By SIMON BRIGGS
While most personal stories about the impact of PND tend to be from the perspective of the sufferer, I’ve been asked to give you a glimpse of what it was like for me to support my wife, Anna, through her illness and the enormous impact it had.
Like any parents-to-be we were thrilled at the prospect of starting our new family. We’d been to the ante-natal classes, baby-proofed the house, bought the pram. And when Sam was born I was thrilled.
I remember those first days it all being a bit surreal. Especially when we took Sam home, walked in the front door and then Anna and I looked at each other and joked ‘ok, we have a tiny person in our house – what the hell do we do now?’
But overall, it was a joyous time for me and the sickly sweet paternal feelings more than made up for the lack of sleep, the crying and those horrific smells and substances that became a constant in my life.
I think the real impact, which the ante-natal classes can never prepare you for, are the fundamental changes in life and relationships that comes from having a new person in your world. It’s the little things – a trip to the corner shop had to be planned with military precision and social events transformed from unplanned random nights to specific catch ups at specific times.
In some respects you lose a bit of who you are and while I found this transition manageable, Anna really seemed to be struggling. I initially put it down to a general lack of sleep and baby blues and hoped that it would pass. But it didn’t. Over the first month or so, while to the outside world Anna kept up the pretense of being in control and happy, I saw my lovely vibrant wife steadily become more withdrawn and upset.