This week BabyCalm announced that they have pledged their support to a new support service for those affected by Antenatal & Postnatal depression, PTSD, Birth Trauma and Puerperal Psychosis, both in an advisory and ambassador role but also in a fundraising role. We are pleased to announce that all proceeeds from the launch of our national BabyCalm coffee morning, in celebration of the BabyCalm book launch internationally, on October 4th, will be donated to PANDAS in order to help them in their fantastic work. PND and birth trauma are subjects close to my heart, not only because they are both so common and affect many of the new mothers we work with, but because I have first hand experience of both conditions myself and am so passionate that no new mother should go through what I went through alone. Indeed I have devoted a whole chapter in my book to PND and birth trauma so I am delighted to be working with PANDAS in order to both raise awareness of these common conditions and provide more support for those that it affects.

The rest of this blog was written by Racheal Dobson, Founder of PANDAS:

The PANDAS Foundation (Pre And postNatal Depression Advice and Support) was set up to support individuals and their families suffering from Pre (Ante)natal Depression, Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis. We offer a variety of support mechanisms such as email support, A PANDAS telephone Helpline, the PANDAS website, regional support groups and in some areas one to one support.

Our aim is to ensure that every individual suffering from these illnesses gets the support they require to begin their road to recovery. I started the PANDAS Foundation, along with my husband Stuart, due to my experience of Postnatal Depression after my son,  Andreas, was born in February 2010. I found there was very little support available which allowed me to meet other individuals and families going through the same or similar situation as me. PANDAS officially launched on the 15th August 2011 and have grown in strength ever since. We are now rapidly gaining support from different areas of the United Kingdom.

I have put my story on our website – and below – in the hope if gives others comfort to know that they are not on their own,  it is ok to admit you are struggling. Prenatal Depression, Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis are all illnesses, like any other and nothing to be ashamed of.

My birth wasn’t exactly plain sailing, I had an emergency caesarean and was left feeling as if I was being attacked. I have never had so many people in one room. I had to have a blood transfusion which amounted to me waking up after having my baby.

I Sat in a side room on my own, looking over into a cot. I was not met with love or joy, just nothing…. Empty. More and more people came to see me and my sister said I must be so proud. The only person I could tell was my husband. I felt such a shame of a women, a wife and a mother.

Everyone was telling me how I should be feeling and all I wanted was to just go back to time when it was just my husband and I.  I knew this was selfish, but I spent what felt like my childhood caring for my mum. My husband was my escape and on our 1st anniversary, having friends round I felt like finally “I’m me, I can do what I want, what people my age do”. So I blamed this little vulnerable child… Baby even, for taking that away from me.’

We are really pleased at the PANDAS Foundation to have gained the support from BabyCalm and we look forward to working with them. We already have one BabyCalm teacher,Sam Gately, setting up a Cardiff PANDAS Support Group and I personally look forward to meeting more BabyCalm teachers and discussing how we can support each other.

If you require more information, advice or support, on prenatal depression, postnatal depression or postnatal psychosis, please visit our website at www.pandasfoundation.org.uk or alternatively you can call our Pandas Help Line on 0843 28 98 401.