‘She’s an inspiration to every mum’: the postnatal depression survivor offering new mothers a lifeline

‘She’s an inspiration to every mum’: the postnatal depression survivor offering new mothers a lifeline

Postnatal Depression, Mental Health

1/23/2022 1:13:00 AM

‘She’s an inspiration to every mum’: the postnatal depression survivor offering new mothers a lifeline

A local support network helped Jo Leach overcome PND – now she’s a key part of it, and thoroughly deserving of a little pampering

Jpostnatal depression. It came on after her second child, Hayden, was born on Christmas Day 2011. With two children under two, she sometimes wouldn’t leave the house for days at a time. “I didn’t know what was happening to me,” says Leach, 41, who lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. “There was this overwhelming feeling of being really anxious and panicky.”

She didn’t tell anyone – not even her partner or her mum. “I was embarrassed,” says Leach. “I felt alone.” Postnatal depression (PND) is common, and affects more thanone in 10 womenwithin a year of giving birth, but Leach did not know that at the time. Going to the supermarket or the park was hard work. She avoided crowds. “I was just surviving,” she says. “Getting through each day and keeping the children alive, and making sure they were fed and happy. I struggled to look after myself. I wouldn’t eat properly. It was all about them.” She lost a lot of weight.

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Sat 22 Jan 2022 11.00 GMT J postnatal depression . It came on after her second child, Hayden, was born on Christmas Day 2011. With two children under two, she sometimes wouldn’t leave the house for days at a time. “I didn’t know what was happening to me,” says Leach, 41, who lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. “There was this overwhelming feeling of being really anxious and panicky.” She didn’t tell anyone – not even her partner or her mum. “I was embarrassed,” says Leach. “I felt alone.” Postnatal depression (PND) is common, and affects more than one in 10 women within a year of giving birth, but Leach did not know that at the time. Going to the supermarket or the park was hard work. She avoided crowds. “I was just surviving,” she says. “Getting through each day and keeping the children alive, and making sure they were fed and happy. I struggled to look after myself. I wouldn’t eat properly. It was all about them.” She lost a lot of weight. She supported so many mums online during lockdown – she’s an inspiration to every mum in the group Tracey Edwards, Home-Start Before she had children, Leach had always worked. She struggled with being at home full-time. “I had too much time to think,” she says. “I was on my own all day long with the kids. I wasn’t doing anything except looking after them. I’d worry about everything.” If the kids were ill, she would panic. She’d become terrified something would happen to her and she wouldn’t be able to look after them. One child hated going to her playgroup, so Leach would feel horrifically guilty every time she sent her there. She had always wanted children, so couldn’t understand why she felt so sad all the time. In spring 2013, Leach broke down in an emotional phone call to her mother. “I told her everything.” She told her husband not long afterwards. “It was a relief that people knew,” she says. “I didn’t have to keep making excuses for why I didn’t want to go places, or would leave early, or cancel at the last minute.” Leach was referred to local support group