I have thought hard about whether to write this post; I have even discussed it with my best mate. I still don’t know if it is the right thing to do but I know how much I wanted validation; how much I wanted to know I wasn’t alone.
I will tell you now that what follows is sensitive and may upset you. However, it is personal and it is something that I have experienced and still experience. If this post inspires just one Mum (or Dad) to seek support and comforts her in that she is not alone then it will be worth writing.
The moment I realised I was suffering with Post Natal Depression was disturbing. It alarmed me; horrified me! I was putting a 3 week old Comma into his car seat, he began crying and I thought about putting his blanket over his head. I thought about harming my own baby, a baby I am supposed to love and do absolutely anything to protect. While the thought was brief, the consequence of it was huge! Although, at that time, I still did not seek help.
I don’t recall having any similar thoughts from that moment up until my official diagnosis 2 months later. During the appointment with the GP, I told her about this and she assured me that it is more common than we realise.
Recently, the fleeting thoughts have returned, more often on nights where my husband is working and Comma spends the evening screaming for no apparent reason other than he doesn’t want to go to sleep. They are fleeting, although they give me the warning to step away from the baby and take 5.
I have sought help for the thoughts; I do not plan to harm my baby; the thoughts distress me and leave me feeling guilty; I am aware that the thoughts are not natural. These 4 statements alone, suggest that I do not pose a risk to my baby.
Any parent who experiences suicidal and infanticidal thoughts are, more often than not, too afraid and ashamed to say anything to anyone. They fear being ostracised and viewed negatively by the friends, family or anyone really. Why should we be afraid of others perceptions? Post Natal Depression (and all that comes with it) is an illness; it can be controlled and maybe even prevented in some cases. The only way for us to not be afraid of seeking help is to take away the stigma!
Depression is still very much a taboo subject in our society and it is a view that we need to change. The only way this change can come about is for people suffering from a mental illness; whether it be depression, anxiety, OCD or anything else; is to talk about it! And for those, who may not understand, to listen and not judge.
While I still have brief thoughts of infanticide and thoughts that my family will be better off without me, I know that this is not true… I know that my husband and children need me and guess what; I need them too. I also know that having someone to talk to, who won’t judge me, has been vital.
If you have ever experienced what I have, please know that there is someone else who knows and understands.