Jessica Rowe's story #3

I probably realised when my little baby Allegra was about six weeks old that I wasn't right. I know it can be really hard as a new mum. You are not getting much sleep, you feel bit overwhelmed and you can't believe what's happened to your life. But I knew that the way I was always feeling was very different to how most new mums feel. I was exhausted but I couldn't sleep. I'd be lying in bed worrying. I had real problems breastfeeding and I thought, "Oh, my god. I must be a terrible mother I can't breastfeed my baby." And I remember looking at other new mums thinking that they had it all together, going to a mother's group and feeling like I was the odd one out. I knew I'd never never hurt my baby. I knew I would never do that but, I kept thinking about everyday objects in the house and what damage that they could do to Allegra.

When I was having those obsessional, anxious thoughts that kept round and round in my head, night after night, that was bad. That was a really low point. I felt really like my heart was racing quite fast and almost sort of on the verge of panic attacks. And almost this sense of dread sometimes too, that strange sort of feeling in the pit of your stomach where you really feel like something awful's about to happen, when in fact nothing awful was about to happen. And I remember one particular night feeling really low and thinking, "I can't keep going like this. I have to tell someone," and I spoke to my husband. And that was one of the hardest thing I've ever had to do because for me to be saying, "I'm not coping and I need help," was so difficult.

When I went to see the psychiatrist I felt like my world was falling apart. I did feel like I was losing my mind and I felt like I was going crazy. And being able to talk to her about what I was feeling, what I was thinking, but for her to actually say to me, "You know what? What you are feeling is normal for postnatal depression." When she said that to me, I felt the most incredible relief. But the most important thing is to get help, to speak up. I know that made all the difference for me, and then I could focus on being a mum and getting to know my baby, which is what it's all about.