Lindsay Robinson tells VIEW editor Brian Pelan of her battle with postnatal depression and how she now wants to help other mums who may be struggling with the illness
As the sunshine streaked into the living room of an east Belfast home, it was hard to believe that the radiant-looking young woman opposite me has been suffering from postnatal depression.
Thirty-three old Lindsay Robinson, who is a mother of a two-year-old boy called Reuben and is married to Democratic Unionist Party MP Gavin Robinson, spoke softly as she described her harrowing experience.
“I am five months into recovery and I am definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I think it’s only hitting me now, as I am getting better, just how physically, emotionally and mentally unwell I had become. Now that I am beginning to recover I am finding myself again.
“I was very ill for a couple of years and wasn’t really sure what was wrong with me until last summer when I was finally diagnosed with postnatal depression. It was actually reading other mums’ stories online that helped me to speak up. Their stories made so much sense and helped me get my diagnosis of postnatal depression. I decided once I was feeling well enough, I wanted to try and use my experience to try and help other mums.”
Lindsay tells how she decided to write a very personal blog (Have you seen that girl?) to put down in words what she was feeling.
She grew up in Portstewart, Co Derry. About seven years ago she moved to east Belfast where she met Gavin.
She said: “I’m five months into taking medication although I’ve only been on the highest dose for three months and I am not thinking about changing that or doing anything with it until the summer. “I hate to sound critical, but certainly in the first few months after I had Reuben the help provided to me by some people from the medical profession was very poor. I had asked for help on two occasions, three months after Reuben was born, and I was completely dismissed. I was told: ‘This is how mums feel, just get over it – it’s no big deal’.
“Once I got a different GP it changed. He looked me in the eye and said: ‘You’ve got postnatal depression but you’re going to be okay.’ I could have kissed him. It was such a relief to know that this is what’s wrong with me and it doesn’t have to be this way forever.”
Lindsay, who has recently become a health ambassador for the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (NIAMH), said: “I’m finding my voice again through my blog, but I’m also just finding day-to-day life is much easier. “I look forward to the day rather than dreading it. I enjoy being able to sit down and watch one of my favourite programmes on TV – I couldn’t do that for two years. I am enjoying being out with friends. I just feel like life once again is to be lived and I’m able to do that.”
I asked Lindsay did she think that her experience has changed her? “It’s definitely changed me. It’s changed how I see life. “It’s changed completely what my initial view of motherhood and even family was like from how I imagined what it would be like to be a mum and have a child.
“I’m now starting to look and see what can I learn from these last two years and it doesn’t always have to be negative. “I’m a different person now because of this.”
• To read the latest issue of VIEW, which looks at a range of health stories, go to http://viewdigital.org/2016/04/01/fight-for-health-latest-issue-of-view/