It may sound like a weird statement to make, but I am actually glad I got postnatal depression. Don't get me wrong the experience at the time was horrible and confusing, but with hindsight I can see the many benefits it brought into my life. Most of which may never have happened if I didn't have PND.
The fact that I was depressed motivated me to contact the government child health nurses. I most likely never would've called them if I hadn't felt like I wasn't coping. They have been amazing, one nurse in particular. The first nurse who came to visit me has been an invaluable and ongoing source of support for me. She organised home visits which helped with my anxiety and was also much more convenient given I was recovering from an emergency c-section. She was also the one who recommended I seek help at the hospital which was scary at the time, but lead to some pretty welcome changes in my life.
At the hospital I was diagnosed with PND and set up with the help I needed to feel better again. I wasn't the only one that received help though. It was at the hospital that doctors finally started to listen to me about bubs not being right. My mothers instinct told me that the constant screaming, reflux, rashes and unsettledness wasn't normal. Before the hospital gp's had dismissed my concerns saying it was normal for babies to get rashes, vomit and cry. The hospital stay meant that paediatricians could witness her symptoms over a period of consecutive days and finally they agreed with me that it wasn't normal. Thanks to that hospital stay my daughter was finally diagnosed with her cows milk protein allergy and we were able to make changes that put us on the road to a much healthier, happier and content baby. For that I will be forever grateful. I shudder to think where we would be if we never received their help.
Another benefit is that my diagnosis in a way forced mum and I to be a lot closer than before. When bub first came along I didn't have much day to day support except T. When he went back to work I crumbled. After I came out of hospital mum came to stay with us to help out for a week. It was nice to have her around and spend so much time together. She got to forge a really strong bond with bub and we also got to grow our connection. She now makes it a priority to see us each week or fortnight. We go shopping together, go to lunches and catch up with other family. Its nice to feel like I'm involved in her life, and moreso that she wants to involve me. I feel like I've finally got the mum I always longed for.
Most of all having PND has made me realise just how strong I am and how much I love my daughter. Looking back now to how low I was at the time, I can really see how far I've come. I'm proud of the fact that I was strong enough to ask for help and work through my fears. I'm proud that I loved my daughter so much that I wanted to get better, even though at the time it would've felt easier to give up. In a way I'm proud of the fact that I got PND and was able to come out the other side and have the happy, healthy and incredibly loving relationship I have with my daughter today.
If you feel you need help these numbers may be useful:
Community Child Health (QLD) 1300 366 039
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
P.A.N.D.A. 1300 726 306