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PND, PMS or just the usual madness?

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I have been feeling a little off recently. OK, whom am I kidding? I haven’t felt my normal self since the Pea was born more than eight months ago. Before you laugh at me – I don’t mean feeling like a spring chicken ready to play a round of beach volley before breakfast. Those days are LONG gone.

After Pea’s birth, which was a beautifully peaceful elective C-section, I had left the hospital on a high. A couple of days later, the baby blues had kicked in. Floods of tears, unstoppable, incontrollable crying, anxiousness… you name it. It only lasted for a week or two, however, once the tears ebbed off, a heavy numbness took their place.

Little L’s birth a couple of years ago had left me in such a state of shock; I can’t really tell you if I have been feeling blue or not. I was way too busy to get over my trauma to realise anything.

They say the baby blues usually doesn’t last more than a month. If symptoms persevere, talk to your midwife or doctor. Maybe I should have sought help around Christmas, when the Pea turned three months old*. I remember having the family here and I remember feeling… nothing. I usually love Christmas, so I put on my best happy face. I behaved in a way that I thought appropriate according to the feelings I was supposed to have but hadn’t.

I just realised how mad this sounds.

Gradually, I started to feel better. We sorted out Pea’s reflux, then her food intolerances, I started to sleep more, eat better, exercise again, work (I LOVE work!)… Most days now, I feel almost normal.

And then, once a month, there are the days when I feel REALLY off. When I am feeling so useless that I am convinced my family would be much better off without me. Most likely, on those days, they would be.

So. Where are we now? Baby blues morphed into PND morphed into PMS? Or just your usual crazy bird?

*I did seek help earlier and was prescribed Diazepam and Cyclogest, which went into the bin after reading the long list of side effects. There must be a better solution! 

20 Comments

  1. Becky says

    I totally get where you are, after my 2nd baby who is now 15 months I have been feeling like this. I am not sure what it is either, but every month I have a time of just feeling awful, really low and just not being able to face the day. I do need to get to the doctors!
    I hope you get sorted soon xxx

  2. Aww lovely… Not sure if that’s pms, pnd or anything else but what you have just described is EXACTLY how I felt for months after my V was born. Every months I would get that heavy feeling of being useless and a burden to my family. I even felt like packing my bag and leaving them all to it and they would be in a much better position. It was every month without fail. Until one day I thought someone must be able to help. I went to the GP but unfortunately saw someone else that day who was very quick to prescribe anti depressant. I called my own doctor to get it confirmed with him. He told me to first try magnesium and B6 vitamins for a couple of months and there was no improvement they would give me stronger stuff to balance my hormones.
    I don’t know if it was the psychological placebo effect or if it really helped but it got better every month until I didn’t have any of these dark hole days anymore. Speak to your GP it is important you get suitable support even just a chat. Pxxx

  3. Sanna says

    Hey!

    My baby boy (2nd child) was born in September. In November the PND kicked in. I was at a psychiatric clinic for 12 weeks. I am now on the waiting list for a special mother&baby unit to get proper PND treatment. I highly suggest to get professional help. It doesn’t sound like a major PND to me, but my experience says, that proper treatment ASAP is the best way to handle this. I would also suggest medication, when the doc thinks it’s necessary. I tried without and it didn’t do me any good. Now, that I take them, I am feeling much better. There is a loooong list of side effects, but I don’t have any. None. You should try. Plus, Diazepam is a good medication for PND. The longer you wait with proper treatment, the worse it might get (or not). Is there something like an encounter group in London? I bet there is. I am visiting one for PND mothers and they are a HUGE help. And I highly recommend the book by Brooke Shields, who had PND. It’s called “Down came the rain” and helped me a lot. Feel free to contact me via email if you got any questions. Unfortunately, after 6 months of dealing with this, I am kind of an expert. I am sending tons of white light your way, Sann

  4. Oh Met Mom, take a moment and congratulate yourself for accomplishing THE key steps way out ahead of the healing path ahead : you’re not denying it, you are feeling your feelings, you’re articulating your feelings, you realize you’re not yourself, and you want help. This kind of clarity in such a short time will serve you well!

    Each person’s set of hormones, set of emotions, set of marital dynamics, set of enzymes, sleep/waking clock and so forth differs by degree from the next. So there’s no group solution, you will need to find the Met Mom exclusive solution, ie the professional who takes every single thing you say and feel seriously. It took me three tries to find the therapist who was the perfect fit for the Me that I am. Meds are good, but meds are no good without the just-right therapist to prescribe and counsel you through this hell you’re going through.

    Don’t let dehydration sneak up on you. Sip Gatorade so your electrolytes stay in balance.

    Thinking of you and yours….

  5. I would definitely go back to your GP and discuss counselling as well as drugs. I know what you mean about the side effects. I have had to go on a lot of things in the past year which are scary, after suffering anxiety due to my chronic pain. You want to make sure you go on the right things, but not too much. It sounds like this is more than just PMS, to me.

  6. Please please please drop me a line MM. I went through similar after Boy #2 arrived and went to the most fantastic counsellor (at least, I thought so), who really helped me work out what was going on and how to deal with it. And since you live in the area I was in at the time, if she’s still practicing there she would be right on your doorstep.

    x

  7. Margarita says

    Oh darling, I know just how you feel… I’ve been a better with medication, but occasionally have a day where I am “off”, for lack of a better word.

    The numbness is the worst because it takes away the simple pleasures one should feel in life, the little joys help make everything better.

    I hope things look up for you soon. Good luck mama!

  8. if you don’t like the idea of meds I would recommend acupuncture and therapy. I suffer from anxiety and depression since I was a teenager and pregnancy was hard on me. I have ups and downs with some really low downs. My 11 month old is still breastfeeding – even though I wish he wasn’t – so I can’t take anything and have been referred to treatment by my own request. I do hope that helps.

  9. Firstly you are allowed to feel like this and secondly you need to start charting the “off days” I knew it was PDN when there was more off than on days.

    I took medication, but it was CBT that made a huge difference to my life and my perspective and it still does, everyday.

    Can you seek some help?

    Also what about starflower and evening primrose oil and then if it is PMT you are doing something about it.

  10. Sorry to hear this Deborah
    I have no personal experience with PND but I’ve had to deal with anxiety and grieving and I would strongly recommend you CBT and a hypnotherapy (most therapists are able to combine the two). I have blogged about my therapist and since finding him, despite some bad news and sad situations in my life, I have a newly found strength and clarity. He’s in Primrose Hill but I’d be happy to pass on his details. I say sod the meds and work with the mind first. But that’s only my experience

  11. Pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding + sleep deprivation really mess up our hormonal balance. I no longer officially have PND but I’m often in total robot mode – just going through the motions. As for me – Running helps, eating well helps, I think taking Agnus Castus helps, I think being off the pill helps (no artificial hormones in the system). Sunshine and summer would hugely help but unfortunately I can’t control that :)

  12. Emma says

    MM – I hear you!! I have had very similar feelings since my first baby was born in September. I imagined feeling…. well, what everyone talks about feeling …. but it was such a fast and traumatic birth that my over-riding feeling was being scared. When I got home anxiety kicked in and, at Christmastime (feeling nothing like you say), I sought help. With counselling and medicinal help, the anxiety subsided …. but I still have this feeling of numbness. I feel like I want to feel but it’s locked away. In talking to a Cognitive Therapist, I got a little understanding that my need for certainty (and control) are unrealistic with a new baby … and so I’m out of my comfort zone. And to control ever feeling anything bad (the things I’m anxious of), I’ve shut off all good feelings too. I sometimes see chinks of light peeking through…. I trust that it will slowly but surely “fix” itself.

    But thank you so much for sharing. I don’t feel so alone or such a terrible mummy now ….. (Here come the water-works)

  13. I don’t have children yet so can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with feeling like that and also have little ones to look after!
    I know people don’t like to take medication (especially when you read all the scary side effects) but I can honestly say I dont think i would be here today if it wasn’t for being on prescription anti depressants for the past 2 years. I have literally (as in last tablet Is on Saturday) just come off of them after slowly weaning myself to a lower dose over past few months and so far I feel fine. I am in no way healed from the depression/anxiety but I no longer feel like I’m going mad.
    Maybe it’s worth talking to GP again and see what they can suggest to maybe take at a very small dose to take the edge of off those feelings slightly each month? The problem is if your expecting to feel like it every few weeks you can grow to anticipate it and get yourself into that state prematurely, it’s a vicious cycle but it can be broken with time xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  14. saf says

    Hi vitamin b6 helps a lot, that and huge amounts of omega 3 and vitamin d. If I were you I would see a nutria-therapist. Emma Wells is great, she can do the appropriate testing to see if you would benefit from supplementation, but I found b6 and b12 made a huge difference- this is backed by all sorts if studies. Also cognitive Behaviour Therapy helps a lot too!
    If you are into it, homeopathy was thing that helped me the most.
    I went through all of this and found medications far too scary, so went down this route.

  15. Whatever it is, it’s hormonal. I hate that feeling of numbness though, because it saps your energy and in my case, I can actually not do a lot of things I should be doing. Even with a 20 year old and younger kids, I still get the occasional monthly day or two of numbness, where I have to remind myself that it will pass and I also have to make sure I don’t make any important decisions at that time otherwise I’ll regret them when the cloud passes.

  16. aw, love! i think a new baby, no matter if you’ve gone through it before is completely overwhelming in a bad way. i mean, its supposed to be awesome, but geez, its exhausting in every way!

  17. KensingtonMums says

    I know the feeling and trust me when I say this but every Mum I know including myself have been through this pathway. I also do not believe in drugs, but instead believe that we need to work on deep inner self to make us feel better and most of all content with the life we now have. I live by this quote: life is what you make out of it. Would love to meet up one day, once all the organisation of the motherhood exhibition is done. If you are up for it, would love to see you there! x

  18. Love the new header.

    I haven’t read the other comments, but I’m guessing we’re all saying “do something”. Whether it’s acupuncture, seeing a counsellor, homeopathy. Whatever. Do something.

    I think the fact that you wrote and published this post is a sign that you do want to do something. That’s a huge step. Can you find the energy inside to take the next one?

  19. Sorry for the late comment, might seem a bit irrelevant now, but i’m only just catching up on some of my regular blog reads after a hectic couple of weeks! I don’t know if this is any help, but I’ve been in a similar boat since having Sasha (number 2) 13 months ago- felt quite down for about 6 months after her birth, then thankfully much better. I still, however, have days where my moods are all over the place and I can feel like shit and quite tearful and snappy for no clear reason. I’m not exactly sure what the reasons are exactly, but after keeping a diary, I’m wondering if it’s hormonal for me, and things are taking time to settle back down after two pregnancies close together. I’ve never had PMT as such, but since changing contraceptives in the NY I feel a bit squiffy mood-wise. Hoping things settle down in the next few months, if not, i’ll be heading down the docs. Sorry to waffle, but wanted you to know you’re not alone in feeling a bit ‘off’. Writing this down is hopefully first step to feeling better and getting ‘sorted’, whatever that means or whatever that takes. Hope you have a better week!

    Becky (‘Formerly ‘young,hip and homely’ blog, now http://www.nearlylondon.com )

  20. Pingback: Being Addicted To Diazepam Killed Him - The Good Mother Project

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