READER REPORT:

Parent trap: Don't blame yourself

MARY BARR
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
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Fairfax
STRUGGLE: People are often still judgmental if new mums don't seem to be coping.

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I am writing in support of an article I have just read from a mother who has suffered from post-natal depression. My first baby is now 27 but I will never forget the first year of his life and the overwhelming force that can be post-natal depression.

I was always someone who could do anything. But this positive, bubbly and generally capable person was reduced to a guilt ridden, sad creature with a wonderful husband who tried to help, but neither of us knew what was wrong or how to deal with it. It took six months for anyone to realise how bad it was and then I got the help I needed.

Thankfully there is much more information out there now about post-natal depression but people are often still judgmental if new mums don't seem to be coping. I couldn't breast feed and that was hugely difficult for me on an emotional level because I was 'letting everyone down'. There wasn't then, and there isn't now, much support for bottle feeding mums.

The fact that no-one close to me had ever suffered from the problem was also difficult for me and this lead to problems between my mother and I, when I desperately needed her. Because she didn't know what was wrong, she thought I should be getting on with it. It took a long time to come to terms with that one I can tell you.

If you are struggling, don't forget your partner. It is easy to think that the depressed mum is the only one who needs help. It can also be a lonely, worrying time for new dads who are trying to help and who do not have a lot of support around them.

The good news is - you can get help and it does get better. Don't bother with negative people. We have two beautiful children who, despite the tough start, have become wonderful adults. Most of all try not to blame yourself. Stuff happens in life and it makes you better able to understand others in tough situations.


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