Written by Racheal Dobson, Founder of PANDAS
The PANDAS Foundation (Pre And postNatal Depression Advice and Support) was set up to support individuals and their families suffering from Pre (Ante)natal Depression, Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis. We offer a variety of support mechanisms such as email support, A PANDAS telephone Helpline, the PANDAS website, regional support groups and in some areas one to one support.
Our aim is to ensure that every individual suffering from these illnesses gets the support they require to begin their road to recovery. I started the PANDAS Foundation, along with my husband Stuart, due to my experience of Postnatal Depression after my son, Andreas, was born in February 2010. I found there was very little support available which allowed me to meet other individuals and families going through the same or similar situation as me. PANDAS officially launched on the 15th August 2011 and have grown in strength ever since. We are now rapidly gaining support from different areas of the United Kingdom.
I have put my story on our website – and below – in the hope if gives others comfort to know that they are not on their own, it is ok to admit you are struggling. Prenatal Depression, Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis are all illnesses, like any other and nothing to be ashamed of.
‘My birth wasn’t exactly plain sailing, I had an emergency caesarean and was left feeling as if I was being attacked. I have never had so many people in one room. I had to have a blood transfusion which amounted to me waking up after having my baby.
I Sat in a side room on my own, looking over into a cot. I was not met with love or joy, just nothing…. Empty. More and more people came to see me and my sister said I must be so proud. The only person I could tell was my husband. I felt such a shame of a women, a wife and a mother.
Everyone was telling me how I should be feeling and all I wanted was to just go back to time when it was just my husband and I. I knew this was selfish, but I spent what felt like my childhood caring for my mum. My husband was my escape and on our 1st anniversary, having friends round I felt like finally “I’m me, I can do what I want, what people my age do”. So I blamed this little vulnerable child… Baby even, for taking that away from me.’
If you require more information, advice or support, on prenatal depression, postnatal depression or postnatal psychosis, please visit our website at www.pandasfoundation.org.uk or alternatively you can call our Pandas Help Line on 0843 28 98 401.