I had post-natal depression with both of my children and the health visiting service really helped me through. The first time was when my son was six-weeks old. It was a normal pregnancy, but the birth was by emergency C-Section.
The health visitor came to see me as usual, along with a student health visitor. They took me through the Edinburgh questionnaire which is used to identify if mums have postnatal depression.
They found signs of depression, so they rang the doctor for me and got me an appointment as quickly as possible. The doctor had wanted to give me Prozac, but because I was breastfeeding I wanted to try therapy instead, and I’ve never been very good at taking tablets. The health visitor was so supportive of this choice which helped me make the right decision for me. My health visitor didn’t just palm me off and disappear once I started my therapy - she was there for me until I was better and then put me in touch with the local SureStart services.
When I had my daughter, the midwife warned me I was likely to have post-natal depression again. My daughter was a surviving twin, which meant numerous scans, a lot of worry and a high chance of losing her. The pregnancy was incredibly stressful and I wouldn’t wish anything like this on anyone.
I remember vividly one day when she was sitting on my knee when everything came to a head. I had a horrible moment when I imagined I had lost her and started crying. I realised this was impossible and knew that this was a warning sign. I remembered how good the first health visitor had been, so I rang her and asked for help - in tears imagining my daughter had died. She arrived very, very quickly and said it sounded like depression.
She linked me up with SureStart and HomeStart. I was given therapy again as well, and just like the last time, her support didn’t just stop here. The health visitor I was assigned was a student one and I was more than happy for her to visit, she was excellent. She carried on visiting me for over a year, just to make sure that my daughter and I were OK.
It’s thanks to the health visiting team that I got better, and I’m still in touch with SureStart and HomeStart now. Talking to other mums helps a lot. People don’t always know what’s services are out there, but I’ve signed up for a job-hunting course through SureStart and am able to look forward. I no longer have depression – the therapy has helped me move on. I’m even studying for a degree and I’m finally able to turn negatives into positives. I can’t fault the service I received and I am so grateful to everyone who helped me get back on my feet.