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"The week I brought our baby girl home was a nightmare."

I want to share this in the hope that it will help someone in need.

My husband and I have had plans since before we were married to have a baby. After 6 months of non-stop trying, we conceived our wonderful gift from God, our baby.

From the moment I saw my little bean and heard that wonderful little heartbeat in the ultrasound I was in love.

My husband and I went back and forth on names and finally agreed on a little boy and a little girl’s name. Finally, the big day came when we found out the gender, a bouncing baby girl. The hours spent buying nursery decorations, looking at baby girl clothes, imagining kissing her and seeing her beautiful face came crashing down the moment she was born.

I didn’t look at her and feel unconditional love, I looked at her and felt overwhelming fear and anxiety.

Who was this tiny stranger? Where is this magic mummy moment everyone talks about?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Postpartum takes weeks, even months to rear its ugly head, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what doctors say.

The week I brought her home was a nightmare. I was in constant fear of being alone with her, and here’s the thing I’ve never admitted to anyone but family: not only was I having overwhelming thoughts of killing myself, but fear of harming my daughter.

"Where is this magic mummy moment everyone talks about?" Image via iStock.

Never having been a violent person these thoughts were not only horrifying, they made me physically ill. The first 7 days of her life I did not eat. I had no peace. I wanted to end it all.

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Knowing how I was feeling would not only anger my husband, I thought, but also risk having my baby taken taken away from me. Was I ever going to feel normal again? Was I ever going to truly love my baby?

The moment I was so close to ending my life because of my overwhelming thoughts was when I finally asked for help.

Rather than my family being angry, there was nothing but love, compassion and as much understanding as they could muster up. I was immediately hospitalised, where I stayed for well over a week, receiving therapy and trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

Although I don't think I ever was diagnosed, I was told I had postpartum depression, depression otherwise unspecified, and anxiety otherwise unspecified.

But there are two conditions you need to know about that aren't recognised as widely as Postpartum Depression.

Number one is Postpartum Psychosis. It's a rare illness, compared to the rates of Postpartum Depression or anxiety. It occurs in approximately one to two out of every 1,000 deliveries, or approximately 0.1 per cent of births. The onset is usually sudden, most often within the first two weeks postpartum.

And number two, Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. It is estimated that as many as three to five per cent of new mothers will experience these symptoms. I can almost guarantee I had Postpartum OCD.

Anyways, after months of learning coping skills for my thoughts and being on multiple medications plus therapy once a week, I finally started to feel normal. I finally started looking at this tiny human I gave birth to and feeling love, feeling this instinctual protection.

My daughter is now 6 months old and I am a happy-go-lucky, loving mother of a beautiful daughter.

I no longer live in fear, but look to the future and imagine our life as a family. I look back and wonder how I even thought what I did.

I wanted to share this story in the hope it would save the life of a mother or a baby. If you feel this way, know you are not alone, and know that you can ask for help, and you can overcome it.

This post was originally posted on Prego & Mommy Chat Facebook page. They explain that they published this mum's story to raise awareness and for any of the mums who think they are alone. They've asked for no judgement of the mum who generously shared her story.

If this post has raised any issues for you, or if you would like to speak to someone, please contact the National Perinatal Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306 Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.

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