Moville mother Jennifer Houton wants to help women know that recovery from the bad days of postnatal depression is possible.
Jennifer experienced PND after the birth of her first child. Her little girl is now three years old and Jennifer is doing all she can to help other mothers who need support in her area.
Jennifer set up a PND Facebook Page and support group for Inishowen mothers to share their experiences.
“During my recovery it surprised me how little support there was in Inishowen for mums going through PND. My GP was my lifeline but after a struggle to find suitable medication I wanted to look at other options. There were long waiting lists for counsellors unless you could afford to pay privately, and even lengthy waits to see the mental health team,” Jennifer told Donegal Woman.
Jennifer found an invaluable contact with Postnatal Depression Ireland and soon came to understand her illness. The organisation provides an insightful book for PND sufferers and their families called Recovering from Postnatal Depression.
“PND can affect anyone.”
“It doesn’t matter if you are a professional (I myself was a nurse) or you are having your third child and had no previous problems with depression, it unfortunately can happen to anyone.”
“It can range from mild to severe with lots of people having heard of the ‘baby blues’ which can occur around day 3 after the birth. Around 60-70% of mums will experience the blues (feeling irritable, tearful and vulnerable) and same will usually resolve but if this continues for longer than 10 days it’s advisable to contact your GP as it could be the start of PND.
“Many factors can contribute to developing PND: history of PND or depression, a life changing event, a bad birth experience, lack of support and isolation, the supermum complex (ie. a woman who puts herself under enormous pressure to be perfect),” Jennifer said.
“Recovery is possible with support, openness, honesty and self-care.”
Jennifer decided to organise a local support group online so she could connect with other mothers going through PND.
“If someone was having a bad day they could reach out to other people who had been through it and find someone who would understand. Most importantly I wanted to get the message out that recovery is possible,” Jennifer said.
On the first Tuesday of every month Jennifer holds support group meetings at 8pm at Parentstop in Carndonagh.
“It’s an informal get-together for a cuppa and a chat and I myself have found great comfort from chatting with other women knowing that they went through it and recovered. We have even done meditation and reiki for a little relaxation and me-time,” she said.
Jennifer is expecting a new arrival this month so may have to postpone the next PND meeting. She will continue to keep the community going through Facebook and provide helpful copies of the ‘Recovering from Postnatal Depression’ book. She has also left copies available in the local library for anyone who wants to learn more about PND.