Mum with postnatal depression ‘wanted to die’

Rosey with her three children
Rosey with her three children
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  • More than a third of new mums suffer in silence with mental health worries.
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It should have been the happiest time of her life, but Rosey Wren had never felt so wrong.

A mother to a newborn baby girl, Ms Wren had no shortage of well wishes to celebrate the new life.

Rosey Wren is backing NCT's new campaign

Rosey Wren is backing NCT's new campaign

But amid all the joy of others, a deep feeling of isolation started to take hold – and then a black guilt that she wasn’t enjoying motherhood as much as she should be.

“You want to love your baby but sometimes it is not as easy as magazines make out,” Ms Wren, 27, said.

After eight months or so, she sought help from her GP and was put on medication after being diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.

It was a condition that was to afflict her next two births and during the pregnancy of her youngest, she became depressed while still carrying her child.

Pretty soon after my daughter was born, I knew something was not right but because I was a young mum I was really hesitant to seek support as I didn’t want to be seen as another young mum who couldn’t cope

Rosie Wren

She thought about killing herself just to have a break from the exhaustion, she said.

Ms Wren, who lives on the Isle of Lewis, is far from alone – despite what she may have felt at the time.

The National Childbirth Trust said half of new mothers are concerned about their mental health and almost one in five (18 per cent) had phoned their helpline with a mental health issue.

She said: “You feel so guilty that you feel like that when you should be happy. I was incredibly isolated and these feelings were endless and they were exhausting.

”I was there physically for my child and I didn’t feel like I was struggling to bond but I don’t think I was there emotionally the way I should have been.”

Ms Wren said the solitude of island life had intensified her condition and she did not feel like she received the support she needed.

She said professionals needed to be better trained to spot the signs of post natal depression as many mothers try to conceal the fact they are struggling.

NCT this week launches its #BeyondBabyBlues campaign to encourage more openness about perinatal health given the levels of suffering behind closed doors.

It found that around 35 per cent of those with concerns had not spoken to a GP about their worries.

Ms Wren said: “There is a lack of education about maternal mental health, especially for first time mums

“After antenatal classes have finished you are pretty much left in the lurch without knowing any of the signs or symptoms. Mums should be taught about this.

“Pretty soon after my daughter was born, I knew something was not right but because I was a young mum I was really hesitant to seek support as I didn’t want to be seen as another young mum who couldn’t cope.”

She admits to lying on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale test, which is given to mums when their babies are six weeks old.

Ms Wren added: “I know a lot of mums do the same. People are scared that they are going to have their babies taken away.”

Amid the constraints of island life and lack of counselling or support groups, Ms Wren took to social media to share her experiences and search for others who were struggling in the same way.

She went on to found PND Hour on Twitter, where mums get together to share stories with health professionals now getting on board.

Ms Wren said: “I could see there was a lot of chat on Twitter about mental health but nothing specifically about post-natal depression.

“So many women have now joined up and it’s been amazing, for women to have that support right in their hand. It has really helped a lot of mums to understand what is happening and given them a voice amongst those who know what they are going through.”

Ms Wren is now a healthy mum to Kimberley, seven, Connor, five and Harvey, three. She said it was not the case that mums with PND were bad mums – and indeed often the opposite.

Ms Wren added: “Mums who have PND work really, really hard and they do as much as they can to stop it affecting their child.”

Now healthy and happy, she added: “I absolutely love being a mum and I think we have this really, really strong bond given everything we have all been through.”

Dr Sarah McMullen, Head of Research, NCT, said she was “very concerned “ that over a third of mothers who contacted the charity’s helpline with mental health worries had not contacted their GP.

“There currently isn’t enough support for new mothers and much more investment is needed to provide support services and train enough GPs, midwives and health visitors to recognise vulnerable new mums and give them the help they need by offering treatment options and referral if necessary.

“Early intervention could prevent devastating problems later down the line.”

NCT’s #BeyondBabyBlues campaign is being supported by celebrities including comedian Jo Brand, a former psychiatric nurse and Coronation Street actress Jennie McAlpine, a patron of mental health charity Mood Swings.