We're with Mothers for Mothers
We have teamed up with Mothers For Mothers - this amazing charity supports women suffering with PND, a cause really close to my own heart. Here's my story....
When I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter I was delighted. Like all Mums to be, I was encouraged to write a birth plan. Mine included a natural home birth. I had my music planned, my birthing pool hired and set up ready to go, all the soft furnishings and home comforts I could think of and my midwife on speed dial. I had declined an induction at 10 days after due date as I really wanted my "perfect birth story".
Two days later, I went in to labour naturally enough, I laboured at home in relative peace, taking a bath and practicing my hypnobirthing breathing techniques, until it was time to call the midwife... then it all started to go very "wrong". Soon after my midwife arrived, she took my blood pressure and immediately took it again with a scared look on her face. I had developed pre-eclampsia during labour and I was rushed into hospital via ambulance, it was a race against time to ensure the safe arrival of my baby and my own survival. I started to panic and feel very out of control, nothing was going to plan. I wasn't meant to be under bright lights, my baby was meant to be arriving in water not under a spotlight. The contractions were agony, my baby was back to back and her head just would NOT engage meaning that every 3 minutes her head hit my pelvis. The pain was like nothing else and I relented, feeling like a total failure AGAIN, and asked for an epidural and my blood pressure was kept under control. After a few more hours my blood pressure spiked dangerously high and my baby girl was delivered by emergency c section minutes later. I felt like I had failed. I couldn't do the most natural thing a woman was meant to do.
I felt like I had failed. I couldn't do the most natural thing a woman was meant to do.
When my daughter was handed to me I didn't experience that "rush of love". I didn't recognise her. I was shocked. She didn't look like I'd expected and the relationship I had with my bump didn't translate to this crinkly ball of baby. I immediately felt protective of her but I just felt disappointed. Disappointed and guilty for not being able to follow my birth plan. She also had an infection that I was told was due to the breakdown of my placenta, which again made me feel like I couldn't trust my own judgement for declining the induction two days before.
When she was four days old, still in hospital, I cried on my own Mothers shoulder and asked her "How am I ever going to lie to her and tell her she's beautiful?"
Looking back now, and at my absolutely GORGEOUS little girl (now nearly 7) this was when it should have registered that something wasn't quite right , My Mum and husband often asked if I was ok but I just assumed everyone lied about how much they loved their newborns. I DID love her. I would have done, and did, everything in my power to protect her and look after her, I just didn't feel like I COULD do it. I felt like a total failure from day 1.
After we came home from hospital, my baby was 7 days old. I sat on the sofa at home and cried again. Over the first few months of her life I would call my husband to come home from work ridiculously early almost every day, or I'd call my Mum to come and help me out on the days he couldn't get away. I just couldn't face being by myself with my baby. I didn't realise I had PND. I thought it was normal and people just lied!
I never did get any help at that time. I didn't really relate to any of the PND stories I'd heard before. I didn't really feel like I'd struggled to bond with my baby - I loved her, I wanted to look after her, I just didn't feel able to do it.
I loved her, I wanted to look after her, I just didn't feel able to do it.
It really wasn't until the birth of my second child two years later that it hit me. I birthed her in a hospital after a long labour, but the moment I saw her I felt that rush of love that everyone talked about. In the maternity ward, with my second born in my arms, eating toast, drinking tea, I realised what I'd been suffering with for the last two years and I sought help. I started talking about my experience and learning about how post natal depression affects people differently.
There's a lot of stigma around PND still, I felt it then and I still feel it now 6 years later, even when writing this I feel the need to clarify that I would never have hurt my baby just because I was suffering with PND. I was broken. I needed help and I hope that by sharing my story, it might resonate with someone else who doesn't realise that what's happening to them doesn't need to be their "normal" and there is a way out from the fog.
That's why when I spoke to Maria at Mothers for Mothers I jumped at the chance of helping others any way I could. Here's some more information about them and the amazing work they do...
Post Natal Depression affects between 10 to 15 in every 100 women having a baby. (NHS)
Post Natal Depression is a common term but there is still so much stigma attached to it resulting in so many women suffering in silence, for fear of being judged or shamed.
Perinatal Mental Health conditions occur both during or after pregnancy.
We are so pleased to announce that 50p from every sale of our International Women's Day Reusable Menstrual Pads will now be donated to Mothers for Mothers, a peri-natal mental health support charity based in Bristol.
Who are Mothers for Mothers?
In 1981, a group of women who had survived a perinatal mental illness, decided what would have helped them recover would have been the opportunity to talk to others who had suffered and recovered. So, they started a telephone helpline at Bristol Maternity Hospital.
Since then, they have opened 3 support groups and have grown to help women and families affected by perinatal mental illness throughout Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
What makes the work that Mother for Mothers do even more inspiring is that their services are delivered by women with lived experience of PNI.
Mothers for Mothers are people who have suffered and recovered from depression, anxiety or isolation during pregnancy or after the birth of one or more of their babies. They use their lived experience to offer support and advice to others who need it.
They offer support to women and families every step of the way: right from pregnancy all the way until their youngest child attends school.
They offer support for a wide range of perinatal mental health conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, Maternal OCD and Parental Adjustment Disorder.
Mothers for Mothers offer help, support and guidance from illness to wellness, through many different support services:
- Reach helpline/support calls
- Home Visiting
- Art Psychotherapy and Counselling
- Group Trips
- Peer Support Groups with a play support worker.
How can I help?
Our pads are biodegradable, plastic-free and zero-waste so you'll be helping out the planet too!