This is my article about Joanne (*not her real name). Joanne had 3 miscarriages and suffered postnatal depression and now she suffers from high anxiety. She has 2 sons, one aged 4 and the other is 9 months.
When I interviewed Joanne, she was fairly nervous as it was hard for her to talk about her feelings. It’s not surprising, for most women in her position. But thankfully, she found courage to talk to me, and I’d like to think it’s kinda because I bribed her with cake *wink wink*.
What caused your postnatal depression and anxiety?
Joanne tragically had 3 miscarriages. And when she fell pregnant with her second son, she experienced a high level of anxiety, wondering everyday if she was going to lose this baby. She was worried that the steroids she was taking for her pregnancy, would affect her baby inside her (These steroids were known to cause cleft palates/lips). She understood that in the grand scheme of things, a cleft palate was nothing to worry about as long as she had a healthy baby. But she still couldn’t help feeling anxious about it. Wouldn’t you feel the same? And to make things just a little harder, her husband was, and still isn’t, providing a supportive role in their marriage.
When the younger son was born, for two months, all he did was cry. And there was nothing Joanne could do to comfort him or help calm him down. She found out later that he had ‘silent reflux’. Her doctor, at the time, even told her that there was nothing wrong with her baby as he was putting weight on. Her baby boy cried non-stop, was so clingy and she felt she couldn’t cope. And yet, she carried so much guilt, she felt she should be grateful for having him, since she’s had so many miscarriages.
“I was feeling TOTALLY alone… I felt so alone.”
What was your worst day like?
Joanne’s worst day would be when her little boy wouldn’t stop crying and there was nothing she could do. “I felt like I was crumbling inside. I felt like a shell, and there was nothing left of me. I was just cracking, and falling apart and I struggled to keep myself together. But I had to keep myself strong for my role. For a long time, I kinda lost who I was.”
Have you ever had any irrational thoughts?
“I was going through a hard time with my husband, and I was driving in the car on my own, I’ve thought of just crashing the car”.
Now, I know this is a hard question for everyone. It’s not something we talk about out loud. If we told the truth about our fleeting irrational thoughts out loud, thoughts that have come when we’ve hit rock bottom, when we feel deep down that there is nothing left of us, we would get judged, BIG TIME. I have had thoughts that were so terrible, that when I think about it now, I still get so incredibly sad at the state of mind I was in.
What do you do for therapy now?
Joanne takes 10mg of Escitalopram everyday and sees a psychologist, something her husband still doesn’t know about. She used to go to a local support group for mums going through postnatal depression, while they have finished with the support group sessions, she still regularly catches up with those mums. She feels they understand and relate to each other and do not judge each other for how they feel. They know their feelings are real and normal and they’re not the only ones going through it.
Joanne has also recently started exercising again and it’s helped her “feel better and stronger” about herself and that is when she can “zone in” on herself. She also has her friends from her mothers group that she’s known since she’s had her first child, who give her support.
Joanne wants everyone going through this to know how important it is to talk to people. “You’re not alone in the world with the emotions you’re going through. Just TALK to someone. It’s okay to have these feelings. Just remember to talk to someone.”
Thank you Joanne, for being so brave and finding the courage to speak to me. I am ever so grateful.
Most of us, men and women, who are struggling inside, often have to put on a brave face on the outside. How else would you have friends around you? If you were sad all the time, maybe your friends would stop wanting to see you as often. These are sad thoughts that often go through our minds. Hence, we hold the pain INSIDE. Especially to those who haven’t been through what we’ve been through. They just wouldn’t and couldn’t understand.
I hope this article will give some insight to those who haven’t been through postnatal depression or suffered the misfortune of a miscarriage.
Can you relate to Joanne? Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.