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WATCH: How a Cornish mum who suffered from postnatal depression is helping others

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:14am 2nd May 2018. (Updated at 7:45am 2nd May 2018)

Meet the Cornish mum who is on a mission to help other women battling postnatal depression.

Cara White from Lostwithel suffered from the condition and postpartum psychosis after giving birth to her son, Sebastian.

Now she has set up a support group called Untangled, to give other new parents somewhere to turn too.

It helps families suffering from pre and postnatal depression and/or anxiety - the kind of help Cara says she did not receive when she was struggling.

Lostwithiel mum Cara White and her son

Untangled the only support group of its kind running in the Duchy and Cara told Pirate FM "I don't know where these mums would go if they didn't have us".

She said: "I gave birth to Sebastian and I realised that something wasn't quite right because as soon as I had him I didn't want to hold him, I didn't want to look at him.

"I didn't really feel much towards him so I passed him to my partner James who took him.

"I spent one night in hospital and then I was discharged and It was when I got home I started to feel really poorly.

"I think it was 5 weeks in and I packed my bag and drove to my mums house in Oakhampton and opened the door, walked in and announced that I wasn't feeling well then collapsed in a heap in tears on the floor".

Lostwithiel mum Cara White and her son

Cara runs two groups - one at St Blazey Children's Centre on a Monday from 10am - 12pm.

The other is held at the Pondhu Children's Centre in St Austell on a Wednesday from 10am -12pm.

Activities at Untangled include crafts like pom pom making and crotchet as well as baby massage, singing and signing. The group takes children up to the age of 5 and has plenty of toys to keep them occupied.

Cara said: "I set up the group because I suffered from post-natal depression and psychosis with my first child Sebastian and when I was going through this I had no support at all and I wanted to make sure that when I got better, I would be able to make my own support group so that other mums who were suffering with post and prenatal depression and anxiety could have somewhere to go and chat to other mums that were going through the same".

Lostwithiel mum Cara White and her family

There is also a Facebook page for members, which means mums can get support online throughout the week and can also arrange to meet up outside the meetings.

A 'buddy system' is also in place if a new person finds themselves getting on well with one person in particular. They can share their details meaning they always have someone to talk to.

You can read more about Untangled on its Facebook page or watch its support video below...

What is postnatal depression?

The NHS website says: "Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby.

"It's a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, although this is less common.

"It's important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you might be depressed, as your symptoms could last months or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.

"With the right support, which can include self-help strategies and therapy, most women make a full recovery".

What are the symptoms?

The NHS website says: "Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the "baby blues" and is so common that it’s considered normal. The "baby blues" don’t last for more than two weeks after giving birth. 

If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.

Signs that you or someone you know might be depressed include:

  • A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

Many women don't realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually.

 

What is postpartum psychosis?

The NHS website says: "Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious mental health illness that can affect a woman soon after she has a baby.

"Many women will experience mild mood changes after having a baby, known as the "baby blues". This is normal and usually only lasts for a few days.

"But postpartum psychosis is very different from the "baby blues". It's a serious mental illness and should be treated as a medical emergency.

"It's sometimes called puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis".

What are the symptoms?

The NHS website says: "Symptoms usually start suddenly within the first two weeks after giving birth. More rarely, they can develop several weeks after the baby is born".

Symptoms can include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions – thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
  • A manic mood – talking and thinking too much or too quickly, feeling "high" or "on top of the world"
  • A low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety or trouble sleeping
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Feeling suspicious or fearful
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling very confused
  • Behaving in a way that's out of character 

You can read more and find out how to get help here.

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