The Sun Newspaper,An Open Letter

Dear -Fill in the blank,

One of your journalists approached me a few months back when I was on a 2 day break with my kids and cousins,via email with the subject of “Will you talk to me”. Now, I’m sure I can be forgiven for thinking that this was junk mail and to be honest, I should have deleted it and sent it to the trash where it quite rightly belonged but I didn’t. Instead, I engaged in a lengthly conversation about my experience with Post natal depression – and against my better judgement (as I had a feeling and a “niggle”) telling me not continue or share ,but oh boy, I sure did. See,that’s what some journalists feed on .. a person’s vulnerability and/or the need to want to help people and break down stigma , that they are willing to let you in to their thoughts and feelings, to tell the story of how they nearly god damn died because of what was going on.

I have been blogging and talking about my journey for many years and until recently, I didn’t have it in me for fear of judgement, to talk about and admit to the termination that I had. Due to shame and regret? Possibly and most probably but I was told that it would help other women. You got me hook,line and sinker. Silly ,me I guess.  Now, it is true that I had told this story to an amazing woman in a previous publication(so as your title suggested, it wasn’t an exclusive) a few weeks prior to but the Sun is much closer to home and I know that the chance of people I know reading it was more likely than the other.

When I received an email to tell me that it had been published, I was away at a residential bootcamp and had no coverage apart from wifi at certain times of the day.  Imagine my shock when I opened this.

My stomach sank and I was nearly sick. I have never ever been made to feel the way I felt on day of publication.  I couldn’t read the whole thing due to tears streaming down my face and the bile rising in my throat from my stomach. Over dramatic enough for you? Well unfortunately its all true which is more than I can say for your headline which I was told wasn’t written by the journalist who spoke to me- despite only her name being on the article.

I want to ask one thing… The headline talks about how I “aborted my healthy baby”. How do you know that this baby was healthy or not? How do you think that impacts a mother on the brink of suicide, making such a difficult decision , who thinks that she’s murdering her baby? Because i’ll tell you this, I was at that stage in my life and I fought so fucking hard to get through it all and I did. It was my husband, my daughter, my cousin,uncle and close friends who helped. Your paper hides behind the guise of wanting to help and share these stories but it is YOUR paper that adds to the stigma when you print headlines like that and take advantage of people like me.  You did real good though.. I like to think that I’m intelligent,worldly and educated pretty well….Maybe not.

When I tried contacting the journalist, she wasn’t in the office but her boss was. he didn’t reply until I sent two other emails and her dismissive attitude was a  further kick in the stomach.  I responded to her mail but I haven’t had a reply back so I am reponding to a few points via this open letter  Number 1. Apparently, “Sometimes seeing your story in print can be painful”- ahh , yes especially when it’s sensationalised. which leaves me to point 2.  questioning ethics…”Headlines are meant to grab attention” at the risk of someones mental health? Really, you want to go there? 3.The Scottish Sun has tackled many sensitive subjects without complaint – lies. Ask blogger @TheRealSupermum and the doozy which was done on her.

I vowed after this “story” was published( which some of it appears to have been taken from a certain other publication, tut tut)that I would never share anything again but I looked back at some of the old emails,texts and comments on my blog of support, and thought about why I started writing and share my story in the first palce. The conclusion that I came to was my need to let women (and men) who make difficult decisions every day or go through PND,Prenatal depression or depression as a whole, that they aren’t alone,there is support and no one needs to feel shame. You won’t destroy that because I won’t let you.  Your “rag” of a newspaper is thought less of than I am. The only one who should feel shame, is you.


Angeline Brunel Dickson

Abortion and PND

I’ve always been open and honest on this blog and been true to my readers about my experiences with Pre and Post Natal Depression but there was always a part of my story that I kept hidden until now. I think it has been hidden due to fear of judgement and backlash from those who don’t agree or approve but thanks to a chance email from a magazine and also support (once again) , from those lovely folk on twitter.. I have decided to speak out and to try to help other women who have had similar situations.
As most people know, I had really bad PND with my  daughter and not so bad pre and post natal depression, with my son. not long after my daughter was born – approx 12 months although can’t be 100% clear as that time for me and my husband , was quite hazy.. despite using contraception , I became pregnant. It was the most devistating news that I could ever receive at that point and I felt as though life was going to take a step back and I was never going to escape the hell that I was still currenlt in. With much talking with my husband and a GP, it was decided that we would have a termination of the pregnancy.
I have always had a open view on the subject of abortion and felt that it was the decision of those involved and that it is no ones right or role to judge. My only strong opinion was that no one should EVER use it as a form of contraception. EVER.
I went along to the hospital, had the first tablet given to me and wsa to return the next day for the second tablet. It ws at this point that things started going wrong adn I was in immense pain, bleeding more heavily than expected and I had to be given very strong painkillers, and kept in later in the evening. I also had a lot of time to think and to listen to the thoughts in my head, blaming myself and beating myself up for ending a life. I felt immense guilt but it was too late.
I think I went through a lot of different emotions because once everything was over, I won’t lie to you but I felt relief. I’m sorry for saying that. To all of you who have lost babies, to me, to anyone that wants children but can’t. I’m sorry but it wasn’t right for us, for me, for my daughter who was already resented at that time. It wasn’t fair for anyone- especially the child that I had growing inside of me but at that point I just wanted rid. It all sounds so harsh but I want to express my feelings and let it all out.
Life went on for us and I got better, and we decided to have another child. It wasn’t to be the first , second or third time as all resulted in early miscarriages and I thought that this was my punnishment for having had an abortion and that I missed my chance at having another baby. I then got pregnant with my son and early on I was referred (after tests to see why we were having difficulties conceiving), to the early pregnancy unit due to yet another   suspected miscarriage as I was passing blood. Thankfully though, there was a heart beat and he is a beautiful 2 year old . I did have major bleeding on one ocassion and had to be hospitalised but apart from that and hyperemesis, it went fine with a very quick delivery.
I guess by sharing this post, my whole story is out. I want people to know just how devestating and debilitating post and prenatal depression can be. It robs us of emotion, rational thinking, feelings, and lives. I hope that this post will help someone and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment.


Student Days Are Here Again!

At the ripe old age of 37, I will become a student again! I interviewed earlier this week despite having the flu and I must have done something right because they have given me an unconditional offer! 

The course is a diploma – level 3 in Complimentary Therapies.  I was accepted onto this course 2 yrs ago but I had to withdraw as I became pregnant and had hyperemesis and I wasn’t able to leave the house apart for midwife appointments and the odd school run.

I am very excited to be learning again, I think it will go hand in hand with my counselling qualification and my future study of mental health nursing. My plan is also to hopefully work with women who are experiencing prenatal depression, post natal depression and to see if I can return to the rape crisis centre where I’ve volunteered , to work with women who have experienced rape / sexual assault.

It looks like it’s going to be a pretty busy year come this August but it’s worth it to do something that can help people in so many ways. There’s also scope to go on to different courses thereafter such as stress management, baby massage etc.

The other really great things about this course will be the positive impact it will have on us in relation to healthy eating and relaxation! We could all do with a bit of that!

I look forward to writing about my experiences of beoming a student again!

How to Cope With Postnatal Depression:Guest Post

When it comes to celebration and times of happiness there are few things that can rival the birth of a child. People will offer their congratulations, send cards with their blessings or swamp you with a multitude of presents ranging from baby booties to gnome-sized hats. Everyone it would seem, from family members to forgotten friends on Facebook, will welcome the new addition with oversized smiles and giant grins. Newborn babies beat fireworks into a distant second place for the number of oooh’s and ahhhhh’s generated for a single event. Everyone it would seem is happy. But when this ensemble cast of well wishers exhaust their facial muscles, decide to go home and get on with their familiar and comforting daily routines, life for some mothers can be overwhelming and frequently stressful.

It’s not really surprising. After surgery or any type of trauma we’re told to rest up in bed, we’re signed off work and given instructions to sleep and recuperate. People bring us grapes, Lucozade and we watch daytime TV until we become an expert in antiques and house renovations. Now if we compare this with childbirth, we not only have minimal time to recover, but have the added anxiety of trying to look after a baby that doesn’t come with an instruction manual. It’s quite a lot to take in!

While most women will experience some form of “baby blues” shortly after giving birth, if the problem persists or actually gets worse then postnatal depression could be the result. It’s a serious condition and according to the NHS affects 1 in 7 women in the UK. With the exact cause still unknown, it’s presumed that the physical & emotional stress of childbirth, hormonal changes and our own social circumstances (support network, relationships) all contribute to postnatal depression. Symptoms can include:

• Lack of interest in your baby
• Negative feelings towards your baby
• Worrying about hurting your baby
• Lack of concern for yourself
• Loss of pleasure
• Lack of energy and motivation
• Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
• Changes in appetite or weight
• Sleeping more or less than usual
• Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

First time mothers are also more susceptible as they not only have to cope with sleepless nights, fatigue and the demands of a new routine, but also have to adapt to their changing role and the limitations therein.

So is there anything that can be done to help cope with postnatal depression? There are the standard forms of self-help guidance, cognitive behavioural therapy and of course prescription medications, which may help get us there eventually – but are there any alternatives that can deliver meaningful results more quickly?

Vedic meditation is a technique that’s being used more frequently for expectant mothers and those suffering with postnatal depression. It differs from other meditation techniques in its ease and effectiveness of practice, particularly for those of us who already have a million things to do! Where other methods are based on contemplation or concentration (e.g. focusing on a candle), the use of a simple sound, or mantra, quietly spoken in the mind with eyes closed, allows the mind to naturally enter a different state of awareness. The busy mind that’s innately trying to cope with the innumerable worries of being a mother, slowly settles and the anxiety starts to fade away.

It’s in this place of calm, peace and quiet where the healing begins. Our over-stimulated nervous system, which is frequently on alert, gently reverts back to a balanced equilibrium. Things no longer seem overwhelming, we are free of anxiety and we can face our challenges with a rational frame of mind. The areas of our brain associated with reasoning are also strengthened and the branch of our nervous system, which facilitates our rest and relaxation responses, begins activating again. So we find it easy to descend into deep sleep very easily. Coupled with the profound rest we gain during Vedic meditation (2 to 5 times deeper than the deepest point in sleep), we are more robust, rested and resilient. Quite the virtue when coping with disrupted sleep patterns.

The brain, as with any other muscle in the body, needs time to rest and re-charge. Finding time to do this with a new family can be a challenge, but 20 minutes in the morning and evening is manageable for most, and the results of this short dive into meditation can be nothing short of dramatic. Our outlook on the world changes and with it the body responds. When we’re calm our hormones can revert back to how they should be, serotonin (our happy hormone) is produced and the pressures of rushing between Peppa Pig and potties can seem much more manageable, perhaps even enjoyable!

When relieved of the baggage of stress and strain we are more present and can enjoy each new evolving and ever changing moment with joy and energy.

Having a child can be one of the most amazing and profound moments of our lives. While it’s certainly not easy all of the time, everyone has the ability to tap into their full potential and do the best that they possibly can. Meditation is simply a tool that allows you to surprise yourself with how capable you can really be.

About the Author: Will Williams is the founder of Will Williams Meditation in London. Follow him on Google+

Breast Feeding 101 &PND

Women only breast feed if there is something in it for them such as losing weight and shopping. That’s it, nothing more nothing less. We can be bought with shopping vouchers and are motivated by money and selfishness and at no point do we think about the health and well being of our baby.

Now, if you believe that you’ll believe anything.. However this is what society an the government are starting to think. What hope as women do we have when attitudes like that are still rife?!.

I really have to hold myself back here and not launch into naughty words, but what the utter fuck?! How in the hell can people bribe you do something that ultimately is YOUR choice? Yes, it IS best for baby but there are so many many factors involved in whether a woman can breast feed or not and no, it doesn’t come down to the simple promise if being paid £200 in shopping vouchers.

We also have the absolute contradiction where people are all for breast feeding but have you ever seen the looks that some people can give you? I’m not saying don’t do it for that reason but just showing the double standards of society.

I really can’t understand how someone could come up with such an offensive “idea” but even worse that it could be allowed out to the public! What about using the money to help homeless, children etc?

I’m absolutely flabbergasted this morning.. How does this make you feel as a parent?

What makes me even angrier is the fact that this news story has gotten more coverage than the woman who killed her young baby due to having Post Natal Depression. I was supposed to be interviewed on the radio this AM but due to a last minute story ie, this one, it was thrown out the window. And they wonder why people go to such desperate measures when suffering? Shame on you, the media because it is you who are part of the problem and stigmas.

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