I was keen to also feature the personal experiences of local mums who have used Mothers for Mothers. I asked mums over on my Bristol Mum Facebook Page and on Twitter for their personal experiences and several mums kindly came forward.
Today on Bristol Mum, a mum named Chloe kindly shares her experiences of postnatal depression and explains how Mothers for Mothers supported her.
“My depression has not been straightforward PND (as is the case for many mothers), life was hard, I didn’t look after myself, my family was affected by cancer (again) and I basically had a breakdown under all of the strain. That was when my first child was about 2.5. I basically gave up living my life, I slept for weeks on end, whenever I could, I lost all confidence with my son and he was given a full time subsidised nursery place. I felt okay if no demands were put on me but I panicked easily when there was any pressure put on me.
When I had my second child I felt like I was in a better place, I did look after myself, I took breaks when I could, I ate well and I did things for myself. I was very anxious during the pregnancy but I felt that once my baby was born safely I would be okay.
Things didn’t turn out quite as planned as my son became unwell shortly after he was born. He spent his first 9 days in hospital and was readmitted again at 6 weeks of age. I was a mass of anxiety. I couldn’t sleep, I felt sick all the time. I was convinced I was going to lose my baby. I asked for help from my Health Visitors and doctor but nothing seemed to help. I would stay awake all night watching my baby to check he was breathing. The days were long and I felt very alone.
I knew about Mothers for Mothers already. I used to work in a unit for mothers with Postnatal Illness and we had contact with the charity then. It took me a while to approach them as I did not know if I was allowed to access their services due to my illness not being straightforward PND. I went along to one of their drop in sessions when my second child was 6 months old. Since then I have been to the group most weeks as well as having a weekly support call from the charity. I have accessed their counselling service also which were very helpful.
Since the day I first accessed their services, I feel that my life has changed. They are there for me and they really care about the mums who come along for help. I can be myself, be real and honest about how I feel. I can go to the group and spend the whole time crying if I want, and nobody will judge me. They have helped me gain confidence in myself and to make the changes that I needed to make.
I cannot express deeply enough how the charity has helped me. Over the past 2 years I have seen the support help so many women going through difficult times. I have also accessed another PND charity and this highlighted to me how good Mothers for Mothers are and how much they stand out.
I think that if I had not accessed their services that my life would be very different now. At this stage with my first child I was no longer able to care for him. I care fully for my toddler now and I know when times are hard Mothers for Mothers will be there to help me to regain the confidence I need to do this.
Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t all roses these days, I just know that the support I have has helped me to cope with the rubbish. I came from a place of no confidence, a lot of fear and no friends. Life is very different now which has me a much stronger and more capable Mum to my two boys. I do worry about when my son turns 3 though, the support has to end then. I think that could be reviewed really.
Anyone can access the services of Mothers for Mothers as long as they have a child under-3 (pregnant women are welcome too). It doesn’t matter why you feel down, be it PND, longer term depression or anxiety or simply loneliness. Mothers for Mothers will welcome you with open arms!”
If you are struggling with PND or supporting someone who is experiencing PND, the Mothers for Mothers helpline number is 0117 975 6006. Or, you can visit the Mothers for Mothers website and email them, too, on firstname.lastname@example.org.