Over the past few years the birthrate in Australia has boomed and as a result there has been a surge in the number of new parents struggling with PND. I found it VERY hard to talk about my PND, and I wasn’t diagnosed until Worm was nearly 11 months old.
I’ve told my story before, but here it is again, I was a girl who had lived a very busy corporate existence, focusing solely on myself, my hubby and my work.
I was developing into a leader of my organisation, and I relished this role. When I found out I was pregnant I was equal parts elated and shit scared. Worm was certainly planned, and the timing was perfect from a career point of view, I had it all mapped out.
The reality was a little different. The day after I started my maternity leave the Farmer was offered a ‘dream role’ 600kms away, so with a 3 week old baby (who had spent most of that time in the NICU) we packed our home, our life and our dogs to relocate.
All of a sudden I was in a new area, with no family support. The Farmers job quickly turned from the ‘dream role’ that we imagined into a nightmare with him working 16 hour days and all of us struggling into our new roles.
Fast forward 10months, I now had a child who was bottle resistant, she still wasn’t sleeping well, the Farmer had lost his job (and I had given up my pre-maternity leave role just 2 weeks before) it all got too much. I remember one specific occasion driving in the car with Worm speaking to my mother on the phone (hands free of course) when I decided I needed help.
Within a matter of 30 minutes though I had convinced myself that I couldn’t admit a problem as ‘THEY’ would take my child away (yes I realise that this is very irrational thoughts, but that’s what PND and any form of depression really does – I’m actually holding back tears writing this)
If I had been aware of PANDA I could have made a simple phone call to their helpline (1300 726 306). The lovely people there would have been able to tell me that there was no way that ‘THEY” would take my daughter away, but they would have also told me the options and supported me to make the decision to seek support earlier.
The “Million Mums in May” campaign is launching today. We are calling for all Mums to visit www.millionmums.org.au where you will be able to simply and easily send an e-postcard to their local member of government. The e-postcards will allow your local member to see that PANDA needs additional funding, and Australia families need support. In addition, if you wish, you will be able to make a one time $1 donation to the work of PANDA. PANDA is the only dedicated national helpline that supports women with post and antenatal depression and in the past 2 years calls to the helpline have increased by 70%.
My situation is not an isolated event, many many new mums are struggling. It doesn’t take all the world to crumble down around you to make you feel like it is actually happening. The funding raised via the Million Mums in May will enable PANDA to extend the helpline to a 24/7 service. This is an exciting goal and a huge need for our community with currently 93 out of 100 struggling mums missing out on vital support.
Please have a look at the infographic below, and head over to http://millionmums.org.au to show your support. There are badges, which we encourage you to display on your twitter, instagram and facebook pages. Show your support of struggling mums.
p.s I did eventually seek help, when we went to sleep school with Worm I couldn’t hide it any further. The Farmer and I had spoken and we used the opportunity of sleep school to seek help. Yes my world had literally fallen down around me, and no amount of people acknowledging this & supporting me was going to help – I wanted to keep the smiley confident facade that people know me for. It took me a long time to be able to share my story, and it is still very raw (actually if I had realised how raw I might not have written this today) Please ask yourself “Am I ok?” “Is this normal” and also “Should this be normal” and also ask your friends.
I have been on a very low dose of medication for the past 10 months, and have recently weaned myself off them. I’m doing well now, because I talk about my feelings rather than just going for a run or bottling them inside.