I was experiencing highs and lows for years and I knew something was wrong, but I kept being dismissed by the GP. Eventually in 2010 I was referred to the crisis team – four years after I started experiencing symptoms.

I found out I was pregnant in May 2015 and ten days later I experienced a hypo-manic episode that lasted about six weeks. Hypomania makes you feel really good at the time; it makes you feel like you can do anything. I am getting better at recognizing when I am about to experience it as I feel very creative, I have strong urges to decorate things around me, I’m also unable to sleep, concentrate or sit still.

My hypomania during pregnancy bad because I didn’t have any medication, I also felt very anxious during my pregnancy about how hypomania could impact me post-birth.

The midwife I first saw (before I saw a midwife trained in mental health issues) failed to recognise how much of an impact criticism had upon my mental health. She advised me to go to Slimming World due to me having put on a lot of weight in pregnancy.

I attended a community day service at first but they decided I was too unwell for the service so I was then looked after at home by my parents and supported by the home treatment team. I then experienced a period of depression for approximately eight weeks, followed by a period of being well of approximately three months. At the end of my pregnancy I experienced symptoms of depression so I was admitted to The Mount Mother & Baby Unit as an in-patient.

I gave birth to Max in January 2016 and I felt amazing, it was pure elation and happiness, but this was soon replaced by despair as I began to realise the feelings were due to hypomania. I was so disappointed. The first 10 days after Max was born are a real blur now because of everything I was feeling at the time.

When I was in hospital after giving birth I overheard nurses talking about me in the corridor saying “bed 4 has got mental health issues” in a very dismissive way which I found very upsetting.

At the end of my pregnancy I experienced symptoms of depression so I was admitted to The Mount Mother & Baby Unit as an in-patient.

I gave birth to Max in January 2016 and I felt amazing, it was pure elation and happiness, but this was soon replaced by despair as I began to realise the feelings were due to hypomania

I would say “be kind to yourself”; pregnancy and motherhood is tough and remember, nothing lasts forever.

Stefanie

My mood fluctuated up until being discharged from the Mother & Baby Unit in April 2016. I attended the support groups including a walking group, a creative group and a baby sensory group. I found it an extremely useful service as I could discuss my feelings around pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

In terms of advice to a new Mum having a hard time I would say “be kind to yourself; pregnancy and motherhood is tough and remember, nothing lasts forever. Each phase you go through as a Mum is only for a short amount of time and there is always hope that the next phase will be easier than the last one. Remember that you’re strong, much stronger than you think and you can do this. Just remember to keep the faith.