This post is part of the ‘Tales From The Other Side Of …’ series. There are so many stages, achievements, milestones and heartbreaks we go through as parents and whatever we are experiencing, whether good, bad, exciting or terrifying, it’s always nice to know someone else has already done it and come through the other side. To find out how you can get involved and share your story/tips and tricks click here. Today we have the lovely Emma from Cubkit with the tale of her recovery from Post Natal Depression.

My two children are playing together on the floor. My eldest is pushing his big red fire truck around on the carpet and the little one is crawling after it, trying to hit the flashing lights with his squidgy hands.

I sit back and relax, my hands wrapped around a warm mug of coffee as I enjoy a slice of contentment.

It has taken me a while to get to this point of calm and happiness. Earlier in the year, I was battling postnatal depression, an illness that affects one in ten women in the UK.

Post Natal Depression affects 1 in 10 women in the UK. Read Emma's story to discover how she she found the road back to recovery ...

If you are reading this then you might be going through postnatal depression now, wondering whether it will ever end and waiting for that dark cloud to lift.

Although I’m early on in my recovery, I can assure you that it does eventually get better and there is support out there to help guide you through the pain and loneliness.

My postnatal depression caught me off-guard. I never experienced it with my eldest child, despite going through a traumatic birth. I waited for it to appear, but it never did. I was a really happy and content first-time mum.

The second time around, it crept in rather unexpectedly. I don’t know how the door was left open when I was sure I had a good lock on it. Perhaps it was during a particularly hard night feed, or when I developed mastitis in both breasts and full body hives.

It may have been triggered on the day we bought our baby home from the hospital. I was sad and upset that the house wasn’t ready for a new baby. The floors weren’t mopped, the sides were cluttered and the baby’s room wasn’t prepared for his arrival.

During the dark nights, I held my baby closely, tearfully saying, “I’m so sorry, baby” over and over again.

newborn baby in wooden hat

The first three months were a blur. I can’t remember much. I look back at photos from that time and can’t recall the days they were taken.

I was torn in two directions most of the time, struggling to cope with the needs of a toddler and a baby, like I wasn’t doing anything right for either of them.

I felt strange and detached, like I was in the room but not there at the same time. I suppose I saw postnatal depression as something that makes you sit and cry all day. But my only feeling was numbness which erased my ability to enjoy both of my children. The sparkle and shine of first time parenting had been replaced with an undercurrent of gloom.

Most of all I felt guilty.

woman with head in hands

Guilt is an odd thing. Some days it can let you know when you have done something wrong and when you need to make something right. But when you have postnatal depression, guilt takes up space and steals your energy, creeping in and creating a wall between you and the people you love.

I was frozen by guilt. I did not know how to fix whatever it was that I perceived myself to be doing wrong.

Instead, I dragged myself through the days, trying to raise a smile, connect with my children and be the ‘fun mum’. I ensured they were well fed and loved. But my mental health was fighting a losing battle.

Inevitably, anxiety wormed its way back into my life. Worry consumed everything. I had panic attacks, was paranoid and filled with fear. Some days I was convinced there was something out there to get the children, me or my husband.

worried girl surrounded by dark clouds

When my baby turned eight months old, I had a realization that the baby days were slipping by and I was missing it. Enough was enough.

I desperately wanted to reclaim my state of mind and get better. So I spoke to my GP who offered medication but I decided to take a therapeutic route instead. I contacted IAPT who were able to help me get back on track by offering cognitive behavioural therapy to manage my postnatal depression and anxiety better.

The most important thing I have learned is that you need to admit when you are struggling and that it’s okay to feel down.

In the quiet moments when I let my mind wander, mum guilt slowly pulls and tugs at my insides. My heart aches when I think that my youngest son has yet to see his mummy smiley and happy. But I’m getting there and he is such a happy boy so I’m sure there’s no damage done.

Parenting is hard, relentless and at times, lonely. Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends as you never know who has been through the same thing.

My therapist reminded me that it was okay to take some time out, too. Self care is crucial when you’re a parent. As they say; happy mum, happy baby. Every now and then treat yourself to a solo trip to the shops, a quiet coffee or a long bath. Although it won’t cure postnatal depression, it will give you much needed breathing space when your mind feels muddled.

So if you are reading this and feel like you need help, please speak to your GP, health visitor, friend or family member.

The storm may be wild and frightening right now, but once the rain stops and the clouds start to clear, you will be able to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the moment once more.

mother sat on the grass holding her baby up in the air above her head and smiling

Emma, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. Postnatal depression really can affect anyone and although we are getting better at talking about it, people find it really hard to admit it when they’re struggling. We’re all so good at putting a brave face on, and pretending that everything is ok, but we really shouldn’t. If you’re struggling please do as Emma suggests and speak to someone, don’t suffer in silence.

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17 thoughts on “The Calm After The Storm: My Post Natal Depression Recovery by Emma McCarthy

  1. Well done for writing such an honest post from the heart. PND is such a cruel condition as it strikes at a time when we are desperate to just care for our baby and love them, but it taints that special time. Well done for seeking help and glad to hear you’re finding your way back x #familyfunlinky

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 8:28 am
  2. I’m sorry that you’ve gone through all these feelings. Thank you for writing such an honest post about your experiences and for making it clear that it’s okay to feel these things and that you’re not alone for having such thoughts. #FamilyFunLinky
    Amy – The Rolling Baby recently posted…Love Life NowMy Profile

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 8:56 am
  3. Reading this has struck a chord with me. I’m feeling a tad lost at sea at the moment. I’m a SAHM to two children, one 2.5-years-old the other 9-months and I feel as though it’s getting harder rather than easier. I feel guilty that I’m struggling to cope with the demands of a toddler and growing baby. With few friends round me that are parents, I’m finding it hard to know whether this is ‘normal’ (what ever normal is) and whether it is just this hard, OR that may be I am veering of course into depression. #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 9:23 am
  4. So many mums go through PND and I think posts like this really help! #familyfunlinky
    relentlesslypurple recently posted…Problem Solving Activities – Myra Makes: Journey To Cloud CityMy Profile

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 9:29 am
  5. This is a really good read, especially as support for other mothers out there suffering and not knowing where to turn or feeling alone. I am glad you are starting to come out the other end now, although I’m sure its still a bumpy ride #familyfunlinky
    Sonia Cave recently posted…Campfire Toffee Apples – A Bonfire TreatMy Profile

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 9:47 am
  6. What an honest and beautifully written post. I think its great that so many people speak up about post natal depression and break the taboo and let other mums know theyre not alone. #familyfun
    Fran Back With A Bump recently posted…Five of The Best: Things About WinterMy Profile

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 10:39 am
  7. Lovely read. Its so good to see more people talking about mums’ mental heath. So important to raise awareness.


    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 2:00 pm
  8. A really brave and honest post. PND is such a taboo subject but I think the more we talk about it and break down those taboos the less Mums will have to worry and feel like they’re going through it alone. Im so glad the storm is starting to clear for you #familyfun xxx
    Emma : Ettie and Me recently posted…Small Brand Spotlight | Interview with Michelle from Evie MichelleMy Profile

    Posted on 20 November, 2017 at 10:27 pm
  9. This is a really encouraging post to anyone who has gone through to is going through something similar. I totally agree taking a little bit of time for ourselves is so important. I didn’t do this in the early days (the first two years into parenting) and I really think it took it’s toll. WE’re still people not just mums. I am glad your journey has got easier and you got he help you needed. #familyfun
    Tammymum recently posted…FamilyFun…Week 58My Profile

    Posted on 21 November, 2017 at 7:55 am
  10. Such a heartfelt message of a story and recovery. I haven’t experienced this but it’s always in the back of my mind. Having just had baby 2 I’m trying to be kind to myself and give me time to do what I want. Not easy but definitely important. #familyfunlinky
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…A Letter to My Robot Now You Have A SisterMy Profile

    Posted on 21 November, 2017 at 12:46 pm
  11. What a powerful post. As a fellow sufferer, I could see my own experience in this. I’m glad your cloud is lifting, Emma.
    Sadie | Be Your Own Example recently posted…this week’s meal planMy Profile

    Posted on 21 November, 2017 at 1:58 pm
  12. I do think self care is so important. It’s hard to think of small things or things that you can fit in in the early days, as there’s barely time but I used to make a vow to drink water and had a 5min meditation app on my phone. Now I have so much more time but then this small act made all the difference. #FamilyFunLinky

    Posted on 21 November, 2017 at 5:12 pm
  13. After my first baby I’m sure I had some PND – but it’s only now, looking back on it, that I really see that’s what it was. I was a brand new mom and totally unsure of myself. I was afraid all the time, and I often cried when my baby cried because I didn’t know what to do. It’s so important to reach and out and get help when you need it. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or a bad parent. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else!
    Jessica – A Modern Mom’s Life recently posted…Get Some Sleep: Tips From A Busy Working ParentMy Profile

    Posted on 22 November, 2017 at 12:54 am
  14. I suffered through postpartum depression after having my first child and it was really hard. I’m really glad you got the help you needed. It does take time to get through it but the feeling better part is so worth it. #FamilyFunLinky
    Michelle Kellogg recently posted…100 Truths Blogger TagMy Profile

    Posted on 22 November, 2017 at 2:26 pm
  15. This is a beautifully written and honest account of PND with a positive and uplifting message which is super helpful for people going through this. #thesatsesh

    Posted on 24 November, 2017 at 5:57 pm
  16. Sometimes the hardest step is the first one. So it’s fantastic that you were able to reach out and ask for help. It’s great that you are able to see that things are getting better. I know very little about pnd but think that we could all do with making a wrap (wellness recovery action plan). As conditions do sometimes creep up on us when you aren’t expecting them! Keep talking and lets break down the stiff upper lip mentality that’s so not helpful. #FamilyFunLinky
    Helena recently posted…DIY Christmas Card Display HolderMy Profile

    Posted on 25 November, 2017 at 8:14 pm
  17. Bravo Emma – your post is honest and authentic – a perfect segue into health, I hope. I hope you are doing better and feeling well. Know that I am certain your candor with mental health issues will help so many. #thesatshesh xoxo
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…Never be a prisoner of your past, it was just a lesson not a life sentenceMy Profile

    Posted on 26 November, 2017 at 1:00 am