My story and the reason we are running the Race to the Tower for Mind.

I wanted to give you all a little insight into why John and I are running the Race to the Tower double marathon in June.

In 2006 I was 28 years old and happily married, we had Isabelle, nearly 2, and I was pregnant with Lily. I hadn’t worried about my pregnancy with Lily; when I thought about being a parent I had always wanted to have one child not two, it’s not that I didn’t want Lily I just hadn’t imagined her in my life plan so I just got on with it.

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Then in April Lily arrived, she was a completely different baby to Isabelle and much more demanding. My husband at the time had taken two weeks off paternity leave and when he returned to work I quickly realised that things were going to be different, I didn’t feel the same connection that I had with Isabelle. I was finding Lily hard work, she seemed to cry a lot, in fact it felt like she never stopped crying. I started to doubt myself as a mother, I was tired and I was quickly falling into a dark place. I was thinking ‘What am I doing?’ and ‘I am not good enough to be a mother’

Credit:PANDAS Foundation

Not many of my friends and family know this but one afternoon I put the girls into the double pushchair and went for a walk to the local park when we got to the park I took Isabelle out of the pushchair and walked off. I had left the pushchair with Lily in it in the middle of the field and walked away and the worst thing was I didn’t care. I just didn’t want to be her mum anymore. I was really trying to put a brave face on it. As I walked back to the house I remember thinking that if Lily’s Dad came home and found that Lily wasn’t there he would go mad so I’d better go back and get her so turned around and slowly walked back to the park.

The breaking point came. One afternoon I had put Lily in her bouncy chair near the back door as it was a nice warm day she was crying again and I was really tired and grumpy. I screamed ‘Shut Up’ slammed the back door and it smashed. I had slammed the door so hard that the glass in the door had completely shattered and covered Lily. At that point I knew I had to do something. I was so worried that Lily had been hurt and upset about what I had done to her. I knew it was time to get help. I telephoned my husband and he came home immediately, he telephoned the Health Visitors who came round the same afternoon and I told them all exactly how I was feeling. I had never actually realised I was suffering from Postnatal Depression, I never wanted to ask for help, I just thought I could get through things as any other mother would do. The health visitor got me an appointment with the doctors and I was prescribed anti-depressants.

As soon as I asked for help I felt much better, my family rallied around me and within a few weeks the anti-depressants had started to work. I got into a better routine and Lily started to settle down I wish I had asked for help earlier and to be honest I still feel sometimes like I let my family down. I was on the anti-depressants for around 2 years. During that time my marriage broke up.

I wasn’t really aware of Mind at time, living in a small village there weren’t really any support groups, I know now that speaking to someone impartial when going through my darkest days would have helped. I don’t want any mum to feel the way I did. Around 1 in 5 women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth.

This is why we are raising money for Mind. Remember it is always good to talk, a problem shared is a problem halved as they say.

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Now my Lily is nearly 13 and she has grown into a caring and lovely young lady. In some way I feel a close connection with her because of what we went through together. It’s actually quite difficult to write this down on paper even through I experienced this 12 years ago it still makes me feel a little anxious.

So that is why we are running Race to the Tower and why your donations are so important. If you wish to sponsor us please follow the link below.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/johnandclare

Clare

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