Look at you three, a perfect little family and looking tired but happy celebrating MG being one month old. But I know your smile faded as soon as the camera was put down. I know you were one month in to an experience that was far from happy and you hadn’t slept a wink for the last 3 weeks. Here’s what I know 5 years later and what I wish I could have told you back then:
- You gave breastfeeding your best shot. MG was in neo-natal and you became mentally ill – it was never going to work and it wasn’t your fault. She thrived on formula and is now the most healthy, perfect 5 year old.You are now proud of how you fed your baby.
- Your family won’t be better off without you. This illness will get worse and your family will go to pieces. They need you so much and you have to fight to get better for them. You and MG share such a close bond. She is everything she is because of you. So without you, your family would fall apart.
- You will not be ashamed to tell people you had post-natal depression. You will volunteer for a charity (PANDAS) and will tell your story. You and MG will be in the local press for your sponsored walks (raising almost £3k), you will talk to Anne Diamond (I know!) on BBC radio, and at a webinar to over 100 Lloyds Bank employees.
- You do get better. Through an MBU, medication, a social worker, a trainee CBT therapist, a psychiatrist, your Mam moving in, your husband sticking with you, your new Mummy friends, PANDAS, going back to work and becoming a Christian. There is no one cure, stop searching for it and take recovery one step at a time.
- You haven’t gone crazy or lost your mind. This is an illness which is just as real as a physical one but admittedly so much harder to bear. This will honestly make you stronger, more compassionate and an awesome Mummy.
- You will experience friendship like you have never know before. You will find a group of Mummy rocks, most of whom you didn’t even know 6 months ago. They will become like family to you and teach you what real friendship is. They will help you accept yourself completely.
So my darling girl, you DO get better and you have a life so much better than you could ever have imagined. MG and Mr B are your world, you laugh every day and you feel so much love for them that your heart could burst.