Women's Voices of PND

How often have you started to read something and had the thought that the author was writing about you?  Or when you’ve seen someone on television talking of their experience and it echoes yours, almost as if they had taken it word for word?


Well that’s the power we are trying to uncover behind our project “Women’s Voices of PND”.  It started out as an idea and has grown. 


The journey to its inception comes from the difficulties experienced with pregnancy and postnatal depression.


I had my first baby in 1995 and had depression through the pregnancy and was very unwell postnatally  too.  At that time, there was no support for women like myself other than being prescribed medication.  It was a dreadful, lonely, and at times, a soul destroying journey (one that can be read about another time).  I made a vow to myself that at some point in my life, I wanted to do something so no other woman would ever have to go through that journey alone.


Fast forward seven years, I was once again pregnant.  This time however, I was on alert to any signs and symptoms.  Again, I found myself with depression during my pregnancy, only this time managed to get counselling to see me through the pregnancy and after my baby was born.  It wasn’t ideal and once again, the local community was without any provision for women like myself.


For years I kept saying that I wanted to set up a group for postnatal depression, but as with all things, timing was key.  Then towards the end of 2012 I felt that it was time.  It had to happen.  I spoke with the manager of a children’s centre where I offered classes and despite previous conversations where she too had said it was needed, but the time wasn’t right, this time she agreed, it needed to happen.


Butterflies PND Support Group was born and launched in January 2013.


Throughout the time of the group running, I have been humbled to hear the stories of women’s experiences coupled with the desperate lack of support from health professionals, even when at times, women had admitted to being suicidal, nothing was done.


What has been apparent above all else, is the absolute relief that can be felt when a woman comes into group for the first time and talks.  Yes, it is incredibly emotional, but the main motivator is that she feels safe in the knowledge that she can talk, often for the first time, without judgement, without having to justify why she feels the way she does.  She has been heard.  She has a voice.


Recently, following a meeting within the community to see how we could promote the group further, myself and a member of the group were talking.  She was saying that she had started writing a few notes regarding possible training to further the understanding of postnatal depression.  I mentioned about how powerful a woman’s story is and the importance that her voice is heard.  Then (synchronicity, call it what you will), another member of the group shared a few blog posts she had written.  This cemented the idea and Women’s Voices of PND was born.


We are looking for women to contribute their story – whether it was the difficulties of anxiety, low mood or depression through pregnancy itself and / or after baby was born.  We are also keen to receive details of how women have been let down or in some cases, failed, by health professionals to whom they turned for support.


All stories are treated with absolute sensitivity.  Currently there is no deadline (after all, we’re mums too and appreciate how tricky it is to find 5 minutes let alone sit and write!)


Do you have a story you wish to share?  If so, share it with us.  We need…


1) Your story (don’t worry if writing is not your strong point, we are happy to edit and make adjustments where necessary)
2) Give your story a title – if you can’t think of one, we will help with that too
3) Authorship – either your full name; first name; initials or a pen name

Then send it to us via: butterfliespndwatford[at]gmail.com


We also have a Facebook group for the project and are starting to share excerpts of stories already submitted for inspiration and to give women a flavour of the project.  You can find us here: Women's Voices on Facebook


Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Claire Murphy
Support Group Leader / Butterflies PND Support Watford

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