@Sophiesmum, has suffered from Postpartum Depression, also known as Postnatal Depression (PND), since her daughter was born 16 years ago. Her condition is still very present in her life today as she struggles with the forced adoption of her daughter, but she urges others to speak about their depression and not to hide it.
Hello. Can you please introduce yourself in a few words?
I'm sophiesmum and I'm 35. I live with my fiancé of four and a half years.
Were you aware of postnatal depression before the diagnosis? Did you suffer from mental health problems before giving birth?
I was a happy, bubbly, chatty lady before I became pregnant at 19. I was half way through the third year of my NVQ Retail Level 2 when I found out I was 3 months pregnant with my daughter, who has just turned 16.
How long after giving birth did you seek treatment for your condition?
It was around 2 months after I had given birth to my beautiful daughter (that I sought treatment).
What were your initial symptoms? How have these changed
over the sixteen years of your postnatal depression?
I would just sit and watch television and cry. I would snap at anyone for no reason.
My symptoms vary throughout the year, but they are worse at this time of the year.
Were your friends and family understanding of your condition? Have you gone to any support groups of postnatal depression?
It was my mom who realized that I may have PND, so she told me to make an appointment with my doctor as soon as I could.
I haven't been to any PND support groups as I don't know if there are any near where my fiancé and I live.
How has this condition impacted your life and relationships? How did your PND affect your relationship with your daughter? Does it still affect you to this day?
My fiancé is very understanding of my PND, as I told him about it and I also explained what PND is to him as best as I could.
I wouldn't know how to tell my daughter about my PND as it took me ages to explain it to my fiancé. She does not know that I have PND as she was forcibly adopted back in the spring of 2003.
Yes, my PND still affects me today... I have never had counseling for it.
How do you think PND differs from more generalized depression?
I think that PND is different compared to the more generalized depression as it can affect either parent. Plus, it can also affect the relationship and bond between the parent who has PND and the child.
Are you currently on any medication? How often do you see your doctor and are you satisfied with the care you are receiving?
I am taking 50mg of sertraline. I take one tablet a day, every day. My medication used to make me sleep a lot at first, but now it doesn't affect my sleep.
I usually see my doctor every 6-12 months depending on if I can get an appointment with a doctor when I try to make appointments.
Does your condition affect your ability to work? Are you working now?
I haven't worked in the last 16 years due to my PND and my daughter's forced adoption.
As for today, do you think therapy and medication have made you feel
I have never had counselling for my postnatal depression, even though I would like to.
I am still trying to find the right medication for myself as I have been on and off antidepressants for the past 16 years.
What words of advice do you have for other parents suffering from postnatal depression?
I would advise anyone who has PND to make an appointment with their doctor as soon as they can to check that they are on the right medication for themselves and to talk to anyone whether it is their doctor, family, friends, or parents.
My mom once told me that "your family knows you better than anyone else". In other words, if a member of your family says that you are not yourself or they advise you to make an appointment with your doctor, then do it as they know you best.