Perinatal Mental Health
PND and Me
Perinatal Mental Health is an area that interests me greatly. By this I mean the mental health issues surrounding pregnancy and the year after the birth of a baby. There are various issues covered by the term Perinatal Mental Health. These issues are of varying severity. My interest stems from my own experience of PND when my children were little. To be honest, if you had told me 16 years ago that I would be a qualified therapist now, I would have been amazed.
PND, or Post Natal Depression, is a condition that affects about 10% of women. It is included in the heading of Perinatal Mental Health, but is not the only issue, under this heading, faced by women and their families.
For me, life changed drastically when I had my babies. I had been a respected member of a team at work, with responsibilities and many interests. Now I was alone at home with a baby. A difficult birth combined with fertility problems and huge expectations left me grieving my old life. I felt like a terrible mother and a huge failure. I had put on 5 stone and felt ugly and worthless. I felt very alone, even though I was fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive husband, family and friends. Shame and anger filled my days and I was frightened to tell anyone how I felt in case they took away my baby.
Its hard to believe that I was that person. Life has changed so much for me since those days. The change started when I hit rock bottom and made the decision to go to my GP. I was told that I was suffering from PND.
Talk to Someone
The thing is, telling someone how you are feeling is the key in so many Mental Health problems. The day I sought help was the first day of my recovery. So often we create scenarios of terrible negativity when we are suffering from low mood, anxiety, depression. In reality though, people want to help you.
My doctor helped me enormously. She told me that I was not a failure. She told me that it took courage to ask for help and that this day marked the start of my life to come.
In those days there was not the internet support you can access now, but I was able to talk to a therapist who listened non-judgmentally. Little by little life began to get better. When I look now at where I was and follow the journey I have made, I am so thankful that I chose to tell someone how awful I was feeling. It takes courage to open up to someone else, but with their support you can start to recover.
Perinatal Mental Health Support
Today there are so many online support groups and information as well as your GP and specialist therapists:
Butterflies Peer Support Herts
(There are lots of other organisations – these are just a sample of those available)
The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can regain your normal life. Studies show that early intervention and support make all the difference. You can regain your sense of worth and your happiness. You are not alone in your struggle, even though it might feel very lonely.
Whatever your situation, you can be affected by Perinatal Mental Health issues. Women are very good at hiding how they are feeling and its easy to think that you are the only one who is struggling. When you are in the depths of despair it can be easy to imagine there is no positive future, but, you know…there is. You can come through to a life that is good, fulfilled and happy. You just need to talk. Ask for help.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Nowadays I can hardly believe that I went through such an awful time. When I was there though it seemed unending and very dark. If someone had told me then that there was light at the end of the tunnel, I would have found it difficult to believe. Yet there is light… For anyone reading this who is going through Mental Health issues, whether it be Perinatal Mental Health or another problem that seems insurmountable, there is light, there is hope. You might not be able to see it yet, but the fact that you are reading this means that you are searching.
I feel incredibly privileged now to have come almost full circle. Now I can help the people who find themselves struggling. I have been asked to run a support group, in Hertfordshire, for women who are going through difficult times. When I have completed the specialist training required, to complement the training I have already, I will be able to let you know more about that.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Hertfordshire
In my role as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist I work with a great deal of women and I just love seeing the transformation they can make. Just because you are suffering now, does not mean that you will always suffer. I am living proof that, if you can keep going, one moment at a time, talk to people you trust and begin to believe in your own strength and potential, you can be the person you want to be. It can feel very difficult – almost impossible, but you can live a good, fulfilled and normal life. Sometimes its only when you look back at where you were that you realise how far you have come.
Your GP should be your first port of call. They have the experience and training to help you find the right care. If things just don’t feel right, ask for help.
You are not alone.
Just read your article and like you said when I think of ever coming out of this, it seems near impossible. I have been looking at various alternative therapies and thought abt hypnotherapy too. I had started to lose my sleep a little before giving birth but I dnt think I was actively anxious in the sense that I was aware of it. Straight after birth, I thought something has happened to my brain because of pethidine and then just kept on checking for signs whether I was normal or not. That was 7 months ago, I havent improved. At first I had the brain fog abd pressure in the head/neck so I actually thought the pethidine had done something phsyical. I dont have the stiffness anymore but have stomach cramps (dnt know how to explain) and ‘constantly’ think about whats happened to me. I just want to erase any memory of birth. Most women going through PND talk abt irrational thoughts or c
Fears regarding the baby, mine was all to do with myself and thats why I feel so totally stuck. Because I cannot change myself and have to live with myself and my memories…
Sorry for rambling. To cut a long story short, do you have any recommendations for hynotherapists in birmingham?
Kindly let ne know.
Dear R, Thank you for commenting on this post. It sounds as though things are difficult for you right now. My first advice would be to go and talk with your GP as they will have contacts in your area who can help you. There are lots of different types of therapy and having a talk with your doctor will help. It may be that there are other things going on – maybe a physical reaction as you mention. Your GP will have the training to help you in this regard. If you would like to find a hypnotherapist in your area you can look up therapists near your post code by searching for the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy) or the QCHPA (Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy Practitioners Association) I would strongly advise an appointment with your GP first though. Asking for help is the first step to getting better and although it takes courage it is the best thing to do. Good luck and take care. Sarah