Glasgow mum urges women to ‘seek mental health help’

LAURA Milby suffered from crippling postnatal depression after the birth of her first babyand survived a liver transplant while pregnant with her second – only to suffer the heartbreaking loss of her baby girl when she was just 37 days old.

In all of this, the govan mum was grateful to have the support of Home-Start Glasgow South.

“Thank God I had Home-Start by my side. They helped me live again,” she said.

“Without them, honestly, I don’t think I would have made it.”

Monday marks the start of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.

Laura, 38, is sharing her story to let other local mums know that in addition to Home-Start Glasgow South’s clinical services, essential peer support is available in their area through the trained and confidential network of volunteers at Home-Start Glasgow South. ‘charity.

“Talking about mental health among new moms is always surrounded by so much stigma. It’s just not talked about, but so many women need help,” said Laura, who is now an ambassador for the charity, giving talks and encouraging other mums to seek help. .

“After the birth of my daughter Sarah, I felt very isolated.

“I put it down to the baby blues, to the fact that I had an emergency section and breastfeeding had been a struggle. But by the time Sarah was almost two years old, my nurse noticed that I just didn’t understand and suggested Home-Start.

Laura Milby

There are 182 Home-Starts across the UK, supporting local families facing a wide range of challenges including mental health, bereavement, isolation, multiple births, domestic violence, financial hardship and support of a parent or child who has a disability or health problem.

Once a family is matched, their trained volunteer visits them once a week for two hours to offer support in any way that meets that family’s needs.

Colette Boyle, director of Home-Start Glasgow South, said: “For Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, we are encouraging families to talk about their wellbeing and not be afraid to ask for help.

“We would like to encourage moms who are struggling to make the brave decision to seek help.

“Parenting is tough. It can be wonderful, but it can also be lonely and frustrating. We’re ready to support families when they need us most with compassionate, non-judgmental support.”

Laura joined the mothers group and it quickly became an important part of her week.

“We all met on a Friday for a cup of tea and a chat, and the kids were in kindergarten, which meant we could do things like yoga, crafts, cooking, sewing…all of them. sorts of things,” smiles Laura.

“I was looking forward to it. And having a volunteer was just what I needed to help motivate me.

“She’s like a mom. We laugh, if I need a hug she’s there, the kids love her. She’s important for the whole family.

“Home-Start has helped me take each day at a time and see the positives rather than focusing on the negatives.”

Glasgow Times: Laura Milby with her familyLaura Milby with her family

In December 2013, Laura was pregnant for the second time.

“It was very different. I hadn’t had morning sickness with Sarah, but this time I was sick all the time and had to go to the hospital for fluids,” she explains .

“It was very scary. I also had very itchy skin, which I talked about during one of those hospital stays. I thought it was because of the pregnancy.

However, tests revealed that Laura was seriously ill – her liver was failing.

“I got the call at Sarah’s fourth birthday party,” she explained.

“The hospital told me to come right away, and I remember protesting leaving my daughter on her birthday.

“They just said, ‘It’s a life or death situation.’ I hung up the phone in shock.

At the hospital, Laura remembers feeling disoriented. Her husband David told her afterwards that she had no idea who she was, when she was born, or even that she was pregnant.

“They said I was hours away from death,” she said.

“I was put on the super rush transplant list, and incredibly, I was in surgery hours later when a donor became available. I was very, very lucky.”

Thanks to the skill of the transplant surgery team, both mother and baby survived. But grief was to follow when, at 26 weeks, doctors told Laura and David their daughter’s brain was not developing properly.

Laura was given the option of terminating the pregnancy, but she refused.

“I felt I owed it to him to give him a chance in life,” she said.

“After all, if I hadn’t been pregnant with her, I might never have found out I had a liver problem.”

Glasgow Times: Laura Milby with her daughtersLaura Milby with her daughters

Baby Kate was born by C-section on April 23, 2014 and weighed just three pounds.

“She was taken from me almost immediately,” Laura said.

“They thought she might not last the night, but she survived 37 days. She was a little fighter.

READ MORE: Elderslie schoolgirl fighting to raise awareness of brain disease wins Scottish girl of the year

Laura and David celebrated the birth of their third baby girl, Emma, ​​in 2016.

“When Emma came along, it fixed something in my heart,” she said.

“I understood that it was good to love again, after the sorrow of losing Kate.

“The grief, the joy – through everything – Home-Start has been incredible.

“They called after my transplant, which really lifted my spirits, and when I got back into the band, seeing everyone again really helped.”

Laura added: “I don’t know what I would have done without them.

“And if sharing my story helps even one mother reach out and ask for help, then that’s great. Talking to someone if you’re struggling really helps – that can change all your life.”

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