Useful? Share it!

‘I was in complete denial’ – my PND story

post natal depressionI was so excited to be pregnant, but at eight weeks I was struck down by hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme nausea and vomiting)  and I spent a lot of the first trimester getting intravenous hydration in hospital.

Eleni was born by caesarean section at 40 weeks. She was very unsettled on day three and my milk still had not come in. By the time I left hospital, breastfeeding was still not established and I felt quite nervous taking this delicate bundle home.

Feeding and settling issues continued. Newborns feed every 3-4 hours and so as things weren’t going smoothly, this meant I wasn’t getting much sleep. I was determined to give her my breastmilk but as she was not latching I was expressing milk when I should have been resting.

My Maternal and Child Health nurse had sent a counsellor around to check on me, but I was in complete denial. I just thought I was exhausted. I went to see the GP to seek help for Eleni’s feeding problems, but all she wanted to do was talk about me. This upset me and I left. A few days later I went to see another GP about a lump in my breast. This GP mentioned that she had gone to ‘sleep school’ and perhaps I should think about it. Sure, I thought. The idea of sleep sounded great!

The next day, I rocked up to the ‘sleep school’ which was called a mother baby unit. After some meetings and paperwork, the psychiatric team mentioned the words post natal depression. I was still in denial and told them I just needed sleep.

Of course, as the days at the unit unfolded, I slowly came to realise that I was indeed having extra challenges – more than just your average new mum. I was struggling – to bond with Eleni because she was crying so much, with feeling like a failure because I was not fulfilling my role as a nurturer and a comfort to her, and because I was taking her feeding problems personally. She was eventually diagnosed with silent reflux, and I was diagnosed with PND, which in my case was manifesting itself as anxiety.

We left the unit after four weeks. We had both been put on medication (Losec for her, Zoloft for me) and I had a support and self-care plan in place. Things were good, and I was loving being a mum.

When Eleni was 6 months old I got pregnant again. The hyperemesis was worse this time. It was also more challenging because I had a baby to look after. PANDA (Post and Antenatal Depression Association) was an amazing support. I was struggling again. This time, I was feeling blessed to be pregnant again and have a beautiful baby girl already, but I could not find any joy, as I was in discomfort for many months. The compassionate counsellors helped me deal with this stage, as I found myself offloading and then feeling so much better for it. These kind people knew what to say and I felt supported. In talking with them, I found the perspective to help me keep going through the moments and days.

When Stephanie was born, she too presented with feeding difficulties. This lasted until she was 8 months old. Every feed was a screamfest and despite tests nothing conclusive was found. Once again PANDA helped me navigate the frustration and many tears were shed when speaking with the kindly counselors.

On one occasion, I was asked if I would like to be involved in a home start program.

This would mean I would get some hands-on assistance once a week by a trained volunteer. I was not in denial this time. I welcomed any help offered with open arms.

My volunteer called Rena was an angel incarnate.

My baby and toddler loved her. She sang them songs, helped me take them to the park, listened to my concerns and provided gentle guidance and perspective. She was also a huge part of my recovery and over the course of almost a year, bore witness to my emergence from isolated new mum to involved community member.

I am now working part time again as a lawyer/mediator. Eleni and Stephanie are spirited little pre-schoolers. I am running a busy household, and of course every now and then I still have my days. But I know they too shall pass.

 

————————————————————–

You can contact PANDA’s national helpline from 10am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Phone 1300 726 306.

Image credit: ferli / 123RF Stock Photo

Post your comment

Comment Guidelines : Play nice! We welcome opinions, discussion and compliments. Especially compliments. But remember: the person on the other side of the computer screen is someone's mum, brother, nan or highly intelligent but opinionated cat. We don't tolerate nastiness or bullying. We'll delete disrespectful comments and any replies to them. more

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have a Gravatar, it will appear next to your comments. Read more about Gravatars here

*

Prove you're human.. *

One comment so far -

  1. Thank you so much Emily for sharing your personal story for our campaign. I have also shared your story with our staff and volunteers. It is always heart warming to hear how PANDA have made a difference.

    If anyone reading this story would like to know more about perinatal depression and anxiety, please call PANDA’s Helpline; Monday to Friday 1800 726 306.

    And please join our 1 Million Mums in May campaign by sending an automatic email to your local MP at http://www.millionmums.org.au
    add your voice to help our service become available to all new parents who need support.

    sincerely
    Samantha Tassie
    Website Manager
    PANDA

free weekly newsletters | sign up now!
who are these people who write great posts? meet our hubbub authors!
Learn how you can contribute to the hubbub!

reviews
learn how you can become a reviewer!

competitions

forum - chatting now
gotcha
X

Pregnant for the first-time?

Not sure where to start? We can help!

Our Insider Programs for pregnancy first-timers will lead you step-by-step through the 14 Pregnancy Must Dos!