Welwyn Hatfield mums unite to tackle the stigma and isolation of postnatal depression

PUBLISHED: 11:14 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:26 10 August 2017

Butterflies Community and Hertfordshire Therapy Centre psychotherapist and clinical lead Rebecca McCann at the centre on Tewin Road. Picture: Danny Loo

Butterflies Community and Hertfordshire Therapy Centre psychotherapist and clinical lead Rebecca McCann at the centre on Tewin Road. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A Welwyn Garden City mum gripped with postnatal depression following the births of both her children is aiming to raise awareness of the condition and support other mums who might be suffering.

Jenny Apostolos. Jenny Apostolos.

Psychotherapist Rebecca McCann, 38, has set up the Butterflies Community, a network of volunteer-run communities rained in providing peer support for women in the perinatal period.

Many of these volunteers are mums who have experienced emotional distress or mental ill health themselves. Rebecca suffered from postnatal depression and anxiety with both of her two daughters, now aged 10 and six.

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “At seven months pregnant with my second child, my anxiety started getting worse. I wondered ‘How will I love two children?’ which caused a rupture in my relationship with my new daughter before she was born.

“There is a stigma around postnatal mental illnesses.

“The biggest fear most mothers have is that their children will be removed from them by social services if they ask for help.

“The best advice I have is to talk, do not be afraid, you do not have to have a diagnosis to get help.”

Rebecca started Butterflies Community in July 2012 as a direct response to the lack of support locally for mums struggling with their emotional and mental health.

She added: “Now I know I’m a good mum, now I trust myself.”

Postnatal mental illnesses can include postnatal depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and postpartum psychosis.

Jenny Apostolos, 27, who runs the Facebook page for Butterflies Community suffers from PTSD, postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety after her pregnancy with her now two-year-old son.

She said: “It took me a while to realise I was suffering from postnatal mental illnesses.

“When my child was seven months old, I realised my obsession over little things and feeling low all the time was not normal. I was pushing people close to me away.

“Small amounts of anxiety are normal, but when you are feeling crippling anxiety it is not.

“Doctors are not there to make you a villain, they are there to give you confidence.”

If you wish to contact Butterflies Community for help call 07969315591 or email contactus@butterfliescommunity.

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