Sophie, Damion and Florence's story Helping a struggling mother to bond with her daughter

Sophie and baby Florence“I had been with my partner Damion less than a year when I got pregnant. The time was right, I was doing really well and I felt like my world was complete.

“The following month I was having a lot of pain. The doctors kept saying it was a bladder infection but it turned out to be a pelvic problem, which is very unusual so early on in pregnancy.

“I had previously suffered from depression and in this situation, where I couldn’t move and was on crutches, my depression came back with a vengeance. It didn’t help that I had moved to a town I wasn’t from, so I was very lonely. I was that bad that the doctor had to send people around to sit with me during the day when my partner was at work so I didn’t harm myself or do anything to jeopardise my pregnancy.

“I gave birth to a baby girl 3 weeks early, so it was a bit of a shock. I didn’t have time to prepare for that. I was in hospital with her for 5 days. I was trying to get to grips with feeding her but she wasn’t latching on, which I found disheartening.

"I thought I'd made it through pregnancy without causing any major harm so I was over the worst of it. I was so wrong."
Sophie

“After the baby was born the nurses did give me a pack of leaflets. But nobody came and went through everything with me. Even a questionnaire about how I was feeling before I left the hospital would have been great because I was feeling rubbish.

“Nobody told me it would be that difficult to cope with a new baby. I thought I’d made it through pregnancy without causing any major harm, so I was over the worst of it. I was so wrong.

“The first couple of weeks were a blur really, but I know they weren’t good. I found it very stressful when the baby cried. I had one midwife who really helped me. She told me to make sure my baby was safe and just walk out of the room if I really needed to.

“I wouldn’t pick Florence up. I wouldn’t go near her. I spent a lot of time in the bedroom and left my partner to deal with everything. I ignored her screams and I yelled at her.

"People knew I was struggling but they didn't know the extent."
Sophie

“I felt that she was this amazing thing and when she was born that every single bit of good just left me and went into her. I wasn’t attached as much as I should have been.

“People knew I was struggling but they didn’t know the extent. I had a couple of visits when I lived away from home. I remember one of my friends phoned but I threw the phone away because I didn’t want to talk to her.

“She was born at the end of June and I decided September time that I wanted to move back home. I moved in with my nan. I told Damion that I was going back home and he could come if he wanted. We stayed there for 4 months and during that time I felt more able to cope. My mum was nearby and my nan was a great influence. I managed to get back on my feet and I started bonding with her.

“I can totally understand why some parents lose it because I was close to doing it on more than one occasion. Everybody thinks pregnancy and having a baby is the greatest thing in the world but it’s very difficult. I just couldn’t cope with it.

“I was told that if my baby was constantly crying I should pick her up. No-one said that I should look after myself first, apart from that one midwife. I was in such a frame of mind that I really do not know what would have happened if I had picked her up.

"No-one said that I should look after myself first, apart from that one midwife."
Sophie

“I was very resentful towards her. I went through such a long period of time feeling guilty for hating her and for telling her that. It took me 4 or 5 months to get over that stage. Now Florence is a wonderful, polite, well-behaved but cheeky 2-year-old.

“My partner has been a diamond. When we first got together I was overcoming my depression and I was sorting myself out. It was very difficult for him to see me go from that person to the horrible person I became. We have our ups and downs, but I’m forever grateful for the help that he’s given me.

“What happened during my pregnancy and the first months of my daughter’s life will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. I was very ashamed of admitting I had such a problem. When I did get help my doctors were amazing and they were there if I ever needed them.” 


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