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Mom's Post-Natal Depression Was So Bad She Feared Her Toddler Would Kill Her Newborn

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A young mom has bravely confessed to having post natal depression so severe that, consumed by irrational anxiety, she feared her toddler might kill her baby, that strangers would snatch her from her pram, or that she would harm her own children.


Triggered by the birth of her second child Winnie in March 2018, Milli Richards Clack, 35, who also has a daughter, Aida, three, experienced PND so intense she was plagued by terrifying thoughts that she or others would put her children's lives in danger.

Speaking out to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Milli, of Walthamstow, east London, whose husband, Mark, 38, is an IT consultant, said: "After Winnie was born, I would have terrifying thoughts about all the awful things that could happen to the girls, including thoughts that I might harm them."

She added: "I got scared that Aida would kill Winnie with one of the knives in the house and thought if I did take the children out, that Aida would run off, Winnie would get snatched by strangers and I would run someone over."


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No stranger to depression, Milli has battled with the condition throughout much of her life – first experiencing an extreme low when she left the Cheshire home where she had grown up to start university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, when she was 18.

She was studying Geography and Spanish and, sadly, right from the start, felt out of her comfort zone and unable to fit in.

"In my first year, I drank a lot, skipped lectures and put on a front," said Milli. "I felt hopeless and worthless and although I never self-harmed, looking back I often put myself in risky situations."

Living away from home where no one really knew her, Milli said it was easy to hide her depression, but when she dropped out of university aged 19, she spoke to a doctor who told her to tell her parents how she was really feeling.


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"I did say 'I think I am really down,' but I don't think my parents realized I was properly depressed," she said. "They just tried to jolly me out of it, saying, 'You've got nothing to be down about.' We have a very good relationship, but it left me feeling awkward talking about how I felt."

Aged 20, Milli returned to her studies, but this time took a degree in public relations, graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University – now known as Leeds Beckett – aged 23 and landing a top job with a London broadcast agency.

"I moved in with friends and starting again in London felt like I'd pressed a 'reset button' and banished my depression," she said.
She met her now husband Mark in 2010 through the dating site Match.com and together they renovated a flat, and then a house they owned, with a view to starting a family.


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But by the time Milli reached her 30th birthday, she was back on the rollercoaster of depressive feelings – including severe anxiety – which started to affect her performance at work.

"I knew I was coming down with another bout of depression and that I wouldn't be able to just bounce back," she recalled.

"I would find myself sobbing before work every morning and was avoiding social situations. Eventually my husband told me to see the doctor and get myself signed off work and when I did go back, I told them I wanted to leave."

Describing dealing with depression as feeling like "walking uphill through treacle," Milli, who now works for her husband's IT consultancy company, said the effort required to cope means that every time something goes wrong – from little things like losing the car keys to bigger problems like a financial set back – it gets worse.

"Constantly overwhelmed by worry and stress, I became used to feeling angry and being a bad-tempered person all the time," she said.

But, she was pleasantly surprised when, rather than intensifying her depression, when her first child, Aida, was born on 10 April 2016, her mood immediately improved.



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She said: "I don't know what happened. I had always yearned to be a mom and when Aida was born, I took to motherhood like a duck to water.

"It was as if having Aida pulled me out of the darkness of depression. I felt so at ease."

But six months later, Milli – who admits that to the outside world, it looks as if she has everything anyone could ever want – was in the grip of such a bad depression, she contacted a local charity which offered affordable counseling.

"I don't know what happened, but all the anger came back. I would tell the therapist I thought my husband and friends hated me, when the truth was I hated myself," she said.

Talking to the counselor helped, but it did not banish her depression.

PA Real Life/Collect

And, by the time Milli – who was married in August 2017 – had her youngest daughter Winnie, now one, she was so unwell she feared for her children's safety and thought she might even harm them or herself.

Fortunately, all her fears were in her head, but she was imagining terrifying scenarios, which included one daughter stabbing the other or strangers snatching her baby.

While nothing bad actually happened, when she did manage to leave the house, Milli knew she needed help.

"I hated feeling sad all the time and I felt guilty about not being grateful for everything I had," she said. "I wanted the world to just swallow me up and didn't want to be here. I didn't want to live feeling so sad any more, but I knew I had to get better for my children's sake."

She added: "I knew a friend of mine had suffered with post natal depression and had gone for treatment at The Priory Clinic in London so, thanks to my parents' generosity and offer to help pay, I joined the group therapy sessions there and went every day for a month."

On the way to her first session, a sobbing Milli started to have doubts.


PA Real Life/Collect

She continued: "I told my husband, 'I'm fine, I've made it all up.' But Mark replied, 'The very fact you're even saying that shows just how far removed from reality you've become.'"

Eventually, Milli was officially diagnosed with post natal depression by a psychiatrist at The Priory in April 2018.

After attending therapy sessions at The Priory for a month, and having been under the care of her perinatal team for a year and taking antidepressants, which she said "take the edge off" the bad feelings and leave her mind clearer, Milli is coping far better.
She said: "I still have bad weeks and down days, but now I'm able to tell myself nothing bad is going to happen and can think about what changes I can make to cope better."

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One of the most valuable lessons Milli, who is working with the campaign Time To Change, has learned has been not to keep depression to yourself.

She advised: "Putting on a mask won't make it go away. In fact, it makes it worse. If you are depressed, you need to let other people know what's going on inside.

"From the outside, I came across as someone who was very capable and someone with everything I ever wanted. But I was having horrendous thoughts and it hurts me to think about others going through the same thing and suffering in silence."

She concluded: "We all need to talk more about depression and other mental health issues and be more open about it."

For information about Time To Change, which campaigns to end discrimination against those suffering from mental health issues, visit www.time-to-change.org.uk

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

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Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

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Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

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I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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