According to a statistic on the PANDA website, Perinatal Depression and/or anxiety affects up to 1 in 5 expecting or new Mums. Before I fell pregnant I’d barely given PND a second thought. Possibly I’d never even given it a first thought!
Maybe I was simply naïve to the subject or perhaps I just didn’t know enough women with offspring (honestly, I was more interested in finishing a $7 bottle of wine in under 30 minutes and slut-dropping on a Saturday night). But either way unsurprisingly PND was a topic that was as foreign to me as my knowledge of Melbourne’s geographical whereabouts (I learnt a couple of weeks ago that it is in fact about 30 freestyle strokes away from Tasmania and not just ‘down the road’ from Sydney).
So what is Postnatal Depression? Well for starters, it’s a lot more than just PND. For some women it begins while they’re pregnant. For others, it starts once the baby has arrived. And even more unfortunately for some they suffer the WHOLE DAMN TIME. PND is also not technically limited to depression; it also includes the suffering of anxiety (a feeling that seems like a side-effect to having children but for some becomes an illness). One. In. Five. One in five women experience this. At a time that should be the happiest and most exciting they are instead riddled with overwhelming sadness, fear, guilt and anxiety.
Why are these women experiencing this and what can we do about it? We live in a world where comparing ourselves to others is as accessible as pressing a button and scrolling with one finger. We have people posting a highlight reel of their life that we find ourselves getting sucked into believing is real. And who says there’s anything wrong with posting the highlights? There isn’t. But, it’s easy to forget that’s what they are. Just highlights. There’s so much information out there, each piece contradicting the next. According to someone, you’re doing it wrong.
You read all the books about how to have a perfect birth. And yet you had to have an emergency C-section.
You read all the books and went to all of the classes on breastfeeding. And yet no matter how damn hard you try, your son won’t latch on.
You read EVERY single book there is about how to get your child to sleep. And yet your child sleeps about as well as someone who has just eaten 40 pingas.
You did EVERYTHING right. Absolutely everything. And yet, you feel like it’s not enough. You feel like you’re not enough. The expectations we put on ourselves as parents is heartbreaking. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. There’s no such thing as the perfect child. (And let’s not pretend that the Mum Club isn’t the most judgemental group of dickheads getting around).
It’s no wonder that 1 in 5 women are suffering.
This issue is too much of an epidemic for it not to be discussed. I had the absolute pleasure of chatting to the wonderful Lisa Lindley from the Sunshine Coast Perinatal Centre. Lisa has been working as a psychologist since 1989 and in January 2007 opened the Sunshine Coast based PND clinic. She is so incredibly passionate about what she does and talking to her really had me in tears! Thinking about these beautiful women and how much they suffer and berate themselves just truly broke my heart.
This is why it really needs to be our goal as Mums, as women and as human beings to support and love one another without judgment.
I learnt so damn much from Lisa! Her passion is inspiring and this interview is something that EVERYBODY can learn from. Everybody knows a Mum. Whether you’re a friend, husband, daughter, sister or brother- being aware of this illness could truly save someone. If you know somebody or you yourself feel as though you may be suffering from this illness then please listen to this podcast and get in contact with any of the organisations down below. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve to enjoy this time of your life. Your child chose you as their Mother for a reason, because you are the PERFECT Mother for them. Never compare yourself to anybody else. So long as you love your child, you are an amazing Mother. The dishes will get done eventually. Your boobs will never return to normal but your butt might! Your child will eventually sleep and you will eventually get to that yoga class. Just cut yourself some slack Mumma.
And feel free to tell the judgey Mums to suck a fat one.
Lisa Lindley’s clinic- http://sunshinecoastpnd.com.au/
PANDA organisation- https://www.panda.org.au/
If you or anyone you know needs help, or you just want to talk to someone, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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