Why we support the PANDAS foundation | Perinatal and Postnatal support

Mama Jewels support two charities, but today I’m just going to talk about why we support the PANDAS foundation.

The PANDAS Foundation is a fabulous UK charity that supports women through perinatal and postnatal mental health problems and provides them with support to overcome their struggles to feel well again.

My own experience of postnatal mental health struggles was very low level compared to the level some of my friends have experienced, but at the time it was very big for me.

I had always wanted to breastfeed and so when I found it a struggle with very little support, I began to feel like a huge failure as a parent. I know things have changed a lot since my first son was born 15 years ago, but to have a health visitor joke about pain and blood being normal was really not helpful.

I’m a fighter, an achiever and so at 4 months old, my son and I finally mastered this breastfeeding lark, only to be faced with the next crisis a month later of me being encouraged into returning to work as soon as I could. I know now I wasn’t ready and I had no idea what impact this would have on feeding him and milk production.

Late meetings, getting stuck on the M1 in traffic, and little flexibility meant that most evenings I was home too late to feed him. Within 2 weeks he was feeding from a bottle, my milk had dried up and I was seriously struggling with guilt.

All that hard work, pain, and perseverance went in the space of a fortnight. Epic parent fail!

I cried as I dropped him off at nursery, I cried on the motorway as I raced to pick him up and I felt so guilty I’d let him down.

Luckily the story ends well. With my second son, we mastered the art of feeding much more quickly. I’d like to say he was a natural, but it more likely that I actually had a clue what I was doing and by this time there was a huge initiative with health visitors to promote care and support for mums wanting to breastfeed.

Whilst on Maternity leave I trained with Sure Start as a volunteer peer supporter for other mums struggling, which in turn helped their mental health. Perinatal and Postnatal mental health struggles are very high in the UK, in particular with working mums. I have friends who’ve had terrible experiences of PND and Psychosis and in some ways, I feel like one of the lucky ones.

Something else also happened during that maternity leave – I started Mama Jewels, but that’s a much longer story for another day!

If you are experiencing feelings of low mood during pregnancy or after you’ve given birth, even if it feels low level to you, t’s worth taking a look at their website for support. If you have a friend who’s really struggling take a look at their help available. We certainly found it invaluable.  PANDAS