Mum Jodie shares her story about postnatal depression

January 2021

One of the mums who get support with our parental mental health service, Families in Mind, talks about how it has helped her

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Jodie describes how her mental well-being has improved since receiving support from West Sussex Mind’s parental mental health service.

I have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since I was young, from an illness I had as a child. After having my oldest child, I developed postnatal depression. I think the PTSD probably contributed towards the postnatal depression, and after giving birth, I began to feel very anxious about my child and I hated the thought of leaving her.

After being diagnosed with postnatal depression, my health visitor referred me to West Sussex Mind to help coping with it. I met with Tracy, a parental mental health worker, and we had a conversation about how West Sussex Mind could help me out.

I started to use West Sussex Mind’s services when my oldest child was six weeks old. When I first joined, I was a bit apprehensive and wary of who I was going to be speaking to. I’d never heard of West Sussex Mind before then. However, my mind-set changed as I quickly discovered everyone there was so nice and friendly.

Once I started speaking, it felt like I couldn’t stop, and sometimes I spoke about things I didn’t even realise were on my mind. That was because of how kind and inviting West Sussex Mind staff were.

In May, during lockdown, I gave birth to my youngest. The birth was stressful because of the restrictions, meaning I struggled again. But West Sussex Mind made sure I was supported.

The support I’ve been given during lockdown has been incredible. Charlotte, a support worker for West Sussex Mind, has been there for me throughout it all. I have had phone support whenever I have needed it which has helped me so much.

When restrictions relaxed, we did walk and talks, where we walk with our support worker and talk about anything we need to. This was great as I hadn’t been going outside that much, and it made me feel more comfortable and at ease with spending more time outside. It also meant the kids could get some fresh air and enjoy themselves.

I have also attended one of the face-to-face indoor groups that West Sussex Mind started again, when guidelines allowed, and it was so much fun. Although the kids can’t play together, it was lovely to see other parents and have a bit of normality back. At the groups, we do a range of activities. We talk with support workers about our emotions and how we are feeling in everyday life. We also have the chance to simply chat to other parents in the same situation.

Through the support group, I have made so many friends. We have made a group chat to catch up and have a rant about things we’re going through. I’ve found the friends I have made help so much, and they are very important to me.

Because of West Sussex Mind, I feel a lot better and I have 100% seen a positive impact on my mental well-being. After coming here and speaking to support workers and other parents, I have realised those feelings I’m experiencing are normal and that I don’t need to worry about them. I now know my feelings aren’t unusual or different, I’m just the same as other people.