Mom opens up honestly about her battle with postnatal depression
One issue that simply isn't talked about enough is postnatal depression: a mental disorder which can often arise in new parents after the birth of a child, in which the parent's mood is adversely affected and they struggle to attach themselves to their newborn. According to the NHS' official website, postpartum depression affects approximately 10 per cent of British women, as well as fathers or other partners.
One person who knows all too well how serious postnatal depression can be is 27-year-old mom Tahnee Knowles. Tahnee first fell pregnant back in early 2017, conceiving with her partner Bernardo Hamester, and planned to have a home delivery at her house on the Isle of Wight. However, complications arose during her pregnancy, and she was forced to deliver her son Gus at St Mary’s Hospital, in Newport.
However, after undergoing a Caesarean section, she ended up going through PND, along with all the symptoms that condition implies: persistent sadness, fatigue, sleeplessness and difficulty bonding with her baby. Not only that, but she stayed silent about her symptoms for seven months, out of fear that she would be judged and condemned for her negative thoughts towards her child.
Commenting on her postnatal depression in a recent interview, Tahnee stated: "I’d asked for immediate skin to skin contact, but as Gus was passed on to me, I felt no connection. It was like he was an alien. He could have been anybody’s baby. Everyone around me was cooing and I felt mounting pressure to react in a certain way, so I put on this façade, but inwardly, I just didn’t want to hold him ... I felt as if I had to trick people into thinking I was fine, but deep down, I worried I’d made a huge mistake."
She added, "At first, I wondered if I just had the baby blues – then one night, I was watching him sleep, and suddenly realised I was unsure if he was breathing. A thought flashed across my mind, that I almost hoped he wasn’t, as that way, things would go back to the way they’d been before I had him. I knew then that something far more severe than baby blues was going on."
Thankfully, Tahnee eventually managed to turn a corner. "When Gus was around two weeks old, I had a moment of real connection with him," she stated. "He looked up at me one day and I just thought, ‘Oh my god I do love you.’ I cried out of pure relief and felt on top of the world. After that, my bond with Gus continued to grow, but those feelings of self doubt about by new role as a mum soon came back. It continued like that for months. I loved Gus but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a mum. I didn’t relate to this new person I’d become. I didn’t dare speak up though, as I felt frightened people would think I was a bad mother."
As a result of her own personal experiences, Tahnee has launched her own pregnancy wellness retreats called 'Bump and Mind', in a bid to help others, and also trained as a hypnobirthing teacher to pass valuable techniques onto clients, as well as providing them with guided meditation materials to use after they have given birth. Why not visit the initiative's homepage, if you'd like to learn more?