The Perinatal Mental Health team meant a huge amount to both me and my husband during my pregnancy. The Perinatal Mental Health team are a pretty new service to Warwickshire and we’re incredibly lucky to be able to access them. Peri (meaning around) and natal (meaning birth) means that this team are there to help you both before and after birth.
First and foremost, from what I understand, this service exists specifically to help any Mum- (and indirectly Dad-) to-be who is struggling with their emotional well-being as a result of the pregnancy. Your GP can refer you. I was referred to them as I had a history of depression and anxiety and was struggling with a number of things related to the pregnancy.
I was unlucky enough to be pretty ill during my pregnancy. This meant a lot of time spent in three places… sofa, bed and hospital bed. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was pretty boring 🙁 , not to mention emotionally and physically exhausting for both myself and my partner. As a result, I became depressed, and my partner experienced very high levels of stress trying to juggle a very busy job with hospital visits, the lion’s share of the household work, preparing everything needed for the arrival of wondrous bundle of joy and caring for a sick wife.
The Perinatal team are based between Warwick and Stratford and they’re lovely. My initial assessment was with the Perinatal psychiatrist (sounds a bit scary, but it was honestly really relaxed). She asked me about how I was feeling emotionally and physically and, importantly, she explained that this was not uncommon and reassured me there is proper help out there.
Then she put a plan in place. This included a mixture of talking therapy, medication (it was a tough decision but one I remain happy with) and contact with her colleague, the Perinatal Mental Health nurse. It was a very friendly and supportive environment, where I was offered practical help too. For example, PANDAS, a pre- and post-natal mental health group in Warwick. Through this combination of treatment, I continued to either remain stable or improve my mental health. This had great benefits for my partner too, as I became more capable of managing things and didn’t need to rely on him as much. The result is that I have a beautiful, healthy little boy (or the Tasmanian Devil…depending on which day you get me on 😀 😀 ).
If you are struggling, please visit the GP and explore your options.
This is not uncommon. Be brave. Seek help.