Friday, October 7, 2011

Post Natal Depression; Increasing awareness.

Post-Natal Depression has over the years become more acceptable to talk about. We all see the advertisements on the television and hear our midwives questioning our feelings, but how often do you hear a 'real' mums story? Someone who is your age? Someone who lives in your neighbourhood. I think that these stories reach into our hearts and touch us far more significantly that the odd rehearsed acting staring at us from the TV.

This is Zoes story, a young woman who is local to me and is the same age. I hope her story may help you understand Post-Natal Depression a little better or perhaps even help you recognise signs of PND in yourself or your loved ones. Thank you so much to Zoe for being so brave and sharing.

"Post-Natal Depression. When most people hear this, they think of a mother that has lost control, who can't handle the cries of their baby, and is at risk of seriously hurting their baby or themselves. This is not totally true. Yes, there is a risk of the mother hurting themselves or their child and the crying is always hard to handle, but they usually seem fairly normal and in control.

My name is Zoe, and I suffer from Post-Natal Depression.

Not long after my first born came along, I suffered the 'baby blues' - the baby blues are different to post natal depression - and I got over that pretty quickly. I felt on top of the world. My relationship was fine, my daughter was beautiful and we had just moved into our own little place just for the 3 of us. Life was fantastic. Then when my daughter was around 8 weeks old, something hit me. Almost like a tonne of bricks. I was feeling tired, sad, confused, but mostly angry. I would get so mad I would cry. I couldn't understand why I would feel that way when my whole life was coming together perfectly.

I tried to deal with it on my own and bottle up how I was feeling. I found it hard to connect with the gorgeous little girl I had around me all the time. I felt like I was baby sitting, and not actually being a mother. Finally I went to an appointment for my daughter at a Child Heath Clinic just for a general check in. While I was there they asked me to fill in the Post-Natal Depression Quiz. So I did. One of the Questions was "Do you feel like you may harm yourself or your baby?" 3 options to choose from - Sometimes, always and never. When I got to this questions I stopped and hesitated. Right then and there, I knew something wasn't right with how I felt and I had to be serious and truthful. I answered "sometimes". Not to hurting my daughter, I would never in a million years hurt my children. But it was for me. I wasn't well, and after accepting that I sought help.

I went to the doctor and got medicated. I was on the road to recovery. I was only 18 at the time, and thought I could handle things without the medication. I stopped too early, but with a supportive family I made it through and was on top of the world again.

September last year I was blessed enough to give birth to another beautiful girl. This time I was with another man. An amazing, supportive, generous man. Things were yet again great. I barely got the baby blues and thought this time I was going to skip the depression. But, I knew the warning signs and sought help straight away. I was breastfeeding at the time, so took a small dose of my medication. But something I did different this time, was I spoke to a professional. I went to a social worker. I think this decision was the best one I could make for a full recovery. I stopped my medication again for a while and stopped seeing a social worker due to car problems. I wasn't ready to stop and went down fast.

Yesterday I went back to the doctor, I told him exactly how I felt. And he was understanding - it is not uncommon to have PND. I am going back to my social worker starting next week and I am actually looking forward to it.

I thought I'd share with you some of the practical and 'real life' things I am currently doing in order to tackle my Post-Natal Depression. I hope that this information is far more helpful for you than the hard to connect with stories seen on television or in magazines. These things aren't life changing or dramatic, they aren't hard or unreachable. They are simple and achievable steps you can take right this very minute to start making yourself better.

3 things I am currently doing to help myself are; 
* Eat better
* Get out of the house
* Seeking the help I need

If you don't feel comfortable seeing a social worker, choose a close friend or family member. Talking really helps. So many emotions go around when PND arises and talking helps ease the burden.

The steps I found easiest to take were:

* Talking to my local Child Health Nurse - they can give you pamphlets and make necessary      appointments for you

* Talk to  a family member, be it your partner/mother/friend - someone you trust

* Actually go to your appointments. Most doctors will tailor a medication around your needs. Small dose, large dose, if your are breastfeeding, not breastfeeding. Its well worth it.

Seeing a doctor may be a little daunting and confronting, but not going could bring a whole new set of problems. It is normal to have the 'baby blues' a week or so after the baby is born, but remember it is not normal to continue feeling that way. Confide in someone, they won't judge you. Ever. It is your job as a parent to make sure you look after yourself as well as your baby."


  1. Wow - great, down to earth, honest and connectable story! Well done x

  2. Absolutely awesome blog. From a sufferer of PND I feel scared to talk about it for risk of being judged. People thinking I don't love my babies. O had my second on the floor of my bedroom in 45 minutes and my body and hormones couldn't process this. My shock turned to PND. This blog was inspiring and made me cry and feel so much better