Posted on: 16 July 2020

*Names have been changed to protect patient confidentiality

A patient has penned a letter describing her experience with our Brent and Harrow Perinatal Mental Health Team, at Northwick Park Hospital. In the heartfelt letter, Anna* explains how her journey with Krupali Halai, Perinatal Mental Health Nurse/Cognitive Behaviour Therapist at the Service shaped her into the person she is today.

This is her letter in full.

My journey with Krupali Halai, Perinatal Mental Health Nurse/Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, Brent and Harrow Perinatal Community Mental Health Service

On the day that I had my first session with Krupali, I originally felt out of my comfort zone. I knew I had to speak about past life events that I did not want to look back on and I remember feeling hopeless as I had experience

Yet minutes later into our session, the more I felt comfortable. Krupali felt that I had to work on my low self-esteem, as that appeared to be one of the main factors that contributed to my generalised anxiety and depression. As we worked more together, we established that I had core beliefs that I was always a failure, and this prevented me from being able to do things on my own. Hence it was crucial for me to address my issues before my son was born.

Krupali gave me a task to work on from each session, whether it was adding time throughout my days to meditate and announce positive affirmations to myself, or to exposing myself in anxious situations and staying present in them. The important task I had was to always be kind to myself, regardless of whether the task went well or not. The principle was to always be kind and mindful in the moment so that I could learn to be happy with myself and therefore boost my self-esteem and achieve things on my own.

As my pregnancy flourished, my confidence also improved but it never stayed that way, so Krupali reassured me that progress is never linear, it has many low and high points and it is a gradual and lengthy process but to always be consistent in being kind and mindful. She would always praise my efforts and encouraged me to praise myself too.

Once I gave birth, I believe my rapport with Krupali strengthened as my mental state seemed to diminish day by day. I struggled as a new mum and was desperate for any help and support to keep me going and to make sure my baby was safe. Krupali liaised with my health visitor, enlisted help from a community nurse who would visit me at home with the baby and referred me to a Psychotherapist for additional support. Krupali made sure that I was seen to on a regular basis and had all the help I needed.

When she would visit me and my baby Sam*, she made an immediate and strong effort to connect with him whilst ensuring that I was still practicing to manage my anxiety and exhausted state. Often, she would hold Sam*, play with him and engage with him while I could embrace having a cup of tea. She would accompany me on walks with him to a park near home just to ease my frustrations of being a new mum. Additionally, she tried to help Sam* learn how to drink from a bottle.

As sessions went, Sam* was growing and developing more to me and Krupali’s delight- he became her 'Little Buddha'.

Krupali even went above and beyond my expectations when she involved my Husband in a session and spoke with the both of us and how we were both managing as first time parents; she also had me take part in a Mum and Baby workshop to help me further in my journey as a new Mum.

Throughout our time together, she taught me to facilitate the 'worry tree model' for breaking down problems at a time, make use of 'Thought record sheets' and the '5 part model' to help understand my anxiety on certain situations and helped me challenge any negative thoughts and seeing it from another perspective.

It's been over a year that I've been working with Krupali, and I believe that if it wasn't for her constant support, I wouldn't be the Mother/person I am today.

I'm now enjoying motherhood, despite the tiring challenges it offers. I have a beautiful baby son who is happy and well and I am still working on managing my worries in a more structured positive way.

Thank you Krupali for teaching me the ways of starting a new positive approach to life.

We will always be grateful for everything you have done for us.

With all our gratitude,