Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues by using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across. I have chosen to talk about Post Natal Depression (PND)
So this post has a lot of emotion for me right now as I have had post natal depression in the past with Ra-Ra and it has been suggested that I may never have gotten rid of it. To me I feel as if the professionals like throwing the label around to any parent (yes dad’s can get it too) who has a bad day and asks for help.
I suffered with low mood, anxiety and panic attacks over whether I was a good enough mum to Ra-Ra, which let’s face it what new mum (or dad) doesn’t 00Steve did the night feeds as he finished late at night anyway and slept the morning so he enjoyed that time with her. He also took 6 weeks off after her birth to help me recover as it was my second abdominal surgery, not to mention being undiagnosed with pouchitis.
It has been suggested that I am trying to make up for that with Button, which to me is ridiculous. I am the first to say I don’t have the same bond with Ra-Ra as I do Button and part of that is probably from PND but mainly because she is an out and out daddies girl. I truly adore watching them together though as it makes my heart warm! Button is very much a typical mummy’s boy, in my mind having one of each and them being mummy’s boy and daddies girl means that we both have that bond with our children.
This time round I did the night feeds (I say did as he started sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks!!) from the first night we were home, in fact other than nights I have been away there has only been 2 nights where I have just basically fallen flat out and 00Steve has seen to Button when he has fussed. I have been able to bathe him from 6 weeks and I had a huge issue with bathing Ra-Ra for the fear I would accidentally drown her, so that’s a massive achievement for me.
I know a lot of me finding it easier this time round is because you are always more anxious when it comes to your first, hell it isn’t like they come with a bloody instruction manual. But I had a bad day, I would go as far to say the worst day I have ever had. But what parent of more than one doesn’t get frustrated when you have one crying and one doing god knows what that isn’t in the slightest what you wanted them to do, thank goodness I only have two! I’m one of three and 00Steve is one of four.
So basically a long story short, I went to see my health visitor and told her what happened, she was concerned and referred me to the crisis team who were happy that I wasn’t having a breakdown. I am now whether I like it or not being offered support from social services. Even though this has been more stressful than my bad day, I don’t regret talking to my health visitor because if nothing else I needed someone to talk too and I knew she was there. Sometimes someone outside your “bubble” see’s things worse off than it could be, because they don’t see you all the time. However on the flip side because they don’t see you that often they could see things that your support network can’t.
So for me they think that I could still be struggling with post natal depression yet I haven’t felt this comfortable as a parent of a baby before or even just being around a baby. I do think that post natal depression gets used as a “we can’t be bothered to really help you so here have this umbrella term.” a bit like Irritable Bowel Syndrome really. I have anxiety and some outside factors that are currently out of my control like my job, the uncertainty of if the sterilisation worked or not and the fact I haven’t worked through the trauma of Buttons birth yet.
People that say they want to support you through times of need should in my opinion not use umbrella terms, but actually try to find the root of the problem. Post natal depression is something that shouldn’t be an used in this fashion whatsoever, because I feel that it minimises what some women go through; as some may get it only mildly yet others incredibly severe. Like in all illnesses etc severity can vary tremendously yet each and every case should be treated with respect and dignity.
Please visit the campaign site by Sophie at Huddle And Cuddle, you can also find out more and read other posts over on Twitter page via @huddleandcuddle