Welcome to this months Focus on You! In case you missed the post explaining it, Focus on You is a series where I’m putting the focus on you! Real mums, telling their stories, in their own words.
The aim of this series is to raise awareness and educate people on a range of subjects that aren’t generally discussed. It’s also to give you some insight into other peoples lives and what they might have been through or going through as a little reminder to be kind. Topics will be relating to fertility, parenthood, postnatal health and much more!
Every month, I will bring you a story told by a lovely mum who has been kind enough to share their experience with us. I asked each mum the same questions. All of the answers will be in their own words.
This month, I have been speaking with the lovely Lindsay. In this post, we are just having a general chat on trying to conceive and postnatal mental health.
How long were you trying to conceive for before you sought help?
We were trying for 3 years on our own before going to the doctors.
Did anything put you off getting help?
Pride! I was a woman, it was my job to have babies so I should just be getting pregnant when I wanted to…
Did you find the doctors helpful and understanding?
My family doctor was amazing, he had experienced fertility issues with his wife so was very sympathetic and sent me off to the right places and put me in touch with the best fertility doctors.
Were you informed and prepared for any procedures that you needed?
Yes I was, thankfully I was able to afford to go private to have a laparoscopy done and then the further steps were fully explained to me.
Are you happy to discuss the details of any fertility help that you had?
So I have unexplained infertility, all my ovulation tests and blood tests came back as normal for the 5 years of testing I did! The first step for me was a laparoscopy as we believed that I may have had endometriosis, but after the surgery the doctors said there was only a miniscule amount of endo cells and that wasn’t the cause of infertility.
So they referred me to the IVF waitlist and then we started to look at Clomid. I was due to start my first round of Clomid when, after 5 years of thinking I was broken, a little miracle happened.
Everyone who knew I was on this journey said to me that as soon as you relax it will happen but while you are living in the “no baby” bubble you can’t relax. Knowing that I was going to try an actual treatment meant that I was able to relax and enjoy my husband again without thinking about the end result…
I remember being about 6 months pregnant at work and getting a call from the fertility clinic to talk to me about my upcoming IVF! I had totally forgotten to remove myself off the list once I found out I was pregnant! Too excited I guess…
Did you feel like there was adequate help for looking after your mental health after giving birth?
Now this, I am not too sure about. I was asked all the right questions by my midwife and Plunket nurses but I don’t know how truthfully I answered them!
Did you find it easy in seeking out help with your mental health?
Not really, I was embarrassed to talk to the doctor as I thought I might just be being a tired drama queen so I turned to my mum! I know that she suffered from PND (postnatal depression) after having my brother so she talked about her experiences but she suffered through it as back then they didn’t really have treatment for it!
Did anything put you off getting help?
Embarrasment! And I didn’t want people thinking I was weak!
Did you get the help you needed? How were you made to feel?
After having savage mood swings and backing my car into the garage door I decided that I might go and look at natural help!
I went to my local organic store that has an in house naturopath and I was able to talk to her about what was going on with me. I don’t think it was severe PND but I was definitely out of balance hormonally so she recommended I start taking St John’s Wort. It tasted disgusting but was worth its weight in gold. It evened me out and I became more human and approachable again!
What advice do you have for any new mums and dads on postnatal mental health
If you feel wrong, even slightly, go and ask someone! Doesn’t matter who, just talk to someone outside of your bubble! And St Johns Wort for when you want to punch your partner for him making you a cup of tea with the wrong amount of milk in it!
Since starting this series I’ve noticed that a couple of mums have not felt comfortable in asking for help from professionals for fear of being seen as weak. It makes me sad to think that there are people out there who are struggling along without getting the help that they not only need but also deserve.
Although mental health is more widely discussed now, I do think that more needs to be done to help support new mums and dads with their mental health.
A massive thank you to Lindsay for sharing your story with us ❤️❤️
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