When I got postnatal depression more than 20 years ago, I had no idea what it was and people didn't talk about it very much. I had already had a baby, so I should know what to do right? I was living on a farm with my husband and two kids and I had every reason in the world to be happy. But something wasn't right.I didn't get diagnosed for five years. I'm serious. I know things move slowly in the country, but looking back I don't know how anyone didn't see.
Talking about it and hearing other people's stories are still triggers for me, but I am trying to be brave because I know it is so important.
My daughter just had a baby and I hope that she, and all the other young mothers now days know that they are not alone and that there is help out there for them. There is no shame in asking for help and no-one can manage everything on their own.
Lots of beautiful parents (mothers and fathers) have shared their stories in the links below.
So if you or anyone you know thinks these stories ring true for them, then please get some help. Talk to your doctor or clinic sister or contact PANDA and tell someone you love, who will support you.
One thing I have learned over the years, is that if one person isn't listening, then keep talking until you find someone who will listen.
PANDA, the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association, are the only national organisation in Australia that raises awareness of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth and provide ongoing support services to families to assist in their recovery.
This week is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week and we are raising awareness of PANDA's resources: panda.org.au and howisdadgoing.org.au
Signs and symptoms of postnatal depression
- Sleep disturbance unrelated to baby’s sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Crying - feeling sad and crying without apparent reason OR feeling like you want to cry but can’t
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, out of control, unable to cope
- Negative obsessive thoughts
- Fear of being alone OR withdrawing from family and friends
- Memory difficulties and loss of concentration
- Feeling guilty and inadequate
- Loss of confidence and self-esteem