Kavita on Womans Hour

Kavita Trevena talks about her traumatic experience of birth and why she’s supporting our #HiddenHalf campaign to get postnatal mental illness out of hiding

When I got pregnant on my honeymoon, it was an unexpected shock. I was told as a teenager that it was unlikely that I’d have children. During my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes but I had good support and care. I did an NCT antenatal course and I made some lovely friends.

Feeling overwhelmed

When it came to labour, everything changed. I ended up having an emergency caesarean, which was a traumatic experience. I came out of hospital two days later and felt really overwhelmed, lonely and vulnerable. I couldn't do anything for myself and I couldn't hold my baby without feeling pain. Breastfeeding wasn't going well either. 

At the worst points, I was crying a lot, argumentative and shouty. I rejected my son in a way because I’d hold him but then I didn’t want to hold him. Sometimes I couldn't deal with his crying and had to walk away. 

Finding help

My health visitor from Bromley Health Care came to see me about 10 days after the birth. She referred me to a specialist who suggested a pilot treatment programme. This really helped me. I saw a nurse practitioner at my 6-8 week postnatal check and when she asked if I had the 'baby blues', I told her I was having counselling. She replied: “I'm sure you'll get over it”.

I felt dismissed and it put me off seeing a doctor for a while afterwards. When my son was 10 months old, I told my health visitor I was anxious about returning to work. I was referred to the treatment programme again and given two extra sessions. I also self-referred myself to MIND, the mental health charity. 

Sharing my story to support others

Today I feel 100% better. And I am incredibly humbled to have the privilege to help raise awareness about NCT’s #HiddenHalf campaign and share a message about the importance of postnatal care. 

NCT has given me the opportunity to share my story. Last week, I was on BBC Woman’s Hour (see image below) and Channel 5 news talking about the #HiddenHalf and the six-week postnatal check (or lack of).

Kavita on Womans Hour talking about Hidden half

My experience, like many others, wasn't a positive one. And it’s important to get that message across. I’m hoping that with NCT’s campaign and my blog, I can really make a difference for new mums and dads. 

How can you support our #HiddenHalf campaign?

Please join us and Kavita to get postnatal mental illness out of hiding. We're demanding dedicated postnatal check-ups so all new mothers can get the mental health support they need. Email your MP today and help us make this change. 

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Kavita on Womans Hour

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