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Postpartum Depression. A raw read..

Postpartum Depression. A raw read..

The elephant in the room. 

The thing that feels so taboo. So wrong to even think.

You feel resentful of your partner, able to leave the house with just car keys and a wallet.

You mourn the life you had before your baby came along, a distant, carefree memory.

Of course you love your baby, but you are finding mothering so hard. So much harder than you imagined.

It feels like more than just the baby blues, but that's what everyone is telling you it is.

Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months and the lack of sleep that comes with a new baby has really thrown you for six.

The feeling is still there, and finding joy in the things you used to love has become a chore. 

You plaster a smile on your face and tell everyone how much you love being a mum, when inside you feel like you are struggling to keep your head above water.

I have been there. I have felt this way. I am sure I developed antenatal depression, which turned into postpartum depression. 

Our second wonderful child was unplanned.  I had recently had Radioactive Iodine Therapy to effectively kill off my thyroid gland, after years of battling Graves Disease. I was not meant to get pregnant for at least 12 months following this.

My period was late. 4 days, then 6 days, then 10. I took a test. Positive. My first words were "oh f*ck".

For several weeks, I was in turmoil. I was prepared by my endocrinologist that termination may be necessary, as there was very little evidence around the safety of pregnancy, following recent RAI. Instead of being excited, I was stressed.

After much discussion between specialists, we got the go ahead to continue with the pregnancy. Nervousness ensued - how on earth would we cope with two so close together! This wasn't the plan.

Then Hyperemesis Gravadium hit. From 6 weeks, I was barely functioning. Some days, I would only move from a lying position to go to the toilet.  Our toddler spent far too many hours watching the Wiggles, as I couldn't parent properly with the horrific nausea.

Right up until 38 weeks, 3 days, when our youngest was delivered, I was taking a concoction of antiemetics to try and ward off the nausea.

The elective caesarean section went much more smoothly than the emergency c-section I had with our first, but being moved from the hospital to the birthing unit so quickly was unexpected. 

Again, I had trouble producing enough milk.  Weeks of feeding, topping up, pumping, cleaning and repeat, and I was a mess.  My wonderful midwife turned up one day while I was nestled up on the couch with my little bundle asleep on my chest.  She said I looked tired and asked if I was doing OK. I burst into tears and couldn't even explain why I was crying.

I expected to feel better when we reached the end of the newborn stage. She was settling into a nice routine and things were more predictable which should have made me relax. But I still didn't feel myself.

Several more months went by before I hit rock bottom. Our eldest was 2, and being a typical toddler.  I was trying to get our baby sorted for a nap, and she burst into the bedroom yelling something about Emma Wiggle. I lost it.

Sobbing, I put our baby to bed and sunk to the floor.  I had just had a total over-reaction to very normal toddler behaviour.  I had frightened her, and the look in her eyes as I screamed at her to GET OUT still haunts me.

I had a lightbulb moment. The problem wasn't with her, it was me. 

I sought help from my GP, and was diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety, medicated and finally came out of my 'funk' when my second born was 11 months old.  I had lost 11 months of my girls' life in a thick fog.

Post-Partum Depression affects 10-20% of new mothers, and if you are feeling anything like I did it’s very important to get help and support as early as possible.

Because postnatal depression can affect how you feel about and care for, your baby and other children it is important not to ignore any signs that something may be wrong. You’re not a bad parent and postnatal depression doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. It just means you’re human and you need some extra support. Talk to your midwife or GP as soon as you can.

If you fear you might harm or kill yourself it is vital that you seek help immediately by dialling 111.

Postnatal depression is common, can be easily treated and you will get better with the right support and a little time.

Don't leave it as long as I did.. and be kind to yourself.

 

xx Cara

 

Helpline services are available right now in New Zealand that offer support, information and help for you and your parents, family, whānau and friends.

All the services listed here are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

National helplines

 

Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP).

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Depression-specific helplines

 

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).

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