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I had a hard pregnancy, a very difficult birth, and when my daughter was born, I looked down at my 7 pounds of blonde cuddly baby, I didn’t feel what I expected- no rush of hormonal teary love, no gushing, no giddiness. Not anything.
 I felt terrible that this poor sweet baby had been given to me- a mother who didn’t feel what she was “supposed” to feel when looking at her new baby daughter for the first time.

I spent the next weeks and months going through the motions, doing what I believed ‘good’ mothers did with their babies. My husband knew I was having a hard time, and each day when he came home, tired and weary from work, he would gently take her, cuddle her, bath her and play with her. Rather than feeling grateful that he was doing so much, instead, I felt as if he was-by his actions- calling me a bad mother. After all, if I was any good, he wouldn’t “need” to do these things, would he?

We had decided early-on on ‘attachment’ style parenting, which meant sharing a room with baby, and as my husband needed to get up early for work and the baby didn’t sleep through the night yet, many nights he slept on the couch so I could get a few more minutes sleep. As time went on, I became used to feeling a combination of guilt and shame that I wasn’t stacking up in the mothering department, but was determined no one should find out exactly how bad I felt- not realising that if I had asked for help, I likely would have received it quickly.

One morning though, it changed. At four months, my little blonde bundle had grown into a happy, wriggly, and charming baby. I vaguely remember hearing the front door shut as my husband left for work, and settled back to sleep, before feeling a soft pat-pat on my cheek. She had wriggled over to the edge of her cot and stretched out her arm to touch my face. She saw me open my eyes and just beamed at me.

All of a sudden it hit me- the wave of emotion I felt I had missed out on at birth- the awe inspiring rush of maternal love, and giddy ‘I can’t believe I am your mum’ feeling.

I realised then that to this little person, I was her whole world, and she was very happy to have it this way.

This moment was the break-through moment for me, when I began to feel normal again. I understand now that I was experiencing postnatal depression, and I urge other mothers in this position to seek help- I know I missed out on the first precious months of my daughter’s life because I did not.

This Real Story is by KATE_REID, 02/12/2013
  • We are fortunate that PND is recognised and treatment is available.
    It makes me wonder how our ancestors survived as well as they did. Many of them were home births with very little or no assistance. A lot had no other people living close by. The Dads weren’t shown how to do anything to help. They often worked long hours and got home after dark. My Great Grandparents and Grandparents told we younger ones how life was back then. Some remarked about the wonderful advances in treatment and how new Mums could ask and receive help to recover from Depression and other issues endured.

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  • You fell in love the same time I did, the day our babies were born. I didn’t know what love was til then

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  • Really interesting article! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • Thank you so much for your honesty — we are our own worst critics and sometimes it’s difficult to remember that doing the best we can is all we can do. It all sorts itself out in the end — if it’s not sorted out it’s not the end!

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  • A lovely story :), I’m glad the wave found you :). I think there should be a lot more follow up for PND, too often people slip through the cracks because they hide it through embarrassment.

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  • Beautiful story – I know a mum that has postnatal depression too, it is very important to seek help immediately.

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  • you get that wave a few times in life

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  • so pleased with a happy ending, it can be very hard to deal with PND

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  • Post natal depression can be a roller coaster ride of negative emotions

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  • a lovely read, I fell in love the moment I knew

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  • I think a lot of mother’s go through a mild form of post natal depression without it ever being diagnosed..

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  • I think we fall inlove from the moment of conception, but that first kick enforces it

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  • there is a moment when things just seem so right

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  • I know how you felt, it was the same for me with our eldest son. We had fertility drugs to assist getting pregnant over a couple of years, followed by a miscarriage. When our long awaited, much wanted baby boy finally arrived it was almost like I was too afraid to love him, just in case.

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  • this is a very good read

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