Rhianna, 37 is mum to Tomas, 8 months. Having been diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder at the age of 21, she was aware of the increased risk of experiencing postnatal depression.
I have a mental health condition and I am a bloody good mum and partner.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder when I was 21, after a deep depression, then a bombastic manic episode that still makes me blush with shame. Ten years of trying different combinations of medications as well as establishing a real work-life balance means I now appear to be “relatively normal”.
(For more information about managing bipolar disorder in pregnancy click here.)
Having lived with a diagnosis of Bipolar for sixteen years, and previously endured many episodes of depression, I knew that postnatal depression was on the cards for me. I knew the potential dangers to mother, baby and partner. In the planning stages, I sought out a psychiatrist who has specialist knowledge in bipolar medication and pregnancy. It took a year to adjust my medication to a suitable level to ensure I was on a stable footing before proceeding with pregnancy.
The complications and the regular issues with pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, birth and postnatally all contributed in their special way to my experience of PND. My partner and I undertook IVF treatment; I injected myself with hormones and we attended far too many invasive doctors’ appointments. A few disappointments were thrown in for good measure. Half way through my pregnancy I had a colossal bleed and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, with no pants on! I can laugh a little now, but we were devastated to think we were losing our baby. I had two large bleeds and stayed in hospital for a total of one month, then four months on bed rest at home. I ceased work immediately.