Kiwi Mums Share Their Symptoms of PND

We asked our group of Facebook Mums:  How did you realize you had Post Natal Depression? What were the signs that you experienced? How did you know?

If you are worried please call Plunketline 0800 933 922 or other phone help line

I didn’t like my son, I didn’t want to go to him when he cried, etc, I was still breastfeeding and looking after him but it seemed more like a chore than anything else, I’m so glad he cant remember those first few months

I was hiding under the kitchen bench in tears – once I had stopped the water work I thought hmmmmmm I’m not sure this is normal!!

As SOON as my son was born it was like all the happy hormones came out with him and the ‘blackness’ just started to take over.

I realized how sad, mad, angry and disconnected I was feeling on a constant basis. I didn’t want to play with my preschooler and felt so stuck in a rut. I just wanted to go for a hike away from the kids and I didn’t care. Was horrible. I searched online for more information and did a quiz which also highlighted I was not well. My “Oh Baby” book by Kathy Fray was a good reference too. Many triggers listed were a yes for me. I booked into see the Dr but came away confused as didn’t help me and said it was cause of my situation (temporary away from hubby) of course it was my situation!!! Two children on my own!!! The only good thing was she referred me to the Post Natal Adjustment arm of Plunket in Christchurch and they were brilliant.

I was teary and upset most of the time and would stress when my son would cry a lot. I started making excuses not to go out and I tried to talk to my friends about it but it seemed they didn’t care, which made it worse. They didn’t have kids at that point so they probably just didn’t understand.

We thought it was just the baby blues, but it carried on, I was fine whilst my hubby was home on leave (being Xmas holidays) and under my midwife. But it was once I was discharged from her, and when hubby went back to work that it hit me hard. Having to tend to 2 kids, aged 3yrs and then 8 weeks. Having a PLUNKET NURSE tell me my son was obese (he was 9lb 9oz born) and then having to move house to (landlord was moving back into the house) I went to my GP and he said yes it was PND and was put on Aropax. Then the next year was living hell, I had no support from any Mental Health Teams.  I saw the Maternal Mental Health thru CMDHB and they didn’t want to know me, cos I wasn’t suicidal or wanting to “harm” my children. Only thing they did was to change me to Citalopram.  I went thru so much other problems that I rather not put on here. I have gone on and had 2 more kids. There are days where I find it hard and I am still suffering from PND 5yrs later.

I just wanted to cry all the time after my 2nd baby, I called my midwife and she tested me, I was borderline. A few months later my oldest son (2.5yrs at the time) had his leg in a cast and couldn’t move round much, all he seemed to do was whinge and grizzle and want to be carried which was hard with a little baby as well. One day the oldest wouldn’t stop whinging and all I wanted to do was hit him to see if it would make him be quiet, I didn’t hit him though, instead I stuck both boys into the car and we drove to my Mum’s work and called her from the carpark. She made the appointment with the Dr (I already had one for the next day but she bought it forward) and I saw him that afternoon. Now I know I have relapsed if I want to cry lots or if I have very little patience with the boys, it is usually bought on by sleep deprivation for me

It’s all a blur, dark days they were. One of the main ones was insomnia – I couldn’t sleep even though I’d been deprived of hours of sleep every night by the kids. Another was lack of self care – not remembering to eat, not caring if I was dressed in the morning. Tearfulness, of course. Feeling disconnected, alone. Unstable mood, angry at people for no reason. Suicidal and invasive thoughts. Feelings of helplessness.

I just cried lots at weird things like my baby not sleeping one day when she did the day before, didn’t want to go home or be at home alone with just me and baby. I almost went to the doctor about it a few times but pride got in the way and didn’t want to go on pills so I think I just worked it out on my own

I had given birth to my daughter and a week after she was born, I took my son to Playgroup. I asked my Mum to babysit my daughter and when I walked out that door and felt relief, I knew there was something wrong with me. What kind of mother wants to leave her newborn behind? The fact I didn’t experience anything like this with my son, helped me realize that my feelings and behaviours were not normal and I needed help. I found it incredibly difficult to swallow my pride and ask for help, but doing so despite being hard, was the best thing I did.

There is a LOT of stigma around PND as every woman suffers differently. Some feel sad, find it hard to bond with their babies, some cry a lot, and some can suffer so badly they see no other option than suicide or killing their baby. You are not a bad mother if you have PND, and it affects a lot of women. Even if you plan for and want a baby, PND can creep up on you. We Mum’s are doing a tough job every single day. Don’t be so hard on yourselves and if you or someone you know is showing any signs at all of not coping, encourage them to seek help. You’ll feel better if you do sooner, rather than later

It wasn’t until my son was 8 months old I realized I’d had a problem – and all of a sudden something just clicked, and I was okay. It was weird, really for 8 months, I waited for “the baby’s” mum to come and take him away.

I had to force myself to feed him, which wasn’t helped when my milk never came in and we were told to put him onto bottles. When I was still breastfeeding, there were more than a couple of times I wanted to throw “the baby” out of the window I was sitting next to I don’t remember much about the time at all, but there are a few standout moments that are quite scary now to look back on. My husband is still sorry that he didn’t push me harder to see a doctor, but I guess the “brave face” I put on had a lot of people fooled, including myself. I am also grateful that he will not remember those first few months.

I know now it didn’t help that I had to go back to work fulltime when he was 4 weeks old, but at the time it seemed like the best escape ever, and I dreaded going home. I look at the photos, and am saddened because I feel like I wasn’t there for those beautiful moments, even though I’m in the photos. If we have another child, I will be taking a proper and decent amount of leave – so I can look after my baby properly and so I can look after ME, not using work as an escape/excuse. I want to be a mum next time, not a babysitter.

Hanging on to my husband’s foot and begging him not to leave me at home alone with the baby was pretty much the turning point for everyone concerned.

Crying lots. Wanting to get in m car and drive away, to nowhere really just wanted to drive. Had thoughts of looking for an apartment for me and no one else. Thoughts of leaving hubby and hurting my bub

My daughter was around 8 months old and everything felt like a chore, even just changing her nappy. I never felt disconnected from her, I still adored her to bits, but I used to get very angry at the smallest things or fall to a heap in tears over literally nothing. All I wanted was to run away get on a bus or a train and just escape (but I think most mums feel that way some days). I’d wake up in the morning and just want to roll over and go back to sleep, it took a lot to get out of bed. The house was a mess and I was a mess. It was awful. I needed medication to help me get through it.

Didn’t want to do the mummy thing anymore, small things like washing dishes or making the bed became huge burdens and was down or crying constantly. I also apologize constantly for EVERYTHING she’s crying, can’t feed her, the sky is blue.

Oh yeah and wanting to sell my two year old on trademe to the highest bidder, well, any bidder

A lot of the time PND is the result of pressure you put on yourself or hormones or lack of sleep (or all of the above) but in some cases it can be caused by lack of support (or downright scumminess) from the people we are counting on as our support.

For me the blues started before the birth, I had a massive panic attack about my ability as a mother. I cried at the drop of a hat, I hated having to feed my girl but she wouldn’t take a bottle no matter how hungry she was or what formula was in the bottle, what teat was on it or who gave it to her. She cried, I cried, she slept, I cried, she was happy I cried. I loved my daughter from the moment she was born but I didn’t like her at all till she was over a year old. I was formally diagnosed while in Tresilian sleep clinic. With a big background in pharmacy I didn’t want to be one of ‘those’ people on ‘those’ drugs so I hid it well. My clinic sister was a huge support and helped fast track Tresiliian. I had a wonderful counsellor who gave me some very powerful tools to get through it. My hubby was amazing in hindsight. Without him I possibly could have harmed myself.

I cried ALOT, was constantly anxious, angry, couldn’t sleep despite being tired, and overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks, like doing the dishes! I just used to stare at the bench covered in dirty dishes and not know how or where to start!

Plunket nurse asked me how I was – I said ” About how you’d expect with two under 2″ – I felt as if I had cockroaches crawling under my skull all the time – constantly anxious and irritable. When the Plunket Nurse asked me if I was Post-natally depressed I said ” I’m not post-natally depressed, I’m post-natally PISSED OFF – cos I wasn’t in tears all the time, we all missed it. Luckily St John’s Wort sorted it for me (effective for mild-moderate depression in 50% of people). I still take it again every winter, or when I know I’m being a crabby cow for no good reason!! I started taking it, and colours and smells came back into the world, I felt as if I had taken off blinkers and a cap and could see again – all classic indicators of depression – my GP TOTALLY missed it. I changed my GP!

Sad. I developed it quite late, after my daughter hit 6 months and I weaned her. I went on a bit of a diet and when my blood sugar got low I just wanted to cry. When I continued to feel like that even after I started to eat normally again, I knew I had PND. Currently searching for a decent psychologist, I really wasn’t comfortable with the one I was sent to.

I had a really tough time bringing my first baby into the world and remember bawling my eyes out on my first night home because I’d dropped something and couldn’t even pick it up myself (3 days of labour followed by an emergency c-section). Lots of self-doubt followed – “How can I do this? I’m going to be a bad mummy” – but it wasn’t until my baby was about 8 months old that I finally had the courage to admit it to a MCHN. I’d had about 2 weeks where I couldn’t stop crying, nothing seemed to be going right and I just wasn’t feeling ‘right’. Deep down, I knew I had PND but didn’t want to admit it to myself, let alone the rest of the world.

I had a previous history of depression and came off my meds fully around 11 weeks, so I knew the telltale signs. I had a few panic attacks mid way thru my pregnancy and ended up having to stop most work a lot earlier than planned as it was affecting my BP. In hindsight at around 30 weeks I started to go down hill, and at 39.5 weeks I was admitted to hospital with high BP and induced. I was on watch at hospital as I was constantly in tears. My son was born on his due date and was born naturally and was perfect! My confidence was shot though, and had a lot of problems establishing breastfeeding. My milk never really came in – probably due to stress!! My husband was the one who took me to Dr and I was put back on medication when my son was 2 weeks old. I also started formula and never looked back to be honest! I did go through months of hell with the guilt, and still do on occasion, but in the end it was a matter of “happy mummy, happy baby”.

OMG!! Just reading some of the stories on here makes me realise maybe I did suffer PND!!  I thought it was just all part of being a new mummy and that I’d just needed to toughen up.

Hubby had to go to Police College for 5mths when bub was 3wks and I had never felt more alone in my whole life! I thought, “how am I going to look after this wee child when I couldn’t even look after myself?!”
I used to bawl my eyes out for no reason at times (then I thought it was the baby blues). There was one time I was at my worst, I can remember baby crying and no matter what I did, and she wouldn’t stop. I wanted to hurt her but instead I put her down, ran into the bedroom away from her (so that she couldn’t see me cry) on the way kicked a big hole in the wall and bawled and bawled. Once I stopped and got my head together, I could still hear her crying in the living room. I thought to myself, “woman there’s a baby needing your attention and you’re in here feeling sorry for yourself? HARDEN UP!” After all this, I put her into the car and drove to my cousin’s place. She stopped crying then.

I just thought I was a useless mother who couldn’t cope and wondered how other mums did.

Bubie was 15months old, and I still felt nothing, I faked my way thru “motherhood” in front of friends, but by myself I resented her, I resented my husband, I hated myself, cried my days away, and couldn’t believe that after trying so long for a baby, that when we actually had her, that I had no idea what to do with it. I knew nobody who had PND before, I once confessed to a friend that I thought I was depressed, and she laughed it off, saying that’s just being a mother. I went home thinking, “does all mothers hate their children?” One night my husband came home, and I told him that I was leaving, that it was the best thing for him and baby, and that their lives would be better without me. He stayed up the entire night; scared I would leave and drove me to the dr the next morning.

While sitting in bed feeding my daughter at 2am I started thinking that once she’d finished I would put her back in her cot then walk down to the railway lines and throw myself in front of a train. Then I realised there probably wouldn’t be a train until 5am so decided to stay in bed. Fortunately my brain engaged again and I realized I had a serious problem. I went to the doctor that day and when talking to her I realized that I’d been suffering from PND since my son was born 2 years earlier. Once the meds kicked in I started feeling normal and happy again.

For me, I realized I had PND because I felt like my baby was a huge burden, and I felt anxious all the time, nothing was fun. And I felt overrun with looking after the house. Breastfeeding was a chore and I hated it when he woke up and I’d have to feed him. This little person was on me on the time. I read an article in Treasures magazine about PND and realized it was me. When I realized, I started my son on a bottle and that was a HUGE weight lifted from me. And I also got a cleaner to come for one month and that really helped me too!

I lost all interest in everything I enjoyed. I had no motivation to do anything; I wanted to seclude myself away and was a big deal to go out to someone’s house. I was exhausted all the time. I was emotional and B*tchy all the time, and snapped at my poor hubby for the smallest infraction. I constantly had negative thoughts about my husband and about my life. I knew I was perhaps slightly depressed but I denied having PND, thinking I was too far past his birth to be suffering from that, until I fell pregnant again when my son was 10 months old. I was about 2 months pregnant and had suffered my way through rotavirus (sp?) and was at such low ebb I was talking to my mother in law, about my feelings. I remember telling her things like I wish I could just go into a coma and stop feeling anything, or to just be a vegetable and have no thoughts no worries no anything. She is actually the one who noticed it and set up an appointment for me. Even then I still didn’t really think I was suffering from PND, until one day my poor little boy did something he wasn’t supposed to do, and I had an image flash through my head of just letting him fall down the steep set of stairs that we have, not of throwing him or anything, but just letting it happen. I will never forget how that frightened me, it left me trembling. That’s when I agreed to medication. I know I would never have hurt my son, or my brand new daughter, but the very fact that I had that image flash through my brain was enough for me to act. That sealed the deal for me. Since I have started with my meds, I am happy, content with my life, totally in love with my children and my hubby, and even starting to take an interest in some of my favourite activities, such as painting, again. not that I have the time to do it any more but the desire is at least there 🙂 oh yeah  and speaking of desire, another thing about PND at least for me was a complete disinterest in sex I’m glad ( and my hubby is too lol ) to report that is also a major change 🙂 Sometimes people can fight this type of thing with just the support of friends and family. Then there are people such as myself who think they are ok and that they have to be strong and battle through the dark alone, even though family and friends help. For me Medication is what truly helped me. I feel no stigma about it. And I try to tell others about it, so that they can see for themselves that “being strong” isn’t even in the equation, If you had an infection you would take antibiotics, and not think twice about it why should it be any different for those of us who suffer depression or PND? Sometimes you just need a little help to stabilize your emotions and for you to begin to feel “normal” again. I ♥ my mother in law for recognizing what I didn’t see myself.

I did feel sad and cried a lot, but I also got very angry! I thought I had anger management issue and in fact and hit my husband once or twice, I never ever thought of hurting the baby! I also was suicidal at one stage and only the fact I had a baby stopped me from doing something drastic! Once I started taking fluox I got better but stopped taking it because I was better, when I had #  two it started again (saw it coming though my Mum was diagnosed with cancer during my pregnancy) I got very angry and could imagine hurting my five year old, again NOT the baby whom I adored (IVF after infertility) I have never stopped taking the fluox and got pregnant with no 3 by accident I still got down but not as badly and didn’t get as angry, I still go a bit mad when I am about to get my period and now I take twice my fluox a week before I am due. I really don’t think that I can have any more but that’s ok three is plenty! : )

Day 3 it really hit – could not get to SCBU unaided and when there just cried and cried, relief that we were both ok after a long hard few weeks in hospital with pre-eclampsia and multi organ shut down I had tried hard to hide how ill I was from friends and family but discussions with medical team kept me in the loop. The long uphill battle began with trips to ED from SCBU with raging kidney infection, difficult time with breast feeding, gallstones that came and went surgery at 4 months finally at 6 months the explosion happened and I asked for help. I had gone from a great job, great confidence, happy person to this quivering wreck that cried and was angry a lot of the time. Everyone close knew that I had problems but there was only one person that could admit it (ME!). We went to my GP, started medication and put in place really strict strategies, I still use these now at 3 1/2 years. I would love to get my old confidence back, but this may never happen. Thanks to a great hubby, family and the most amazing little girl we are doing ok

it is somewhat comforting to know that I am not the only one that has had PND. WE are AMAZING women and hopefully somewhere along the way we can help others by sharing our stories and how we overcame/are overcoming xx

All of the above! No pleasure from anything, feeling numb towards my husband (fortunately it did not impact my love and bond with my kids), totally exhausted, unable to cope, no hope for the future, GUILT, completely victimized, unable to problem solve or use normal judgment, etc, etc. Horrible stuff but with lots of help and support I’m happy to say I am through it and feeling amazing now – something you don’t take for granted when you’ve had depression.

I was so determined to “swim” rather than sink, I was on all the time, working to be the best mum. And failing all the time at all the little things. One day I put her down for a late afternoon nap. I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the day before, so I made a quick sandwich and she started to cry and all I could think was “what an awful mum I am. All I care about is food”. I cried as much as she did. It was about then I realized there was something much more wrong with me than I had previously admitted.

Mine probably started before the birth – husband with terminal cancer, in-laws from hell and far away from my own family and friends. Then an emergency c-section and no support from anyone, husband went off antidepressant meds cold turkey, family feuds over the birth, baby in SCBU and again no support!!! Everyone commented how together I was, how I was coping so well, so there was never any offer of help and I never thought to ask, even though I was breastfeeding and barely eating, not sleeping etc. I have only been recently diagnosed with PND and my babe is nearly one!!!! I voiced my concerns to Plunket when bubs was about 2 months old thinking they would know what was wrong with me – just stress, get some rest!!!! It started out slowly kind of felt like it just crept in one night – not eating properly, unable to sleep, the house a mess then progressed to being angry all the time over silly things, and myself a mess, not going out but I still adored my babe so thought it was just the way it went. But then I got angry at bubs, yelled at him and denied him a cuddle when he was hurt from falling over trying to walk, he was beside himself and I didn’t care, poor little soul. I hated myself for that and cried and cried for hours and thought my baby would be better off without me and the list goes on!! But this had to happen a few times before the warning lights came on and I thought this is PND not just stress and no I am not coping!! So off to the Dr I went. I so hope my son won’t remember and I still feel all the guilt but feel hopeful knowing that it is PND and not just me being useless and uncaring! IF I’m lucky enough to have another babe down the track I will be so much more prepared.

Gosh the more I read on the more I realize now I did suffer. I think it was only after returning to work after baby had turned one that everything seemed to return to normal.

My only joy became my daughter, nothing else made me feel happy like it used to. I was so exhausted from doing ‘not a hell of a lot’. I stopped socializing with my friends and some days having a shower was an effort. When I caught up with people I would say that I was good, and put on a brave show. I finally went to the doctor when my daughter was nearly a year old and I have a great GP she helped me immediately with medicines, emotional support and a referral to a good counsellor.

Really didn’t want to have my toddler son around and was always angry and frustrated with him. I’d had GD and an ECS with my daughter, so that didn’t help with me feeling like a failure. Lack of sleep just made me want to drive my car straight into an on-coming log truck. Luckily none of this destroyed the bond I was forming and have formed with my daughter.
We live on the other side of the country (OZ) to any of mine or my husband’s family and live in a rural area. This really became obvious to me when my son broke his leg a few months ago and we were basically stuck in the middle of nowhere with no support and I couldn’t do any of our usual outside group activities with him due to his toe to hip cast.
I still have my down days, but am getting much better thanks to counselling, a great child health nurse and a couple of great friends.

If you are worried please call Plunketline 0800 933 922 or other phone help line