A paramedic and mother has said her 'quarantine crew' helped her cope with post-natal depression during lockdown.

Paramedic, Debbie Foster, from Burnley, gave birth to her son, Max, on January 31, 2020.

Due to complications, they had to Debbie and Max had to stay in the hospital an extra week.

Just as they got home to father and husband Mikey who is also a paramedic and started to make plans, the world began to shut down.

At this point Mikey became ill with the virus and had to isolate away from Debbie and Max. Debbie talks about how her mental health was affected during this time.

Debbie said: “I felt like a total failure as a mum, with all these perfect posts on social media of parents with their little ones doing hand paintings and making scrap books in their first months.

“All I was doing was trying to survive each day and failing! I felt like I was letting Max down with everything and I was exhausted. I felt really alone."

Data has shown that many as one in five women develop a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first year after the birth of their baby.

Debbie, who had sadly suffered several miscarriages and been through two rounds of IVF before Max, the couple’s miracle IVF baby, has said that her post natal depression would come out of nowhere.

She added: “I would get frustrated and really angry out of nowhere for the simplest of things, then I’d feel horrendously guilty for being so short tempered, thinking Max must hate me.

“I’d then promise myself that the next day would be better and we would have fun, and then when it wasn’t I felt like I had failed again and then feel angry and the cycle continued.”

Postnatal depression is a common problem, affecting more than 10 percent of women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners.

When she most needed it, eight of Debbie’s colleagues who had also had babies in lockdown formed a WhatsApp group and called themselves the ‘Quarantine Crew.’

She said: “We became each other’s support network and health visitor in one.

“Because we were all experiencing isolation together, we could ask each other questions about our babies, and no matter what time of day or night it was, one of us would be up.

“We were there for each other.”

She has now become an advocate about speaking up about post natal depression is now hoping that more mothers will feel comfortable talking about their struggles.

Further support and information can be found on Mind.org.uk, nhs.uk and rcpsych.ac.uk.