Living under a cloud

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but the words just wouldn’t come. They still are not flowing easily now, but I am trying hard as this is something I want to share with you all. I feel it’s an important thing to do, both for myself, and for anyone else out there feeling the same way.
I live under my very own cloud, and its name is postnatal depression.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will know all about my three children, and the way they arrived in this world. (If not, please head over and read my Birth Stories – it will explain a lot). None of my labours or births were what I expected, or wanted. They were all horrifically traumatic, unexpected and stressful.

Birth is supposed to be such a special, magical time where you finally meet your baby after all the waiting. That first cuddle – the fact you are the first person to hold them. That’s never happened for me. Someone else held all of my babies before me.

I hate this. It makes me cry.

All 3 of my babies were treated in special care. They were all in incubators, hooked up to wires, monitors and tubes. I couldn’t hold them when I wanted, I had to ask someone. I couldn’t dress them, feed them or cuddle them without someone saying it was OK first. That’s not how it should be.

After Gemma’s birth I suffered. I suffered flashbacks that woke me in the night. My dreams always ended with me being rushed to theatre not knowing if my baby would be dead or alive.
I couldn’t function properly. I didn’t bond well with my precious daughter. I struggled through daily life with a newborn, but underneath it all I felt hopeless, sad and overwhelmingly guitly.

Guilty that she was born by C section, that I couldn’t birth her naturally.

Guilty that she was so poorly, was it my fault?

Guilty that I failed to breastfeed.

Just guilty. Guilty about everything.

Luckily, my condition was picked up on, and counselling and medication got me through.

Then Jacob arrived. Again a horrible birth, my premature little boy who I failed to keep inside me long enough. The guilt was back. Why couldn’t I have carried him to full term, then he wouldn’t have been poorly? Why had my body failed my little boy?

Back under the storm cloud of depression again.

By the time Jacob was about 18 months, I was free. Free of that awful gloominess. And when I fell pregnant with Max, I just knew this time would be different. The likelihood of 3 babies needing special care was slim, it wouldn’t happen again. Reaching 36 weeks was a milestone for me. Almost full term. If he arrived now, he would be fine. Right? Wrong.

Another premature birth. Another poorly baby who couldn’t breathe properly. Another special care baby. And another dark cloud of sadness, hopelessness, and the ever present guilt.

Again, guilty of not carrying my baby to full term, not protecting him like I should have.

I KNOW that these things are not my fault, but it doesn’t matter how many times someone tells you that, it doesn’t stop the way I am feeling. I feel that I failed my babies. I feel that I didn’t deliver them the way nature intended, I didn’t keep them in me for long enough, or that I didn’t keep them safe from harm. I have never once had those precious moments where you meet your newborn, hold them, give them their first feed and look into their eyes, the windows to their soul. For me their births will always be about tears, trauma, alarms, struggles and sadness. And that’s just not fair.

I don’t want to look back and be sad. I want to enjoy every moment with my amazingly strong, beautiful and inspiring children. But I can’t. I have been robbed.

There are people out there with much bigger problems than me, but this is my personal storm cloud, and it’s a pretty dark place to be sometimes.



  1. October 17, 2013 / 11:12 am

    It made me really sad to hear your story, as a fellow sufferer myself. You have a lovely family, I wish you all the best.xx

  2. April 3, 2014 / 10:40 pm

    Please, please please, do not think that anything that happened was your fault, because it wasn’t .
    Sometimes things just happens with no ones involvment.
    You came out of it stronger than ever before and you should be so proud of yourself.
    All your experiences made you the mum you are now, and ask yourself- would you be a mum you are today if not for what happened in the past ? Probably not.
    Your children love you and cherish you every day and will be until the end. And you should not think what the beginnings were but focus on what is there to come .

  3. Anonymous
    April 3, 2014 / 11:32 pm

    I believe you have been brave to share your birth stories. This may benefit yourself and others. As you say birth and motherhood can be portrayed unrealistically ( all wonderful, when life experiences can be really quite varied from one person to another. Or even one experience to another).

    Mothers do tend to want the best for their babies. So it is understandable that they consider their baby and how the labour / birth event is impacting on the expected baby.

    Seems that maybe your depression has been related to your birth experiences, and recovering from them. You loved and cared for your babies, nurturing them. Maybe you have been in need of some calming, nurturing acceptance yourself. As from your blog it seems as if your cloud of depression lifts when your baby develops and achieves milestones etc. You want the best for them, and when you see them achieve you welcome this. Maybe that is when your body releases it’s natural ‘happy hormones’ :- Endorphin, and you recover from the past, putting it behind you. Whilst you begin to enjoy the present.

    Once again thank-you for sharing your experiences. Enjoy your children, they can be a blessing. Sharing your experiences with them at an appropriate age may be beneficial for them to accept how their family life has been. As well as prepare them for the realities of parenthood etc.

    Rachel Craig

  4. April 4, 2014 / 7:24 pm

    Hugs sweetie, its horrible when we feel like this. You have a beautiful family to show for all your hard work xx

  5. April 5, 2014 / 9:29 am

    It sounds horrible but it’s good that you know this, and work at managing it and get help.

  6. April 5, 2014 / 11:16 am

    Your babies won’t remember the way they came into the world, but they will remember their beautiful childhoods x

  7. April 5, 2014 / 8:04 pm

    I know exactly what you went through both my babies where born premature. The deep hurt you feel inside when you cant hold your baby for the first time, watching them through an incubator and unable to feed them except from a tube through their nose. My first son was in the NICU ward for 3 months and my second son was in there for six weeks both a very worrying and traumatic time. I felt guilty the exact same way and for the exact same reasons no one knew why I had pre-term babies it was only a few years later that I found out I had PCOS and this MAY have been the cause for my premmies. But my boys know about the day they were born and they know how much they are loved and thats the best piece of mind I have for them.

  8. April 6, 2014 / 12:54 pm

    very emotional – you have not failed – you have won.

  9. April 6, 2014 / 8:29 pm

    No matter what, never compare yourself to other people and what they may be going through. We all fight our own battles, just in different ways.

  10. April 6, 2014 / 10:10 pm

    Big hugs, I went through this with my first child. No one really understands and some people just tell you it’s silly, but I know it’s not. I found talking about it helped and it does get better. I’ve just had my second and fingers crossed I haven’t experienced it again

  11. April 8, 2014 / 9:34 am

    As someone who suffered from depression in my teens postnatal is something that I do worry about. To hear from other mummys who have come through it is really uplifting.

    Like Harley said, they remember their wonderful childhoods. Guilt is something thats so difficult to let go of but you have nothing to feel guilty, everything happens for a reason to make you appreciate your life.

    Thanks for sharing

  12. April 9, 2014 / 9:02 am

    First off, massive hugs to you hun for having such bravery writing this, I cannot even imagine how much pain you have and are still going through, I am pregnant with my first baby and just being pregnant and not knowing to expect scares me as such but what you have been through bought tears to my eyes, you are a queen hun! and dont ever feel guilty or as if any of it is you fault, i know its harder said that done, I myself suffer with depression and anxiety which is know is a different form of illness to yours but the big cloud over us is the same, sometimes nothing anyone will say will make the cloud dissapear and go away, or the feelings vanish, but know yourself that you did everything you can and you now have 3 beautiful strong healthy children that love their mum more than anything in the world. My love to you all. xxxxx

  13. April 10, 2014 / 9:27 pm

    amazing blog so beautiful i suffer with pnd and post trauma stress it is a horrible feeling so nice to read a lovely blog making u feel like u are not alone xxx

  14. April 16, 2014 / 12:01 pm

    Completely understand, well done for writing it down!

  15. April 16, 2014 / 7:09 pm

    I felt really guilty that I failed to breast feed my kids too, it’s awful you really beat yourself up but ff babies are just as healthy and loved x x

  16. April 16, 2014 / 7:56 pm

    This post can’t have been easy to write. I applaud you for sharing your experience.

  17. April 16, 2014 / 9:51 pm

    Such an honest post, well done for getting it out (I totally feel the breastfeeding guilt) x

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