This Sandycove home on the market for €1.95 million is stunning inside and out
This Sandycove home on the market for €1.95 million is stunning inside and out

Megan Burns

Meet the Irish designer brightening people’s homes with her beautiful designs
Meet the Irish designer brightening people’s homes with her beautiful designs

Sarah Finnan

Can we stop pretending that Jamie Spears did Britney a favour by petitioning to end the conservatorship
Can we stop pretending that Jamie Spears did Britney a favour by petitioning to end...

Lauren Heskin

‘A story of being trafficked’: Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre has a right to be heard
‘A story of being trafficked’: Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre has a right to be...

Jennifer McShane

‘Creative minds always thrive in adversity’: Author Louise Candlish on her latest (greatest) thriller
‘Creative minds always thrive in adversity’: Author Louise Candlish on her latest (greatest) thriller

Amanda Cassidy

Rotunda Hospital to extend visiting hours for partners of pregnant women
Rotunda Hospital to extend visiting hours for partners of pregnant women

Jennifer McShane

15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news
15 underrated Netflix gems that will distract you from the news

Jennifer McShane

‘Sleeptember’ and how to create an adult bedtime routine that actually works
‘Sleeptember’ and how to create an adult bedtime routine that actually works

Sarah Finnan

Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer
Actor Richard E Grant reveals late wife Joan had lung cancer

Jennifer McShane

Kitchen accessories under €30 to get you excited to cook again
Kitchen accessories under €30 to get you excited to cook again

Megan Burns

Image / Editorial

Postnatal depression: ‘I’m so sorry to my little Lukey that I didn’t want to cuddle him at the start of his life’


by IMAGE
24th Feb 2020
blank

Around 15 per cent of new mothers in Ireland experience postnatal depression. Babs Richmond is one of them. Here she writes candidly about the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness she experienced after the birth of her first child, and the steps she took to get on the road to recovery


Five weeks ago, I went for a scan to meet my baby, who will come into the world in May.

This will be my second child. I’m the mother to a beautiful boy, Luke, who turned two in December. He’s amazing — and I love every minute of motherhood — but there was a stage after his birth when I didn’t think I’d be welcoming another child into my world.

Being a mum is supposed to be the most special time of your life, but this was not the case for me. Having a winter baby was great as we had Christmas to distract us and there were lots of visitors popping by and lots of generosity from people.

It was a happy time, don’t get me wrong, but it was overwhelming too. The weather was another challenge as it was the year of the bad snow.

I was lucky that my husband had a good amount of time off work initially, but then he went back to work fully and this is when it all hit me.

I felt like he was gone and I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was all on my own with nobody around me, even though I had a beautiful bundle of joy to cuddle all day long.

I felt alone.

All I wanted to do was stay in bed and curl up — I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow. First I was staring at my baby and then, as the days went on, I just couldn’t sleep, and my head was spinning, going around and around in circles.

I didn’t want to cuddle him, feed him or change his nappy

I didn’t want to be near my beautiful baby boy. I didn’t want to cuddle him, feed him or change his nappy. I just wanted someone to take him — I nearly felt sick looking at him.

My world had changed, and I couldn’t cope, even though it had all been going so well at the start. To be honest, I didn’t think anything was wrong with me until my mum and husband made me go to the GP. “No, I’m fine,” I would say, but they told me one day that I had started talking to myself and it was at this point that they knew something was wrong.

I’m a very emotional person anyway and I couldn’t even cry — not one tear would come out. I’d just stare into the distance. I went with my mum to the GP who sat me down and listened to me. We chatted for what felt like hours but it still feels like a bit of a blur.

The doctor quickly diagnosed me with postnatal depression. What was that? I couldn’t have that, I thought to myself, but as I was told more about it, it finally clicked and I realised this was the case.

They say about 80% of women get the ‘baby blues’ at one point or another after having a baby, but 15% get postnatal depression. When I looked into it I realised that it is so common, but it is simply not talked about at all.

Friends of mine who have had babies made it look so easy, but I now know that people do find it difficult but just don’t show it and keep it hidden away.

I saw a psychologist for three sessions, and then I was recommended to do a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It was a six-week course, with an intense two evenings a week and it even came with homework.

This did wonders for me, and although there were no other postnatal Mums on the course, I took away a lot of the coping methods — some as simple as exercising and eating well.

I still wonder why this happened to me. I had a traumatic birth and suffered a third-degree tear. I was brought to theatre straight after I delivered to have a repair and I had to have surgery again, a few weeks after the birth, for a further repair. Your body does wonders during pregnancy and childbirth, but nobody tells you the effects of what happens during or after the birth.

Life was busy at the time just before I gave birth. My husband and I had moved into our new home the month before, which is an extremely stressful process. My Mum had just gone through open-heart surgery the September before.

Luke was born and I was on another journey. I am adopted, and I had started this journey of finding my birth mother and soon after, to my surprise, found out that I had a birth sister who is a few years older than me with a child of her own.

At the time I never thought that all these big changes might have been part of the reason why I got postnatal depression but in hindsight, it’s no doubt that they were. That said, many people get postnatal depression without having such added events.

In May I will welcome another baby to the world. I am very lucky that throughout this process I have been surrounded by a very special group of family, especially my husband Neale, who didn’t really know how to deal with me when times were tough. He was amazing and I know it was pretty hard on him too.

My wonderful mum, who has always been there for me, to lend a shoulder to cry on or listen when times were tough. It was great to be able to listen and know it wasn’t just me with all of these feelings.

My family and my extended family were always looking out for me, as were my amazing friends. I’m so sorry to my little Lukey that I didn’t want to cuddle him at the start of his life. I never want to feel like that again and I hope I’ve made up for it.

What I have gone through is not unique. It was a horrible experience and people may face some parts of it at some point. My advice to them is to talk to professionals and let them guide you in the right direction.
Talk, talk, talk is what I would say to anyone who feels low. It doesn’t need to be this silent thing after you have a baby. There are so many supports out there and it’s okay to look for help.

Postnatal depression can be managed with treatment. It is important to get help as early as you can. For help and support, contact Postnatal Depression Ireland (pnd.ie) or hse.ie 

Read more: Postnatal Depression: I tried to take my own life

Read more: ‘My birth was not like my pregnancy. It was complicated, scary and brutal’

Read more: Comment: ‘Female post-natal health is still simply an afterthought and it isn’t good enough’

Also Read

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Join The Club to Avail of Your Complimentary Tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

alternative asthma treatments
EDITORIAL
Three alternative asthma treatments to try this hayfever season

Approximately 80% of people with asthma also suffer from hayfever, which can make summer days a nightmare. These three alternative...

By Grace McGettigan

blank
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy