looking after a little person.
I fell into a deep grey fog where I felt empty, alone and scared. I struggled to bond with Isabella and in all honesty felt like didn’t want to be a mum. We’d so longed for Isabella and then to feel so low after she arrived was such a dark place to be in. I battled on for 5 months, living almost internally, only doing what I had to do for both of us to be okay. No one had noticed just how much I was struggling and no one knew the dark place I was in.
As Isabella turned 5 months old I knew I needed to get help, I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I wanted to be the mum Isabella needed me to me. So after reaching out to a friend, who confirmed that I definitely did need to see a GP, I eventually spoke to my husband and I booked an appointment the following day.
That GP appointment was the turning point. The GP was incredible, he talked me through everything, explained how it wasn’t my fault and what would happen next. I felt supported by him and knew that I had made the right decision in going to see him. Within two weeks I had my first counselling appointment and I began to take those first steps to recovery.
A week after my diagnosis I made the decision to share my story through my business, Isabella and Us. This wasn’t an easy decision but it felt right to do so. I was scared about what others would say or think of me, had I failed as a mum? But posting that first explanation of being diagnosed I felt surrounded by love and kindness.
Throughout the next 18 months I’ve shared my story, the highs and lows of living with postnatal depression. The everyday struggled of living with a mental health condition and the impact that has on those around us. It’s taken me a long time but the clouds are less dark these days, with more sunlight.
I’ve learnt that sharing my journey in such a vulnerable and honest way, is not only amazing therapy for me but has also helped so many others to seek support and know they aren’t alone.
Having postnatal depression or any mental health illness is nothing to be ashamed off, it takes time and it can be a constant daily battle but from my experience it makes you strong.
If you are struggling please know there is help and support out there, from your GP, Health Visitor and Midwife along with many online or phone services including Samaritans, PANDAS and many more.
Take that first step because I promise, it gets easier from there!