Mum and founder of Lobella Loves Jo Love talks about her fight against postnatal depression and advises how those suffering can move forward with their lives.
It was a misty January morning when I decided I was going to leave my 8-month-old baby and my husband. I was going to get on a train and never come back. I didn’t care where the train was going I just wanted to get as far away as possible. I truly believed no one would notice or even care if I just disappeared like this. In fact I was certain in my own mind that my family would actually be a lot better off without me. These weren’t exactly suicidal thoughts; although in the darkest moments if I’m totally honest these did flitter into my thoughts, it was more I had an overwhelming feeling that I didn’t want to exist anymore. The pressure was too much and didn’t know how to deal with it.
People often say reaching out and getting help is the hard part, and while I whole-heartedly agree, my diagnosis was a bitter pill to swallow (no pun intended). Despite how much mental health is spoken about in the media, there is still an enormous amount of stigma surrounding it, particularly going on medication. I felt I had failed twice, I’d failed at being the ‘perfect mum’ and hadn’t been able to live up to that mummy pressure we all see and feel, and I’d failed at basically being able to hold my mind together. Mum-guilt combined with depression stigma was a cruel beast for me to battle.
I heard a scary statistic the other day that suicide is the number one cause of death to mums with an under one year old. We have to change this shocking statistic. I never went on that lonely train journey in the end as I had a suspicion where it might end, and it wasn’t good. What my journey with PND made me realise, that I needed to do all I could to make sure no woman ends up getting to that dark and lonely place. Or if she does, she needs to know she’d not alone and the pressure to be a perfect mum need not be overwhelming.
My business has eased some of that pressure for me and has certainly helped in my recovery. When you do something that not only takes your mind away from that dark place but also actively helps others on their journey out of the darkness it can only lead to good things.
Our online marketplace of beautiful treasures for little people, seeks to ease the stress felt by busy mums giving them one convenient and easy shopping location. But we wanted it to do more than just that, so we give money from every sale to Cocoon Family Support a charity supporting families suffering from pre and postnatal mental health issues to help them continue the amazing work they do.
My tips for dealing with PND
- You haven’t failed – I cannot emphasise this one enough, so I’ll say it again YOU HAVE NOT FAILED!
- Do whatever you can to stay well, speak to your GP and get help. Also know that sometimes ‘me time’/ meditation/exercise just isn’t enough – don’t be ashamed if you need to go on medication.
- Banish the guilt – good ol’ ‘mum-guilt’ gets to everyone at times, but don’t let it linger, remember being a good enough Mum is good enough.
- You are not alone. One thing I’ve learned in my journey more than anything else is this is so prevalent. Whether people have suffered pre or post-natal depression, anxiety, anger, or whether their condition has been officially diagnosed or they’ve suffered in silence, there’s an army of women out there who’ve walked in your shoes and have got your back. So start sharing and as you do you will see you are not alone and the support is out there.
Article by Jo Love. from Lobella Loves.