Maternal Support
 
Louise Moxon with her children

My story, what I went through and why I've started Cocoon

By Louise Moxon - Director  & Founder of Cocoon

In November 2004 my first child was born, a baby girl. It was the most cherished moment of my life. However, after 3 months of joy I started to feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, I had no energy or motivation to do anything.

To be honest I sometimes felt like taking my own life.

I knew I didn't really want to die, but it seemed as if there was no way out of the black hole I was in. I was so anxious and panicky all the time, but I didn't know what about. I would wake up in the night and not be able to go back to sleep, because my mind was racing. I am usually such an outgoing and sociable person but I felt as if I'd had a total personality change.

It was my husband that first suggested I see our family doctor, who told me that I was suffering from Postnatal Depression.

At first I couldn't believe I could become depressed; I was always the one who would see most things in such a positive light. However, once I actually accepted the illness and believed I could get better I began to recover. It took me several months of psychiatric therapy, medication, alternative therapy and support from both my family and friends to recover from what were the darkest months of my life.

It was during my recovery that I decided to sell my shares in my business, where I held position of CEO. At the time, I believed if I had to split myself between work and my family both would suffer, so I sold my shares in the business in November 2005.

In January 2006 sadly my father lost his battle to cancer, which was understandably a very emotional time. Then, in August 2006, my daughter suffered some severe medical problems which left me feeling both traumatised and sleep deprived.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, after two such major events I suffered a relapse of postnatal depression. I must add here that some women get PND without any obvious trauma trigger. This time I was so incapacitated both mentally and physically. I was terrified and felt as though nobody really understood how I was actually feeling.

It was then that I felt I had to have more intense therapy treatment on a daily basis so that I could gain greater knowledge of PND and the tools to perhaps overcome this illness. Fortunately, I was able to be treated at The Priory, Roehampton where I spent 4 weeks in therapy as well as being looked after on a daily basis by a brilliant psychiatrist.

As well as learning how to overcome both depression and anxiety I also made some great friends through the group therapies, which were significant in helping me to recover. I finally felt I had found people who understood how I was feeling and we could relate to one another.

Louise Moxon with her children

I was home for Lilah's 2nd Birthday and at last felt I had put everything behind me and my days of Postnatal Depression were over.

Once recovered and free from all medication I fell pregnant again in June 2007. However, sadly at five months pregnant I lost our baby. In March 2008 I fell pregnant again and this time the pregnancy and birth went brilliantly. On 2nd December 2008 I gave birth at St Thomas' hospital to a healthy baby boy.

The following six weeks after the birth of our son were extremely happy. We we're looked after by a maternity nurse called Kate Tong. She was an unbiased person who made me relax. She had a subtle way of instructing and encouraging as well as being incredibly knowledgeable with everything to do with babies. She was never overbearing and managed to help me feel like I was in control and became a pillar of strength in those early weeks of my son's life.

After 6 weeks Kate left for a new assignment and over the next few weeks I felt myself once again fall into the depths of Postnatal Depression. My family and the friends and professionals that helped me before were amazing and stepped in where they could to enable me to recover. I had all the same symptoms of PND as before.

At least this time I was able to recognize the symptoms, had the tools to cope with the illness and most importantly was able to do something immediately about it before it completely took over.

These experiences of PND have inspired me to help others and where I can, through Cocoon give people the knowledge and tools to be prepared for whatever journey motherhood may bring.

Becoming a mother has been a journey for me and a huge learning curve. As cliché as it may sound, I owe my life to my wonderful family, friends and professionals that have helped me.  I feel far more compassionate towards others now and have a huge amount of empathy for others experiencing a mental illness. I truly believe that my life has changed for the better, having experienced postnatal depression.