Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:52 pm
Post subject: Post natal depression - important advice to mums...
I've been fighting PND since the birth of my son in October 2010. My doctor was helping me, and I was seeing a mental health practitioner who did a full risk assessment and deemed me and my son safe. My medication was working.
I was on the road to recovery last July when a health visitor decided to butt in. She called social services, and they turned up on my doorstep the next morning. It was all handled very badly, and I have made several complaints to the different teams involved. A report then written by a social worker claimed that in the future I might harm my son - despite my recovery and evidence showing that I was a good mum and my son was indeed safe. Further complaints ensued...
My husband and I met today with the area manager for the team that issued the report, and had a two-hour discussion about what needed changing. I fought, and pushed, and stuck to my guns. She couldn't actually say that the woman who wrote the report had made a mistake, but she did finally relent to agreeing to change the wording.
So - the alarming stuff about my son possibly suffering harm in the future is to be taken out, finally. I am still shaking, but I am relieved.
Scarily - she told us that my doctor should have contacted social services THE MOMENT he knew about my PND symptoms and horrid thoughts! She didn't comment on what action she's taking against him for failing to tell them. But crikey - it means mums have more to fear: if you suffer from PND and you have intrusive thoughts (about your child) then social services WILL visit you and assess you. I appreciate it's for the child - but they do damage in the process, and because of the baby P case they wave red flags at situations that don't need it. I've done some research, the Munro report has highlighted this and has advised the agency to be more considerate about taking things in context, but at the end of the day they won't relinquish their power.
I was honest with my family and close friends right from the start when I realised I had PND. I sought help in many forms, and attended all manner of toddler groups. I even took my baby swimming. At no point did any of the people we came into contact with have any worries about my son, and they knew I was determined to beat PND. Sadly, one rogue health visitor wanted to vent her authority over my health visitor, and she called social services WITHOUT TELLING ME!
I'm more scared of social services rocking up on my doorstep than I am the police....
My advice? If you suffer from PND, consider all your symptoms.
* If you need help - ask for it, and highlight the symptoms that directly affect YOU.
* Do not confide too deeply if you are having intrusive thoughts along the lines of "wanting to throw the baby out of the window when he or she won't sleep"..... (every mother feels like this at some point!)
* Tell your doctor about your frustration, exhaustion, your constant crying, nightmares, panic attacks, headaches, worries that your baby doesn't love you, worries that you are a bad mother. Don't let him/her fob you off - insist that you need help.
* Get counselling.
* Consider medication if you think it will help - it helped me (hormone imbalance caused my PND). I was breastfeeding so could only take certain 'safe' drugs. I tried Seroxat, then switched to Sertraline. [I have now recovered from PND.]
* Find a close friend or family member that can help you, so if you are having a 'wobble' you can contact them and they can calm you down.
There are so many agencies that care about child protection, but what about the mum? If mum is happy - baby is happy.
I'm not going to give up on PND - I hope I can help other mums avoid getting mixed up in the mess I found myself in. I have a meeting planned with my local MP at the end of the month!
If anyone reads this and is struggling, feel free to private message me. If I can help, I will.