I’m Melanie, mum to 5 fabulous kids, Imogen 20, Jessica 18, Hugh 14, Henry 11, and Emilia 4.
All those very many years ago when I first became a mum, life was simple and good. Yes, there were breast feeding problems, anxieties about how I would look after them, sleep deprivation, etc but on the whole I could cope. Post natal groups and support was plenty, I made good friends,in fact I would say the time with my two little preschool girls was amongst the happiest periods in my life.
Then we moved and within a short time I was pregnant for the third time. I wasn’t near family and friends anymore and when he finally arrived there was no post natal group offered to me, and I began to feel increasingly alone. When I filled in a questionaire which highlighted to the health visitor that I may have pnd I got a phone call asking if I was ok. I lied, not wanting to be a failure and not wanting the stigma of mental illness and that was the end of any support. I suppose they presumed I could cope because I already had two children but the reality was different. My self esteem plummeted as I found it difficult to make friends, I became more isolated and just functioned without enjoying life, even though I had three lovely happy children. With no where to turn and with no one to talk to things got worse.
When I became pregnant again I was still suffering from pnd and after his birth my self esteem was so low that I just wanted to disappear. I stopped eating and I did begin to disappear the weight fell off me. At first this made me feel good but I couldn’t look after all my children and not eat. I developed bulimia and this continued for years… Low self esteem led to bingeing, bingeing lead to purging, purging led to self loathing and low self esteem. I was trapped.
Then crisis point came one new years eve when I wanted to make not existing a reality. I Finally realised I needed medical help and set on the long long road to recovery. It was very difficult in truth with good days and black days but I got there, trying many different approaches along the way.
I have since been blessed with Emilia, and as an older, more confident mum it has been much easier.
I have no doubt that with more support in those early days my story would be completely different which is why when approached to help set up PSP I didn’t hesitate. I want other mums to have what I didn’t have, simply someone to talk to, someone who won’t judge and who will understand. It is incredibly important.