Incredible Film Features Mums Sharing Their Postnatal Depression Stories
Stop everything. I'm serious; if you've ever experienced postnatal depression then you need to drop everything and watch the video on our Facebook page right now. In fact, forget that. It's a must-watch for every mum, because I suspect many of us have experienced symptoms of postnatal depression without ever really realising that that's what we were going through.
Film maker Jill Krause created this stunning short film for PortpartumProgress.org to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and to let mums know they are not alone. And that they are still good mums, even if they are struggling.
Now if you're anything like me, even the phrase 'perinatal mood and anxiety disorders' is enough to have you running for the hills. I know when I've suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety in the past that the only thing worse than those symptoms themselves was the deep-seated terror that I might be losing my marbles. For a long time I put off seeking any kind of help because I was afraid - genuinely - of being carted off by the men in white coats while my children watched on in horror.
And that's why I love this film - because it's real mums being real about the dark stuff that we try to hide, even from those we love, because we're afraid of failing our kids. But in reality, getting help for depression was the best thing I ever did. It helped put me back together which in turn helped me parent my kids to the very best of my ability, instead of barely being there except in body whilst mentally feeling like I was being forever dragged underwater by my hair. That's the closest explanation I can find for how it felt to battle anxiety by myself.
So watch this film and do me a favour. If you relate to even one tiny iota of what these mums express, reach out to someone and ask for help. It will be the best thing you'll do. No-one's going to snatch your kids out of your care, declare you an unfit mother, or send the men in white coats for you. But it just might be the step forward towards feeling like yourself again, and being the mum you know you can be.
If you're not sure whether or not you are suffering from postnatal depression, have a read of the NHS Choices information on postnatal depression here. It's invaluable, and contains further advice on how to get help from your GP. Rest assured that anti-depressants are not the only treatment available, and postnatal depression is a TEMPORARY condition which you can recover from.
Here's how the mums in this film describe their experience of getting help for postnatal depression:
"Once I got help I knew... I could be the mum I always wanted to be."
"I started feeling like myself again."
"I wasn't over-analysing every bad thing that could happen and I wasn't crying as much."
"You feel right now like you're going to feel like this for the rest of your life but it does get better."
"We're not horrible, crazy, weak people... I am a good mum, even with postnatal depression."
Yup. Nailed it, ladies.
I remember, a few months after several sessions with a psychotherapist helped me find myself again, walking down the street and suddenly realising that I felt really and truly content for the first time in months - no worries, no anxiety eating away at my stomach - totally care-free. What really struck me then was how, in my darkest hour, I had contemplated the possibility that my kids would be better off without me.
What a sobering thought to realise that if I'd acted on that short-term feeling, I might never have been around to see that it would pass, and that bright days would be back again. But it all began with picking up the phone and making an appointment to pour it all out to my GP.
Do come and share your own thoughts on this fantastic film over on our Facebook page. And if you're struggling with the kind of feelings voiced by the mums in this film, you might just find some support there too. As they say so eloquently - you're not alone, and don't have to face this by yourself.