samantha cookWe are very grateful to Samantha Cook for the £1003 she fundraised by doing Half a Million Steps in June. Samantha wrote in her JustGiving page about her story and why she has chosen APNI:

I’ve always wanted children, my daughter was planned and on September 24th 2010 I became a mother to my beautiful little girl! The best moment of my life! She is now 10, and if I knew then what I know now, it could have been a little easier! If there were more knowledge and support, I would never have ended up so poorly! Being a mum is the best job in the world, I adored my daughter from the second I found out I was pregnant. But even though I was so happy and I loved being a mummy more than anything, I began to feel nervous, I lost my appetite, I then started to feel scared, and by the time my daughter was 5 months old I was vomiting daily with extreme anxiety, I had lost nearly 5 stones, I was having countless panic attacks throughout the day and I couldn’t relax! I felt dizzy, had constant headaches, and at times I cried so much I had no more tears left. It never affected my love for my daughter, or the bond we have! She was such a happy baby, she was looked after so well and I always felt calm around her, but lots of things frightened me, I would overthink everything and I remember just wanting to hide away and keep my daughter safe!

Things got worse before they got better. Because I didn’t understand what was happening and other than my parents, I had NO support! Thank god for them!!! Over time, after getting a diagnosis, taking medication, having counselling and going for therapy, I finally learnt to feel calm. I was eventually able to wean off the tablets, and the weight crept back on! I started to relax and enjoy every moment of everyday again without a big knot in my tummy. I feel like the first year of my daughter’s life was the best, but scariest time of mine!! I feel so sad to know that 1 in 5 women suffer with postnatal depression.

I feel robbed of those precious moments that were stolen from me because I was so worried, instead of enjoying the moment! More help, more research and more support are essential for new mums. And that is why I am raising money and awareness for this amazing charity.