Within a couple of days, the aftershocks struck. A friend came by and changed his nappy. I just let her take over but something inside of me wanted to say “he’s mine, I think. Maybe I should be doing that.” But I couldn’t say it because, at that point, I felt like I had to ask everyone’s permission to do anything for him. The day after L was born, the obstetrician walked in, patted me on the leg and said “not going to have a big family then are we!” I was devastated. Childhood memories of tearing about the house with my three siblings were something I wanted for my own brood and I definitely wanted a brood, at least four! I suddenly felt robbed of that. It was as if she was saying birth was no good for me and that I should quit while I was ahead.
The UK health visiting service offered weekly non-directive counselling sessions with a midwife for eight weeks after diagnosis of PND. So, for eight weeks, Kate, broad smile on face, enthusiastically had planted herself on my floor while I talked about Liam’s birth and about the way things were unfolding for me on any particular week. There was no judgement. There was no hint from her that I was an incompetent mother. During those eight weeks I felt free to tell her anything and everything.