I have enjoyed a successful career as a television presenter working for the BBC covering Olympics, World Cups and Wimbledons. I worked a lot in football and was the first woman to present Match of the Day back in 2005. I married James in 2007 and we were delighted to conceive a year later. My pregnancy was pretty textbook and I worked until the end. In fact I remember reporting at Wimbledon and interviewing the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a bulging tummy and l was full of smiles. Harry was very much a planned baby and I could feel the bond in pregnancy and I was excited about meeting my baby.
My labour when it came was over 40 hours, long and hard and I was a little shell shocked when my beautiful baby first came out but I loved him, cared for him and the first few days were good. However, within a week I had become incredibly anxious, preoccupied with irrational thoughts and unable to sleep. This last symptom was the hardest. Harry even as a new born was a good sleeper but when he slept I couldn't. I was overwhelmed by irrational feelings of panic and terror. It was at this stage that my health visitor referred me to the perinatal team at the Chelsea and Westminster where I received wonderful support and I began my road to recovery. At last someone understood how I was feeling and I wasn't going mad. I had post natal depression or post natal anxiety for want of a better term. I was not alone.
Countless women go through this illness. It was not my fault and I loved my baby. I had never had any mental health issues in the past. I was a confident successful woman who had worked in the stressful world of live television for over a decade but this was an illness which, for a time, completely floored me. With the loving support of my family, my beautiful son and a wonderful psychotherapist I made a complete recovery. I am now passionate about spreading the word and doing all I can to help women who
are going through this unfortunate illness. It has made me a stronger and more compassionate person and a better mother.
I got in touch with Liz Wise during my PND and she was very encouraging to me. I was determined to help the charity once I recovered. The work they do is immeasurable.
I have given talks to women suffering with the illness and I have seen first hand how the group set up helps with their recovery.I am passionate about Cedar House and want to help in any way I can.