Here’s the final story in my Strong Women series. And it’s all about Amy.
Amy’s the lady behind the blog “Surviving Motherhood” and The New Mum’s Notebook. I’ve been following Amy for a while, she makes me laugh out loud with her tails of Motherhood. She tells it how it is. But it’s more than that, Amy shines through, she’s open about everything she’s been through and is going through, and she does it with heart.
She talks candidly about the fourth-trimester, the trimester that many of us don’t give a second thought to whilst we’re pregnant, I wish that I’d found Amy 4 years ago when I was navigating the fourth-trimester for the first time!
Amy’s been kind enough to share her experience of post-natal depression (PND), which she experienced after her third child, and how out of that she’s created something amazing for new Mum’s in The New Mum’s Notebook.
Tell us about how you were feeling during those early days of PND?
I was feeling very anxious about everything, especially my health. That turned into panic attacks, a touch of agoraphobia and very low, teary moments.
When did you realise it was PND?
I knew by the third week, because it was my third baby and because each time I had a baby the anxious feelings got worse. I had the experience to know it wasn’t normal to feel as bad as I was feeling.
What got you through the most darkest days?
The people around me who looked out for me. Once I was diagnosed people rallied around and did whatever they could to help me through. School runs. Reassuring words. It wasn’t just my friends who helped, a lot of it came from acquaintances who had been through it and just got how I felt. Completely.
What’s the one thing that you learnt the most about what you went through?
That you do come through things. Even the rubbish stuff. And that good really does come out of adversity like people say. I’ve also learned that being kind and empathetic is the biggest gift we can give another person. I received so much love during that time and want to give it back in any way I can.
How are you different now that you’ve experienced what you have?
I’ve changed in so many ways. I am stronger but also know how vulnerable we are as human beings. I am more tolerant of myself and I don’t expect to feel amazing every single day. And I let a lot of things go because they just don’t matter and it is exhausting trying to keep on top of everything. Some days we thrive, other days we survive. And I’ve made my peace with that.
What would you say to someone going through what you’ve been through?
I would say you will absolutely get through it but you MUST get help. It doesn’t just go away on its own. Don’t be frightened of medication. Don’t overthink it. I am quite a holistic person in some ways but sometimes when you’re really unwell, you need something to kick start that serotonin. I still take a very low dose of my ADs. Lots of my friends do too. There’s no shame in it. Also learn to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) the hell out of life. The coping mechanisms you learn from it will never leave your side. And you’ll need them time and time again after you’ve recovered.
Tell us about the inspiration behind The New Mum’s Notebook.
Just before I was diagnosed I was trying to make sense of how I was feeling, even though I knew deep down what was wrong. I stumbled across the fourth trimester, in a spa brochure of all places. I’d never heard of it so I did some research and it all made perfect sense. I blogged about it and so many people didn’t know about it either. Even an obstetrician! I wanted to get the word out about this and other new mum saviours so I started writing a leaflet, which I planned to get to midwives and onto maternity wards somehow. The leaflet grew and grew and 304 pages later, The New Mum’s Notebook was born.
Your last word …
Always one day at a time. You’ll get there when you get there and it will be wonderful.