PANDAS Guest Blogs - Archive - PANDAS Foundation UK


When PND Stole Me Away From Nellie and My Family

This post contains references to infant loss and hyperemesis gravidarum, and may be upsetting for some.

Elation – that’s what you will feel when you give birth so you can forget about the nine months of HG sickness, depression and anxiety, the bleeds and fluid loss; not to mention my baby not moving regularly. This was just the start of my journey.  

I had lost two babies previously, got pregnant by accident with the third and could never bring myself to acknowledge that I was pregnant – I was filled with anxiety and worry and a sense of loss that I would most definitely give birth to another dead baby. This was teamed with a sense of guilt and horror of my previous miscarriages. I didn’t get help to move past them, and with the awfulness of wanting to just be dead because I felt so ill during this pregnancy, it played with my mind body and soul and there were times when I just didn’t want to be, let alone have a baby. 

And that is reality of PND – I would never think that it was real, so I tried to carry on with my normal life of working in the city of London; being sick on numerous platforms and on people on the tube, fainting and getting carted off to hospital at least every week so they could pump me full of vitamins and fluid just to get my arse out of bed of a morning. I looked pregnant but never felt the joy of it. To me it was just a horrific process that was going to end in tears and heart ache when I’m told  again I won’t be taking a baby home. 

And that stuck to me. I didn’t pack my bag until the last minute and took minimal items for the baby. I never actually considered names seriously, I took no part in putting the room together and placed only small baby clothes in the drawers, still in their packets as I just couldn’t see how this was ever going to happen.  

I suffered with HG (hyperemesis Gravidarum). I have many stories about how this made me want to just curl up and die. Now, looking back, the thing was I had the nose of a trained police dog – I could smell what you had eaten or drank days before. On one occasion on the tube it all ended in carnage: Contestant number 1, who smelt like they had been drinking after work (very jealous). This made the bile enter my throat! Contestant number 2 who clearly worked in a Chinese restaurant made me want to smash down a chicken chow mein but that brought the bile and food up into my mouth. Contestant 3 who had their armpit in my face just smelt of complete and utter smelliness and the sick was there ready to go – then Contestant  4 got on the train and smelt like a smoking room. Now, I liked the smell of smoke during my pregnancy as I was an ex smoker but this was enough for me to projectile, exorcist style, over a whole carriage of people. Now don’t get me wrong, I would be angry, but the abuse I got meant I just had to get off the train. It started and didn’t stop and I wildly shouted back “I’m pregnant, you idiots!” as the train pulled off. I retreated to being sick at the end of the platform and was swiftly told to remove myself and asked how much I had been drinking! (I wish) “I’m pregnant,” I kept saying and was escorted to the police office were I proceeded too cry and tell them I need an ambulance not police to arrest me as was about to faint and could not stop being sick in the tube station bin!  

These type of incidents happened often and got me down down down to the point I just didn’t want to be pregnant, but I got filled with guilt because of the losses I had suffered before.  

I was told at 25 weeks there was a high chance I wouldn’t make it the whole way through and this thought just consumed me. It brought what I can only call the cloud of depression on me, and it stayed and rained on my parade 24 hours a day.   

Laura was gone, she was a nothing; just an extremely sick mother-to-be who could not acknowledge the pregnancy let alone the birth. After two days of pain, drugs, crying, sickness, temperatures and pushing I finally gave birth to my baby girl but again coldly didn’t acknowledge her birth and started acting out of sorts afterwards – wanting to see my placenta, reverting to making jokes about the labor and telling them to stitch me up and do a good job. 

PND had stolen my sense of identity. I didn’t know who I was and just could not acknowledge I was a mother. I could only see this robotic person who had to act happy through the dark cloud that had descended upon me. This was just the start of how PND took me into its arms and didn’t let go for two years, essentially taking me away from my Nellie and my family.  

 by Laura 


About Laura: 

This is my journey, and my blog. Publishing this is to help in my recovery but also to educate and let everyone know out there the truth about Peri and Post natal depression and how real it is and just how that has taken over my life for the last few years. 

I am a 34 year old normal working professional (well nearly back to work) who has been thrown head first into this unknown world of depression. Starting long ago when I lost 2 babies and building again when I was pregnant with Nellie and now I am ready to share my stories and journey in the hope that it will help others to seek help and reach out in their time of need.  

Post and Peri Natal depression​ / PTSD and Anxiety is a dark dark place and is not always recognised as an illness but it is. It takes hard work, therapy, strength, highest highs and lowest lows to get to the point of recovery but it is achievable. Don’t feel alone – reach out and just say “I need help.” Easy for me to say now but I wish I did it sooner. 

 I want to ensure that you know this is a funny crazy and light hearted blog with some deep and dark emotions involved so please do not be offended or think bad of what’s written. It is the truth, it’s my story in my own words.  

 So to everyone who is going to follow me and my journey please read, cry and say goodbye to PND together with me!

Follow Laura on Instagram

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Laura’s Blog 



Seven Seventeen PNDAW17 Giveaway

As part of #PNDAW, Seven Seventeen are generously offering a three wick 500ml candle in their newest scent, Sea Kelp, as a fantastic prize. 

Called ‘You Got This‘, their candles are hand poured to ensure even fragrance distribution and finished with cotton wicks to prevent ugly black smoke, presented in recycled glass pharmacy jars. £1 from every sale goes to PANDAS Foundation, to help us continue to support people through pre and postnatal mental illness.

As well as their fantastic candles in three sizes (perfect as gifts or treats), you can also subscribe to receive a monthly candle direct to your doorstep.

Click the Rafflecoptor giveaway below for a chance to win!


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Bare Biology #PNDAW17 Giveaway

Bare Biology offers the The UK’s First 5-star Fish Oil. High quality suppliments, from a sustainable source, and bottled in the UK, their omega-3 suppliments are taiolored to the whole family.

As part of their support for #PNDAW17, Bare Biology are offering a Family Pack of their high-quality Omega 3 supplements.

The family back contains their Lionheart mini capsules, Superhero (for kids) and Bump and Glory (for pregnancy). 

Enter the giveaway (via Rafflecoptor) below!

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Win with Sarah Beeson MBE for #PNDAW17

As part of the run up to our live Twitter Chat with Sarah Beeson MBE, she is kindly offering  3 signed copies of her book ‘Happy Baby, Happy Family‘.

With over  40 years hands-on experience of working as a health visitor, this book is full of the author’s secrets and tried and tested strategies on breastfeeding, sleeping, weaning, calming your baby and forming a secure attachment. Nurturing, practical and refreshingly honest, this book embraces the idea that one-size parenting doesn’t fit all, but with Sarah Beeson’s book to hand you have a best friend with great advice and a gentle approach to guide you through the first


Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win, and don’t forget to join us on twitter for the chat

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PNDAW17 Giveaway with Little Magpies

Our friends at Little Magpies are very generously offering a piece of teething jewellery to one lucky winner, as part of their support for #PNDAW17.

Little Magpies stock teething & nursing Jewellery to soothe sore gums and keep little fingers busy. Safe for baby, stylish for mum. As a Friend of PANDAS, 10% of their profits are generously donated to us here at PANDAS, helping us support those going through pre and postnatal mental illnesses.


Enter via the rafflecoptor competition below – and don’t forget to follow them on twitter!

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Win a FitBumpBox for #PNDAW17

Win this fantastic FitBumpBox, as part of PND Awareness Week 2017. Brought to you by leading pregnancy & postnatal fitness expert Dr. Joanna Helcké, invited speaker at The Baby Show and at Body Power, the UK’s top fitness event, contributor to all your favourite baby magazines, award winner & co-chair of the Guild of Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Instructors.

A perfect prize for Mums-To-Be, or a gift for someone you love, enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!

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Self Expression – by Pamela Mesinas

Pamela is deputy in training for PANDAS SW London. As part of her recovery, Pamela used drawings and paintings as a way of expressing herself and managing how she was feeling. She has kindly agreed to share her art here.


Picture 1 of 9


I felt the need of support 9 months after my daughter. and then after my CBT treatment finished, I was still learning how to cope so I felt the need to express myself somehow and the best way for me to do it was through my hobbies I used to do before my daughter was born such as painting, drawing, dancing and exercise in general. 


So these are my paintings/drawings, expressing myself.




I didn’t care if it was a masterpiece or how aethestic it was, I just needed to get rid of those negative thoughts and feelings about myself, others around me and even the world.


I felt more criticism than support from others so I was desperate to express myself.



I didn’t even plan or think an specific image to draw, I was just totally guided by my thoughts and my feelings at that moment.



I let myself go.



For mor information about PANDAS SW London, or any of our support groups, visit our groups page here.



My PNDAW17 Poem – by Hannah Gerken

Hannah is a PANDAS Volunteer, managing our volunteers, helpline, and support groups. A trainee midwife with knowledge and experience in mental health, she wrote this poem to show how PANDAS volunteers understand the emotions surrounding prenatal mental illness – and so reassure anyone reading that no-one needs to feel alone.



My small bump is growing in size,

If I said I was pleased, it would be a lie.

I first hear your heart beating, so clear and loud,

My heart feels nothing, I am certainly not proud.


My baby, so longed for, so wanted and meant to be,

I couldn’t feel more different and no one can see.

I’m scared, I’m resentful and I can’t tell a soul,

I know they would judge me, think I’m out of control.


I never knew how being pregnant would make me feel,

I don’t even want to admit that this is all real.

My family and friends can see I’m unhappy,

Maybe it is because I am constantly snappy.


This can’t go on, but where do I turn?

Is loving my baby something I can learn?

The midwife asked me if I was okay,

So I plucked up courage to say I wish it would all go away.


She told me there’s an illness called prenatal depression,

It is more common than you think but a taboo expression.

Its not my fault and it can be treated,

With the correct support it can be defeated.


I am not a bad mum for feeling this way,

So from the bottom of my heart I just want to say,

I can understand that you don’t feel good enough,

But you are not alone; PANDAS are here when it all gets too tough.


All our volunteers have been there before,

Your innermost feelings they will not ignore.

We will always be here to listen,

And somewhere along the way a ray of hope will glisten.


LISTEN – by Claire Kay

The following poem, LISTEN, was written using the words of hundreds of members of the group ‘Birth Story Listeners‘.

When Claire Kay ask them ‘if they could recommend one change to their care providers which might have lessened the severity of the trauma they experienced – what would it be?’ …



“Listen” please won’t you, don’t forget to explain. 
I know my own body, you don’t feel my pain.
Respect me with kindness, dignity, care, 
as if I was family, with compassion, and fair 

to all of us women; for us, this is new.
You may do this everyday, but we need staff who 
will support us, not interfere, hold back and wait,
not rush, shout or bully us, coerce us with bait 

of a healthy baby ,yes we want that too!
But we need more emotional care carers who 
understand we are human, not statistics, machines;
women with feelings, Mothers with dreams. 

Mind, body, souls who deserve your best care.
Listen to us women and just “be there” 
to support us when needed, speak honesty, truth; 
communication, respect choices, don’t soothe 

with false information, cover up, lie.
Speak to us clearly, look us in the eye. 
Believe us and trust us ’cause we are in charge.
We welcome your presence because birth is hard!

But we need more support from you cheer-lead us too, 
understand when we’re frightened, hope to win through!
We need less interventions less surgery, sweeps, 
better pain relief, privacy, less induction, belief 

that we can get through this; not watching the clock.
And by the way “no means no” when we tell you – stop! 
‘Cause this is “our” body, and “we” call the shots.
You may have the titles, you may know the lot 

but you don’t feel my feelings, you don’t feel my pain,
you don’t know my body, you don’t feel my strain.
Please don’t restrict me allow me to move! 
Give me choice of position, read my birth plan, exude 

a sensitive presence; be aware of my past, 
if I’ve had a bad time before… PTSD…at last…
we get to the crux of it, PTSD is real! 
The way you look after me, the way I ‘feel’ 

makes a mighty big difference to the way I’ll recover, 
how I bond with my baby, how I start out as “Mother.”
We know many traumas just happen, aren’t planned, 
emergencies, surgeries, blood loss …and

if these things do happen, please stay by our side; 
explain what just happened, hold our hands, wipe our eyes. 
And remember our partners – for we need them too.. 
don’t send them away, we need our loved ones who 

will be there when we leave here, they too may be scared, 
they too need compassion they too to be heard.
So “listen” just “listen”, when you do “really hear.” 
We trust you’ll remember this thank you kindly dear 

dear midwives and doctors, surgeons, GPs, 
anaesthetists, class leaders, feeding specialists, trainees.
Please do remember this, and if you do 
we’ll avoid the worst trauma, we’ll be Mothers who 

can start out with confidence, hope, not despair, 
less nightmares and flashbacks, tears, fears, guilt to bare 
for our lost birth experiences; soreness, bleeding, 
infection, distress, mental illness, un-healing 

wounds that remain in our minds, in our hearts.
Enable us, equip us, give us the best starts. 
And if we do suffer – please do not tell us to 
“put it all far behind us”, to “push on through 

with our new healthy babies,” that’s not all that counts,
for we matter too!
Hear our voice, hear our shouts!
PTSD awareness, raise up, make it known, 
then we’ll be more equipped, we won’t feel so alone.

So thank you for listening to this chapter, this verse, 
we trust you’ll take heed of this, take time to converse 
on your courses, in staff rooms, with family, friends;
for it’s time PTSD in Mothers ends! 



Find out more on facebook, at:


Reflections – by Hannah Sturland

In the run up to PND Awareness week (4-10th September 2017) I’ve been thinking about how much has changed since I met with a team to film an interview about post-natal anxiety for the first PND Awareness Week last year.

The opportunity to participate in PNDAW16 came from my involvement with PANDAS Foundation (a charity supporting those with pre and post-natal mental health issues). PANDAS helped me to set up a local support group because I am determined to help others who suffer with pre and post-natal mental health problems. 

Since the interview I have seen counsellors, a hypnotherapist, completed a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and I’m on the way to regularly practicing Mindfulness. I also finally agreed to take the anti-depressants that the doctor has been offering me since all this started.

All of the therapies that I have tried have had an impact in some way; teaching me how to recognise unhelpful thoughts and practices, giving me techniques to manage each day and helping me to be kinder to myself.

However, I’ve come to realise over the last year that whilst all these things are great and help me in their own way, the only person that can really help me is well, me.

That is a really daunting thought given that I’m not exactly a ‘glass half full’ kind of person.

It takes a lot of energy to get up and get through each day and the thought of having to do more than that; to recover, is overwhelming.

I know that I am lucky; I have a supportive network of a husband, family and friends who are helping me to be strong and see the positive in life. But the fundamental problem is that I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve spent so long in the dark fog of depression just trying to survive each day that I’ve lost my sense of self and forgotten what it feels like to be well.

So this is the decision; do I remain someone who is only ‘okay’ but who is a bit lost and unhappy, or do I climb out of this hole, discover who I am now and crack on with living my life?

While the answer I want to choose appears obvious, I know it’ll be hard. I can’t decide to do this for my family, friends or even for my children. I need to want to do this for me.

I do.

I’m ready to get back to joy.

Please join me on my adventure and let’s see where we get to by PNDAW18!

H x



Hannah blogs about the ups, downs (and absolute craziness) of a recovery from severe PND and Anxiety, at PND To Happiness



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