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Digital Subscriptions > Motherdom Magazine > Issue 01 > MY STORY



I’m eight months pregnant with my second child and I don’t feel good. I’m in my car, parked outside my daughter’s preschool - I’ve just dropped her off.

It started when I was about six months in – but there was a lot going on. My husband was away, we were doing our house up, I was working part time and looking after a toddler whilst growing another human being in my tummy! I would wake up some mornings with a sinking feeling in my stomach that stayed there for the whole day. It wasn’t every day – some days I felt normal, great even. But when I did start to feel anxious or low, I hid it very well from everyone around me. I didn’t tell anyone – not even my husband or parents. So when all those things changed – my husband was home, our house was finished, I’d started my maternity leave, I thought that I would feel better. I didn’t. Fast forward two months – in my car, on my own. I still haven’t told anyone. But I’ve decided that today, I’m going to ask for help. I pick up my phone and dial the number I’ve been looking at for about a week. A lady picks up on the other end, “Hello, this is the PANDAS helpline.” I stutter. And start to cry. Saying these words out loud for the first time is harder than I thought. “I think I need some help”, I tell this perfect stranger who I’ve never met. But she’s very kind and tells me that she went through postnatal depression when she had her twins, and they’re 7 now. She’s recovered, and there is hope. I only speak to her for about five minutes and she tells me to make an appointment with my GP. I wasn’t expecting her to say that (I don’t know what I was expecting!) but this gives me some direction, so I do what she says. Then I call my husband. Repeating “I need help” to my GP is hard too, but not as hard as the first time. I’m still very emotional and raw, and scared. “I’m worried if I tell you how I’m feeling then you’ll take my daughter away” I tell her. She reassures me that that’s not going to happen, that I’ve done the right thing and that she’s going to get me help. I’m incredibly lucky as within what feels like days I’m having a phone consultation with my local NHS therapeutic team and then am fast tracked to receive one-to-one CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions with a perinatal clinical psychologist. I have about twelve sessions with my therapist on and off until my baby is six months old. These sessions are life changing and mindblowing. They teach me that I’m more than my thoughts, that my thoughts don’t need to control me, and that I can even change my patterns of thinking. The sessions are sometimes really hard, but sometimes really fun! After being very hesitant at first, (“I’m not someone who needs therapy” having been my mantra for years), I actually start to look forward to it. We talk about so much stuff – from my negative feelings around my birth plan, then after my son was born adjusting to looking after two kids on even less sleep, to my fears of giving everyone food poisoning (I used to google how long to cook a chicken every week, even though I always bought the same size chicken and knew how long to cook it for). My therapist sits patiently with me as we write down a food plan in order to manage those feelings. We also talk about my values in life, what’s important to me as a mum, a woman, a wife, a career gal.

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About Motherdom Magazine

If you're a parent with kids under 5 and you're interested in maintaining positive mental wellbeing, this is for you. Motherdom’s first issue is packed full of real life stories about maternal mental health, expert pieces from perinatal healthcare and wellbeing practitioners, and practical stuff too - mindfulness for you and your kids, yummy recipes and physical exercises you can do at home! Motherdom has been created by former BBC journalist and mum-of-two Anna Ceesay, who also went through her own maternal mental health issues. Issue 1's theme is "You're not alone".