I want to help make other mummy’s aware of an AMAZING and invaluable charity who have had a massive impact on me and my life as a PND sufferer.
They offer extensive support, education and information and I can not recommend them enough!
The Association for Post-Natal Illness is the leading organisation in its field and a Registered Charity (No. 280510), which was established in 1979 to:
- Provide support to mothers suffering from Post-Natal Illness
- Increase public awareness of the illness
- To encourage research into its cause and nature
They provide a telephone helpline, information leaflets and a network of volunteers, who themselves have experienced Post Natal Illness. Additionally, they run a support service for husbands and families supporting depressed mothers too. You can contact them in confidence, knowing that you will never be judged and that they are always there to help, listen and support you on your journey to recovery……You Are NOT Alone!
NEED HELP NOW?……
Call them between 10am – 2pm on: 0207 386 0868
Office hours are: Monday to Friday – 10am – 2pm
Email them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are outside of the UK – you can contact Postpartum Support International (PSI) on the following website: www.postpartum.net
My experience with APNI:
When I was first diagnosed with PND, 4 months after the birth of my daughter, I asked for additional help and support from the doctors, but the best they could do was to offer me more anti-depressants and told me to contact Relate for counselling (at the time money was, and still is, in very short supply, so I felt that this was not an option). Then when I spoke to my local Health Visitors, they suggested a couple of websites I could take a look at, but nothing that was really helpful to me. Unfortunately, they too were unable to recommend any support groups. This left me very despondent, feeling isolated and alone in my battle with PND; especially as my husband was being less than helpful and exacerbating the whole situation, through his lack of understanding and lack of desire to even try to understand my illness.
After many desperate and dark days, I randomly stumbled across APNI…thank god for Google…let me here a Woop Woop!!!!!!! However, it still took me a very long time before I actually contacted them. I wanted to work through my problems myself, as I have done so many times in the past, but I was also ashamed and felt I didn’t deserve the help. I had a lot of people close to me saying ‘it’s just the hormones’ and ‘you don’t need all that rubbish like anti-depressants and counselling’ and ‘you just need a bit more rest, you’re just tired’…..etc etc…… It all added up to me believing I was going crazy and convinced that I was making something out of nothing. As a new mother and with very few of my close friends having children, how was I to know that this wasn’t how every first time mum felt???…..I didn’t want to be seen as a hypochondriac or drama queen, so I tried my best to just get on with it. I became an expert in hiding my true feelings, wearing a glittering PND mask! Looking back, this just caused me to withdraw and isolate myself further.
When me and my hubby first decided to pursue the next logical step in our relationship, neither of us expected me to get pregnant as soon as I came off the pill; there was no real period of ‘trying for a baby’, no time to get excited about the idea of being parents, and no time for mental preparation. This meant that for me the whole pregnancy and birth of my daughter was very surreal and overwhelming. I began to tell myself that perhaps I just needed to adjust to motherhood and then I would be fine, even though I was very far from feeling ‘fine’!
Eventually, after a self harm incident I had, it scared me enough to realise I needed some serious help and couldn’t continue as I was. I rang the APNI helpline; the most lovely lady answered the phone and was nothing but kind, reassuring, helpful….for the first time I felt I had been accepted for who I now was and that it was ok to be not ok. She sent out loads of informative information, including leaflets for my hubby to read to try and help him understand how he could support me. I wish I had known about APNI and had contacted them sooner, as I believe I would be much further up my path to recovery and my marriage may have not taken so many devastating blows. This is why I am desperate to share this amazing organisation with others, and I implore that anyone suffering from any low moods after pregnancy…..please get in touch with APNI!
The most invaluable service that they provided me with, was the volunteer service. They listened to my situation at home and matched me up to a volunteer who had experienced PND herself and under similar circumstances. She initially contacted me via email, which is great for those sufferers who do not feel able to give voice and openly talk about there feelings (you can also request to speak to them on the phone or communicate by post). Finally, I had someone who listened, advised, understood exactly what I was going through (that is the best bit about the matching process) and there was no pressure to conform or hide how I was feeling……the relief to finally ditch the PND mask that I had been wearing for so long was intense. It gave me a new strength and drive to get better, that I had not felt before. It finally seemed possible that I could recover from PND, this dark isolated hell I had been living no longer seemed like my forever home!
Looking back to when I was first diagnosed with PND, I wish I had had someone there to say to me:
‘Natalie, you have Post Natal Depression; you are not going crazy, this is very real and very serious; do NOT let anyone make you feel like you are lying, unworthy or be ashamed of what you are going through. Here are the information leaflets, here is a support network that will not judge you, make sure your husband understands that it’s not just up to you to sort things out alone, as he will have a massive part in aiding (or hindering) your recovery. Friends and family should not expect too much from you, and if they do put pressure on you, then tell them. If they still do not listen, then it is ok to remove them from your life for a time, or at least until they are prepared to sympathise with your needs. You will not get better on pills alone, you will need help and support from those around you; if they can not step up to the mark then they will only make things worse. They should love you enough to be prepared to research as much as they can about PND, it is NOT up to you to do this for them. Only surround yourself with positive people, you do not need other peoples negative energy keeping you down. You are not alone, there are hundreds of people out there who have felt how you do. Do not be afraid to tell your friends and family how you feel, do not worry what they will think of you. True friends are not just there for when you are happy and want to have fun, true friends should want to be there for the bad times too! Say exactly how you feel, even if it may offend or hurt others, nothing can compare to the damage it will do to you if you hold it all in. You have limited control over what is happening to you mentally; remember it will get better, but it will also take time. Be patient, others supporting you should be prepared to be patient too. Take one day at a time, there is no need to look at the bigger picture. Do not be afraid to say you need help. When the good days start to outnumber the bad ones, then you can take comfort in knowing that you are getting better, however slowly this may be…………After every dark night, there will always be a sunrise.’