St Albans mum praises pregnancy team, saying: “I wouldn’t be here without them”

Jenny Wickett, with baby Samuel and the family pet

Jenny Wickett, with baby Samuel and the family pet - Credit: Archant

A St Albans mother has said she became “detached from everything” after the birth of her first child.

Jenny with Henry, when she was unwell

Jenny with Henry, when she was unwell - Credit: Archant

Jenny Wickett, 41, an English teacher, got postnatal depression after the birth of her first child, Henry.

She said: “I felt like everything was a test and I was failing at everything.

“I was a bad mum, failing as a wife, a mother, everything.

“And those negative feelings and thoughts dominated everything.”

The Wickett family now

The Wickett family now - Credit: Archant


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She became obsessed with sleeping, as well as feeling like a failure.

A heavy sense of anxiety hung over her, and she struggled to relax even when the baby was sleeping.

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She said: “I became quite detached from everything and started having suicidal thoughts, thinking I can’t cope, they’d be better off without me.”

Her GP diagnosed her with depression, and she was admitted to Albany Lodge, a mental health unit.

Husband Andrew, 39, a chartered accountant, took on Henry’s care, fitting it in with his work and visiting his wife.

He said: “For the first 12 months it was all about Jenny being safe.

“When I look back it was pretty hard, but I just got on with it, I’m not very fluffy, I’m quite resilient.

“Henry didn’t know any different and we’d visit Jenny, go out for dinner to Wagamama’s, and go home, saying Mum was busy.”

When it came to Jenny’s second pregnancy, both her and Andrew worked to enjoy it.

They got the support of the Herts community perinatal team, a specialist service put together by Herts council and local NHS bodies.

Jenny said: “Second time around was so much better.

“I hope by sharing my story other women will realise it’s OK to ask for help. Early help is crucial.

“The services are there to provide support. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Her second child, Samuel, is now five-months-old.

Jenny’s case is far from being the only such case. NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG say between ten and 20 per cent of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy. or within the first year after having a baby.

For more information about the Community Perinatal Team visit www.hpft.nhs.uk/perinatal or call 0300 124 0939

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