World Mental Health Day is happening on 10th October. We are looking to continue these conversations by providing support for parents to have them.

We spoke with Rosey, founder of PND and Me. Rosey hosts a weekly, hour long twitter conversation called #PNDHour, that provides a safe space for people to discuss topics related to pre and postnatal illness. Rosey has her own lived experiences with antenatal and postnatal depression and shares her story about what helped her.

When and how did you seek help for antenatal and postnatal depression?

Although I suffered with depression in my first and second pregnancies, it wasn’t until my third that I finally received professional help. My mental health in my third pregnancy was by far my worst experience; I felt incredibly angry, utterly exhausted and alone.

At a routine appointment at my local doctor’s surgery, I met a wonderful midwife who saw beyond my façade and heard the words I wasn’t saying; I was making light of how tough things were. She recognised my symptoms of depression and that I needed some additional support. She emphasised to me how it important it was that I look after myself as much as I look after others. She arranged for me to see the GP straight away; I think she could tell I wouldn’t have returned to follow up with my mental health.  I was seen by an empathetic and reassuring  GP who prescribed me a low dose of antidepressants which I believe saved my life.

Looking back on my pregnancies and how I struggled on in silence. I wish I had met this midwife during my earlier pregnancies as support at an earlier stage could have made a huge difference.

What challenges did you face when  seeking help for depression?

The biggest barrier to me for seeking help was the social stigma associated with  mental health, as well as my own preconceptions. I felt that I should have been able to cope; other women cope, so why couldn’t I?

Since I started PND and Me, I have encountered many women who fear the same things as me when facing mental health challenges: the fear of having your children taken away; the fear of being seen as a bad mother.

However, this is not always the case. Seeking support and professional help allows you to take care of your mental wellbeing. By doing so, it means that you are doing everything you can so that you are the best mum that you can be. This is what counts.  Organisations, like Best Beginnings are working towards driving societal change. Their series of mental health films launched by The Duchess of Cambridge made international press, showing that there is a shift in the understanding around mental health.

What have you found that has helped to support your mental health during pregnancy?

Specialist perinatal mental health teams should be available across the UK to any expectant or new mum that needs it, but we are still not there yet and the postcode lottery can be frustrating. From my own experiences, I felt I was not given enough support.  I wish that I met the midwife who helped me earlier.  I also would have benefited from having peer support in my pregnancies, but  that is why having those conversations is so important.  The Best Beginnings’ mental health film series, Out of the Blue, shows experiences of real parents with pregnancy and parenthood and can be found in their multi-award winning free app, Baby Buddy.  Having someone to talk to in a safe, non-judgemental environment can help make facing mental health challenges easier. It is important to speak with your health professional and local support groups, and to keep asking till you find the right support for you.  

For more information on postnatal depression, download Baby Buddy watch our Out of the Blue film on maternal depression and anxiety.

For support, please contact your local healthcare professional, or there are a number of organisations who offer support and advice: