A mother has shared how she struggled with severe post-natal depression that led her to being admitted to a psychiatric unit, months after she gave birth to her second child.
Teagan Gambin-Johnson revealed in her tell-all blog, Two Kids Raising Kids, how she suffered from post-natal depression, which hit after she had her second child, Cooper.
She said that October 13th last year was the ‘lowest point’ of her parenting journey ‘to date.’
“On that particular Thursday afternoon, I was admitted to a Mother and Baby psychiatric unit because my postnatal depression had gotten to the point where I could not cope anymore,” she wrote.
“Walking through those doors was one of the scariest things I’ve done, but I couldn’t be more grateful that I did it.”
Ms Gambin-Johnson explained that she already had periods of depression and anxiety as a teenager, but it was always manageable. “I’ve struggled with anxiety and periods of depression since high school, yet I’ve always been able to manage it myself with diet and exercise. There was times when it was difficult, but it was a lot easier to deal with my mental health issues when I had only myself to worry about,” she wrote.
When she had her first child, Charlie, she said her life was easy as Charlie was ‘extraordinarily good’ baby. “She slept through the night at 4 months old, napped anywhere, stuck perfectly to a routine and was constantly happy. Life with Charlie was easy! Our days were full of coffee dates and meeting up with friends, I was able to keep the house spotless (just the way I like it) and a gourmet meal was on the table most nights when Nick got home,” she wrote. “Our lifestyle catered perfectly to my OCD tendencies and anxiety, because everything was in my control.”
However, things changed when her son, Cooper, was born in June 2016. “Cooper was also a good baby, but he was very typical of a ‘normal’ newborn. I struggled to help Cooper get into a routine, because I was still trying to carry on with Charlie’s daily activities too,” she wrote.
Ms Gambin-Johnson said that Charlie was going through a major developmental stage, at the same time, and the arrival of Cooper resulted in ‘major tantrums and a massive change in Charlie’s demeanour.’
“The adjustment to two kids was HUGE for me…I felt like I was taking one step forward, and the kids would drag me 5 steps back. Life seemed very unproductive, and I began to feel unmotivated and guilty,” she said.
She said that when September came, she was feeling ‘absolutely wrecked’, and decided to take some time off social media to reset and spend some quality time with her family, yet things turned worse.
She recounted how a day at a shopping centre became her tipping point, as Charlie ‘ran an absolute muck’, grabbing everything off shelves while she tries to stay by the pram where Cooper is. “I couldn’t control her while also trying to stay by the pram and Cooper, so I grabbed her into my arms and walked out. As I walked out of the exit she punched me straight in the eye, and I burst into tears!,” she said. She then called her partner, Nick and told him she doesn’t want to be around Charlie.
“I felt so out-of-my-mind crazy that I was literally worried to be near her because I didn’t know what I would do. Nick told me he would meet me at home, which was the only thing that got me back in the car. Nick came home to find me curled up in bed, and without saying much he took Charlie to work with him for the rest of the day. I felt like an absolute failure,” she added.
Ms Gambin-Johnson said that before post-natal depression hit, she would have good and bad days, but with post-natal depression, it was entirely different.
“I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t get changed out of my pjs. I didn’t want to leave the house any more, I began to cancel on friends and I stopped replying to messages.
“I would call Nick in tears most days and beg him to come home from work. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I would yell and scream. I smacked. I would cry over anything some nights I would lay in bed and cry myself to sleep, or even worse I would wake up in the middle of the night and just cry.
“I felt so alone. I couldn’t believe that this was what my life had come to, and I didn’t want to live it. I wanted to run away. When I would cry at night I would think about getting in my car and just driving away,” she said.
Then, one night, Ms Gambin-Johnson texted a friend, who was a nurse, and told her what she was feeling. Her friend met with her the next day and suggested the Mother and Baby unit (MBU).
After speaking to a doctor who specialised in post-natal depression, it was decided that she needed to be referred. “On the drive home from that appointment I had a break down and a panic attack. I still couldn’t believe that I had reached this point, yet all of a sudden it hit me all at once and felt so real,” she wrote.
“The next day, Thursday 13 October 2016 at 2pm, I walked through the doors of a Mother and Baby psychiatric unit and I began the slow journey of dealing with my post-natal depression,” she wrote.
Ms Gambin-Johnson also shares her journey on Instagram.