‘It’s not Pinterest perfect’ - Norwich mothers highlight struggles with postnatal depression
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is an issue which affects more than one in 10 women, at a time when many feel they are supposed to be on cloud nine.
But two Norwich mothers are hoping to tackle the stigma surrounding postnatal depression by sharing the experiences they face as parents through a new YouTube channel.
Annalise Green and Mel Ferdani first met when two of their children became friends at school more than three years ago.
Now the pair, who have both experienced postnatal depression, have started a online diary called Annalise and Mel Mummy Mayhem - with the aim of easing the stresses of parenthood.
'We want to make mums aware of not being alone,' said Mrs Ferdani, 30, who lives in Queens Hills, Norwich, with husband Liam and their two children.
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'[Postnatal depression] is so common and a lot of people I know had it. A lot of times when mums get it, [they feel] it's to do with their ability to be a mum.'
Ms Green added: 'You do feel like you are a failure as such and you should not feel that way.'
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Mrs Ferdani, 30, suffered with postnatal depression with both her daughters Caitlin, seven, and four-year-old Amber.
Now, as her son is due in July, she fears it may return - especially as there are concerns over the little one's health.
'The first time round I didn't realise I was suffering,' Mrs Ferdani, who works at Hughes, said. And it wasn't until she was speaking with her father, who recognised the signs from Mrs Ferdani's mother having it, that she considered it.
'I did feel like I couldn't [be a mother],' she said. 'I had driven myself to A&E thinking I has a heart attack, I did feel alone. But the main thing was the panic attacks I was experiencing.'
This was in 2010, and Mrs Ferdani then went back to her GP who agreed she was depressed.
'The second time around I felt much better,' she said, after making friends in the area and developing a support network.
But after a traumatic birth Mrs Ferdani was visited by the mental health liaison team and went back on medication for just over two years.
Ms Green's experience, although different, bore some of the same signs she said.
Mother-of-four Ms Green also lives in Norwich with partner Stu, and children Paige, 10, Honey, 7, Jay, 4, and Winter-Rose, six months.
She said she suffered postnatal depression with her youngest, Winter-Rose. Previously she had what is known as the 'baby blues', which is so common that it is considered normal for new mothers, where women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. But this does not usually last for more than two weeks.
Ms Green, 28, said after having to have surgery following Winter-Rose's birth, that 'over the next couple of months [she] noticed [herself] slipping'.
'I wasn't crying, I didn't feel sad, but I was becoming quite self-conscious. I was normally quite bubbly and outgoing. I had a lot of anxiety about things I would not usually have.'
Eventually she went to the doctor, thinking it was a hormonal issue.
'I burst into tears but I said I really didn't feel depressed or sad, but he said it was postnatal depression.'
Since telling their stories and hearing from other mothers, the pair agreed there were tell tale signs.
'They are all different but there are similarities in everything,' Ms Green said. 'But we want mums to know the real life things, it's not Pinterest perfect.'
Mrs Ferdani added: 'It's just making mums aware of not being alone, there are experiences what people have had that might feel ashamed of, but you shouldn't.'
Their channel has now been picked up on by Channel Mum, an online community which aims to be the honest face of parenting. And the pair are concentrating on building up their followers, in the hope they can lift the lid on parenting experiences and make people feel more comfortable.
Postnatal depression can also affect fathers and partners, although this is less common.
And it does not have to start straight away - symptoms can be experienced within the first year of giving birth.
Many women don't realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually. But with the right support, most people make a full recovery.
• For more information on pre- or post-natal depression click here.
• To visit the YouTube channel click here.