PND Shock Confessions

*** TRIGGER WARNING *** This post contains potentially distressing content about postnatal depression & psychosis. Do not continue reading if you feel this may affect you.

If you need to speak to someone please reach out to PANDA's PND helpline on 1300 726 306 panda.org.au or see your GP.

 

I work with a lot of mums who have experienced, or are experiencing post-natal depression (PND). It does not discriminate, you can be grabbed when you least expect it and sucked into a black hole that seems impossible to escape.

Some of my PND clients cry at the drop of a hat, some of them simply seem "flat", some appear to be on top of the world, those disgustingly happy Brady Bunch parents. All of them ask the same question "I've got the most beautiful baby/children in the world, so why do I feel like this?!"

 A smiling face does not always mean a happy parent. Post-natal depression can hit days, weeks, months, even years after babies are born. 

A smiling face does not always mean a happy parent. Post-natal depression can hit days, weeks, months, even years after babies are born. 

I want to share some of the very real things I've had mums say to me over the years. They're honest, raw, and may be difficult to read. This is the reality of PND and mental health.

I've left out the worst because there are some things we don't need to hear. Know also that the women quoted are well and at the time of working with them, were in the hands of a mental health professional (or referred on).

These are women who've experienced postnatal depression or psychosis. Some may shock you, but these are everyday women like you and me. If anything sounds familiar it's as simple as heading to your GP for a chat, or calling the PND hotline 1300 726 306  (panda.org.au).  

 

 Motherhood is a tough gig, but feeling depressed, upset, angry, or just "not yourself" constantly, is not the way it's meant to be. 

Motherhood is a tough gig, but feeling depressed, upset, angry, or just "not yourself" constantly, is not the way it's meant to be. 

I will always refer women on to a psychologist or Dr as appropriate and work under their direction. I may work alongside health care professionals to develop a longterm, holistic program, however I will never treat or diagnose any mental health condition. I support women through life coaching, goal setting, community, nutrition and exercise. 

1. My brain doesn't work properly, I can't remember anything, my body feels like it's falling apart. I told my partner I don't know if I can care for her anymore. I feel like I'm not really good enough for the job.

2. My baby is beautiful, but is this it? Do I just sit here everyday, look after it and do it all again? Hubby takes him to give me some time free and I just stare at the wall. 

3. I never thought I'd be changing my own nappy as well as the babys!

4. There are times I would fantasize about just walking into traffic or driving into a tree. I told my Dr that, thinking they'd be horrified. They weren't, apparently heaps of women say that stuff. We need to raise the bar. Maybe when your kid gets it's needles or goes in for something, just say "hey mum how have you been going?" That would have helped me out.

5. I'm just sad for no reason. Like now, why the hell am I crying?! I do this almost every day!

6. Babies are so adorable so you don't throw them in the bin. 

7. I haven't felt that real happy, excited feeling about anything since I had the baby. Life's just flat. Some downs, but no ups. 

8. I can't remember my own address at times let alone anything else! If I remember where I put the baby I'm happy, I can forget everything else.

9. The hardest thing for me has been understanding that it's not who I am. There's this process going on that's turning me into something I'm not. Now I know that, I can start learning how to be me again. What's helping? Seeing my GP was number one, and now I try to go outside each day for a walk, even if it's just through Kmart it helps to be out of the house. It's going to take a long time.

10. I thought my baby was too old for me to have PND so I ignored it, I thought it was just stress and life. Everyone must feel like this right? Turns out you're supposed to live a full, happy life and that felt so unrealistic for me, I was completely flat. Mums and dads need to know that it can take time for PND to happen, and then it takes time to work on it. It's a day by day marathon, and your partners support is everything. It might even allow them to say hey I don't feel so great either. 

11. I didn't sleep for actual days on end, it kind of just hit us. I basically went nuts and I didn't know this was a thing. I knew about depression but had no idea some mums go into total psychosis, it's scary shit! I had no idea who I was and there are weeks I just don't remember. I'm ok now because of my family and partner, I was basically another baby they had to care for. They fed me, bathed me and helped me sleep. If anything doesn't seem right you just have to reach out.