A BRAVE mum has spoken of her long battle with depression after the traumatic birth of her first daughter.

Lauren Youles, 35, was in labour with daughter Emma when she was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia, a condition which affects 10 per cent of pregnant women in the UK.

The condition can cause premature birth and in extreme cases kill the mother and baby.

Lauren lost a huge amount of blood as a result, and although her baby was delivered safely, she was still at huge risk.

The mum, and leader of Maldon’s Sounds Right Phonics childcare group, said: “The doctors realised I was bleeding to death.

“As my organs had started shutting down, my heart rate was through the roof.

“They gave me a full blood transfusion with plasma and platelets and made the decision to put me in an induced coma to save my life.”

After the terrifying ordeal, Lauren, with support from husband Simon and the rest of her family, struggled through mental health issues.

She said: “It has been a long journey so far.

“I’ve suffered with post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and had debilitating anxiety that left me feeling exhausted.

“Physically it also took me over a year to gain my strength back.”

Lauren said she “lost” herself during the first few weeks after coming out of hospital, but added: “I was very good at putting a front on it.”

Following Maternal Mental Health week, Lauren felt it was time to share her story with other mothers who have experienced something similar to herself.

She said she is now becoming more comfortable again, and with Emma about to turn three in July, life is becoming closer to being normal once more.

She said: “I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be here to see our gorgeous girl grow up, how lucky I am to have a wonderful mum and dad who have had my back, no matter what.

“A husband that has seen the girl he married change beyond measure.

“A sort of version of the person I was before is slowly emerging again, although, as I know only too well, mental health is a rollercoaster, not a steady incline.”

For further information about post-natal depression visit pandasfoundation.org.uk.