Two days after my son was born, when we arrived home after being discharged from hospital, I suddenly experienced a feeling of panic that I had never felt before. It is so hard to explain. I actually think I started to have misgivings about Joe's existence while in the hospital but the reality of how bad I felt didn't hit until I left the ward.
When we left hospital, as soon as I felt the outside air hit me, while strapping Joe into his car seat, I burst into tears. Uncontrollable tears. I couldn't stop crying. I was telling myself in my head to stop crying but I couldn't. It was as though I had no control over the tears. John asked if I wanted to sit next to Joe on the drive back to our flat. I shook my head and said no. I didn't want to be near him. We got back to our flat and as soon as we walked into our living room, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt a wave of indescribable panic come over me. I felt like I was being suffocated. I actually felt like I had a hand over my mouth and my mum said she noticed that I was pulling my lips. I was very scared of something.
We posed for a family photo with me, my partner and my son, Joe and my parents. In the picture, everyone looks so happy but I am in tears. I didn’t understand what was wrong. I had wanted my child so much and imagined I would be euphoric when he was born but what I felt was very, very different. My hands started tingling and my head started to pound. My head felt like it was going to explode as I had a sense of doom come over me. I suddenly felt I had made a terrible mistake in having Joe.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt a wave of indescribable panic come over me
He (the psychiatrist) said he could see I was desperate for help and the reason I wanted help was because I wanted to be happy with my son - which meant I loved him
The nurses said even though I felt like I was a rubbish mum, they had observed that I was very caring towards Joe and needed no support looking after him.
Recovery isn’t easy but I am well, and I can function