I distinctly remember looking my therapist in the eye four years ago and saying with conviction: “I am definitely not having any more children.” At the time it felt like an absolute truth. In that moment there was no room for doubt.
Postnatal illness was all consuming, mind bending and life altering. It robbed me of the first six months of my son’s life but it also fundamentally changed my life path. It was, without doubt, the greatest challenge I have ever faced, yet I have no regrets. I put them to bed some time ago.
In eight weeks I will (all being well) give birth to my second baby. I can’t lie; I am not without apprehension. But my overriding feeling is a sense of experience that has blurred the edges of my fears, reassured me of the strength that lies within and the comfort that comes from an invaluable support network.
Through the indefinable fog and seemingly bottomless expanse of PND I found beauty and brightness. I call them my natural pearls – emerging from something seemingly parasitic. Because, through pain, came the most profound love I have ever experienced for my son, as well as the deepest friendships and appreciation of special people who have turned PND into hope for others – Ruth, Caroline, Sue and Nicola, who are all part of the incredible SMILE team.
I learnt through my first experience that I am more resilient than I thought. I reached a turning point, an innate urge to procreate again, to give my son a sibling and to put two fingers up boldly to an illness that tried to break me. I vowed to myself in a quiet moment years ago that I will not be broken.
And so, as I head out to shop for my hospital bag contents and put my best foot forward, the sense of trepidation is outweighed by a fizz of excitement. I can’t promise that PND won’t engulf me again, but you know what, I’m ok with that.
And Christmas may just deliver for my four year old too…top of his list is “a doll that poos in its nappy”. I think I can go one better.
By Natalie Nuttall @natalienuttall
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