February 24th 2016
When Charlie’s third child was born she braced herself for the moment mental illness would hit. She had postnatal depression after her first child, and experienced post-traumatic stress after the birth of her second. She felt with her third it was only a matter of time.
“My baby was about eight weeks when I quickly spiralled downwards overnight. My mind plummeted to the point where it was like I was drowning.”
Unable to connect with her children, Charlie would start cleaning when they were hungry, or stare into space when they tried to talk to her. When her thoughts turned suicidal, she was admitted into a specialist mother and baby psychiatric unit.
“I got to the point where I couldn’t think about anything else except suicide. I had never been like that before. I was dying. It was going to happen. It was inevitable that I was going to do it.”
After eight weeks on the unit and six months at home, Charlie recovered. She now talks about her experiences to raise awareness about perinatal mental health.
“I talk about it because, if it helps people to understand, it might make a real difference. It’s something that I will always do because it is so misunderstood.”
Charlie is speaking out about her experiences in support of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s Everyone’s Business campaign. It uses cash raised through Sport Relief to raise awareness and encourage conversation around maternal mental health.
If you have been affected by maternal mental health issues and would like more information on support and services please visit the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.