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Rethink mental health

By Baby Intuition, May 25 2018 04:36PM

Everyone has fears, but what triggers some people to consider ending their own life?

I was privileged to listen to Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn this week. Jonny has written a book ‘A Stranger on the Bridge’ about his life and the reasons why he wanted to end his life in 2008 and how Neil, taking time to talk to him, on Waterloo Bridge stopped him from jumping.

Jonny described the voices in his head and how he thought he was actually living, his version of the Truman Show, he explained that there is now an actual medical term called The Truman Delusion

This got me thinking ‘is this how new parents feel in the early months of parenthood’ ? They are certainly living in a parenthood bubble in which they have little control. Adel wrote ‘million years ago’ because ‘not in a million years’ did she expect the life she now lives. Tears flow down my face when I hear her sing this because I remember the person I used to be, I have no regrets but I do accept parenthood changes everything and we cannot predict how it will affect us. Most parents never truly feel prepared for life with a new born baby no matter how much antenatal prep they undertake. It is the birth itself that turns a single person into a parent. Followed by fluctuating hormones, emotional ups and downs and lack of sleep. It is well recorded that the triggers for depression are lack of sleep and high anxiety both of which are inevitable as a new parent.

The key to a happy life is achieving the right balance of pleasure and challenge, but I’m not sure I’ve met a new mum who has considered putting her own well being before that of her baby. Is it selfish for the voice inside your head to be screaming ‘what about me’? Absolutely not! A baby, babies, children and teenagers need a happy family around them and finding quality time for you is an essential part of your parenting tool kit. Deciding what your ‘thing’ is can be the challenge, but it will be out there.

Jonny Benjamin told us that he still has relapses, but he can now read his trigger signs quicker. Lack of sleep being the main one, then he reacts positively by reaching out to his support group and stops pushing himself too hard.

New parents also need more sleep and less anxiety, but how do we achieve that?

We have all heard the mantra ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ but there never seems to be time to cook a nutritious meal, get the washing done or tidy the house in the hour gap your baby may provide. Traditionally our extended family would be round the corner, to lend a helping hand but we are far removed from that now. The NHS are trying to get enough midwives to be able to offer one to one care to a new mum, (which we know reduces anxiety) but right now we are a very long way from that too! So how do you get maximum sleep when a new born babies natural state is only to sleep deeply when laying skin to skin. The Infant Sleep Information Source is the best place to go for the evidence behind babies and their sleep patterns.

If friends or family are not able to offer you a listening ear to enable you to talk about your worries or time to sleep, reach out to one of our Postnatal doulas, as we offer mother-centred support and across the country doulas are available at Doula UK and Neighbourhood Midwives provide private postnatal one to one care.

If you need more clinical support contact your GP or your Health Visitor. Wandsworth have a team of midwives and Health Visitors who support mothers who feel overwhelmed by their birth and early days with baby, they are available on 020 3513 6264

We also have Cedar House running local support circles for parents on Fridays in Balham.

Do not be ashamed to reach out, there are lots of people out there who can be ‘your stranger on the bridge’

Here is a wonderful link to a MIND video explaining why some people feel depressed it's far more normal than we realise.

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