I have shared my story of our pregnancy loss here and mentioned my PND diagnosis a few times. I was the girl who always wanted to be a Mum. When I miscarried I was devastated, when I had 2 false positives I was literally more broken than I have ever been. I probably should have done something about my depression then but I didn’t. I figured I was just grieving and it would go away. It did for a while. Finally we got our beautiful Monkey, our rainbow baby and I thought that my depression was fixed but it wasn’t.
Depression is a medical condition but it is one that has so much stigma attached to it, that often our pride gets in the way of seeking help. How could I feel anything other than joy and happiness? We worked pretty hard to get our family to be a family of 4 and yet here I was, numb half of the time, just going through the paces. Overwhelmed, emotional, exhausted, angry, sad, empty, ashamed, worthless. I just felt low most of the time, at a time when I should have felt so happy. I was too ashamed to admit that to anyone, often even to myself. And so I just kept it bottled up, putting on a happy face so no one would know the emptiness I was feeling. So no one would think that I didn’t love my children enough to feel happy.
And because I just kept plodding along, keeping my pain to myself, I essentially let my fear of being judged by our society as a ‘bad mother’ rob me of the joy I could have been experiencing in that year after we became a family of 4. By not treating my depression I now feel like I missed out on a lot and my girls missed out on even more (which really throws Mark Latham’s opinions out of the water but when you are feeling sensitive and you read these types of opinions its easy to be affected by them. He should feel ashamed to publish such hurtful words about people who are suffering.). The juggle was massive for me; our home is still a mess that I am slowly trying to fix, so many moments I was physically there but mentally absent. My friendships and relationships suffered, my self worth plummeted, keeping up my public happy face was so much effort that nothing else could really be achieved. But here I am, standing on the other side, treating my depression, healing my self and my life and saying its ok to admit that you aren’t coping, its ok to ask for help, in fact its the best thing you could possibly do for yourself an your family.
Here are some great blog posts about other women and their experience with post natal depression: Anna’s story, Wendy’s story and Naomi’s story. See also this information about Antenatal and Postnatal depression. If you or someone you know is needing help with depression contact Beyond Blue or see your health professional today.