Thank you to Jemma (@feeding_little_ones on Instagram) for sharing her story of Post-Natal Anxiety. While the arrival of a new baby will always bring some added stress and anxiety, if you have ongoing disturbing thoughts and/or feelings of worry and tension that are hard to live with and that affect your ability to manage from day to day, then you may be experiencing postnatal anxiety. Anxiety is the most common type of mental health problem affecting one in four people in their lifetime – and even more likely to occur amongst women in the year following the birth of a baby. If you would like support for Post-Natal Anxiety please drop us a call, email or message - you are not alone.
"Most of my pregnancy with Aria I couldn't feel her. The midwife would ask me if I was feeling baby lots and I would look at her blankly. I felt like a failure as a mother before she had even arrived. At 37 weeks we made the difficult decision to induce labour, Aria was born with her cord tightly wrapped around her neck.
3 weeks later in deep in the newborn bubble, she turned blue and floppy. She was completely unresponsive and I thought she was dead. We were told she had suspected meningitis and we nearly lost her. The thought that Aria would die was cemented in my head from before she was born.
Once she was hear I had constant thoughts that something would happen to her. I I walked up the stairs I thoughts they would collapse and she would die. If I bathed her I thoughts she would drown. If we drove anywhere I thought we would crash and she would die. If we went out in the buggy I thought she would catch a disease and die. The thoughts consumed me 24 hours a day. I couldn't sleep, eat or think about anything else. I became completely obsessed with making sure I protected her.
The hardest part of having post-natal anxiety for me was the people who didn't understand. The questionnaire that the midwife gives you 6 weeks post birth is based on post-natal depression, my score was very low and they had no idea what I was feeling. I was terrified to tell them in case Aria was taken away from me.
Having people around you who don't even try to understand can make things a lot worse. Unfortunately it sent me into a very deep dark hole and it has taken me until now to reach the surface. Looking back into that hole fills me with dread, it was a horrendous time and I so wish I'd talked to somebody who understood.
If you are struggling with these feelings and have no one to talk to my inbox is always open, any time of the day or night.
Know you are not crazy, it is not your fault, it doesn't make you a bad mum and you will get better, you are not alone."