Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm glad I got postnatal depression

You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it.


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.

Source: Pinterest

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.


Toni x



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


18 comments:

  1. This is such a positive post about your experience Toni. It shows strength in character that you have been able to share what you learned with others. I also love that verse from Proverbs. :)

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, I try to look at the positive side of most situations :)
      Its a great quote, I love it.

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  2. It's so wonderful that you can see the silver lining! I had PND with both my daughters but I just can't feel that way about my experience unfortunately. The first time wasn't nice (my daughter had the milk protein allergy too) and unfortunately it affected our bond in a way that took years to repair. I was already having the home visits and my nurse is the one who picked up on it and I guess the only good thing was that came from it was that my nurse got me the help I needed and through that I did a course on parent attachment theory which helped me become a better mum. The second time I had PND was just horrendous. It was classified as severe and then I had to deal with the tragic death of someone close to me. To say I was a mess is an understatement and the things that went through my mind would shock people. I'd love to say I had people around me supporting me but sadly that wasn't so as I don't really have any family (I have in-laws but they live hours away). It was over two years of hell but I got through in the end. But now because I've had it twice I carry a 50/50 chance of it coming back when I have more babies and it terrifies me and my husband. I'm so glad you have a positive view and I wish I could. Great blog.

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    1. Renae, it still scares me to think I may get it again with future babies, but I'm a lot more confident with the structures I have in place to support me now. I didn't have anyone at first except T, my mum came and stayed with us because the psychologist said she had to, but it ended being for the best. My in-laws live hours away too in another state. Its a testament to your relationship that you and your husband have been able to endure pnd twice. You obviously love each other very much, I know we were very rocky through my pnd.

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  3. I agree that we are only given what we can cope with. This was particularly relevant when our third child came along, I didn't know how I could cope with 3 precious souls in 3.5 years but somehow I did. It wasn't easy, I was depressed for a bit, miserable but I survived! As you are now doing!

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    1. I don't think I could cope with 3 in 3.5 years! My friend has just had twins and has a 3 yr old, she is superwoman.

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  4. So glad to read this Toni! I feel the same about my struggles with depression - if I had not have had them I would not be the person I am today and I would not have started a blog and I would not have found tools, specialists and resources to help me become a stronger person. It's good and healthy to see the positive amid the negative - have a great weekend my friend!

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    1. Exactly Kirsty, all our experiences good and bad have moulded us into the people we are today :)

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  5. Your strength really does shine through in this post. What an awful thing to have to go through. Parenting a new born is hard enough at the best of times! Your positivity is inspiring. I especially loved the bit about you and your mum having the opportunity to grow closer. That's a lovely silver lining.

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    1. Thankyou! Yes, I've been waiting to have this kind of relationship with my mum for years.

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  6. That's a great way to look at your PND. I often think the same about the paths that my mental illness has at times taken me down. If I could have taken away the pain, sure I would have but the experiences and the eventual outcomes I wouldn't take back.

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    1. Oh yea if I could take away the anxiety and sadness I would, but its kind of what gives me the perspective to see how far I've come too.

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  7. I something thinks that modern western culture tends to put a lot of expectation on women to bounce back quickly after birth. our bodies are indeed stronger than we think, but at the same time it has been a very physically and emotionally draining journey over 9 months... maybe longer for those that had fertility issues. so as you say, it is a mixed blessing that the PND situation allowed you to be able to surround yourself with the support and care you needed

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    1. It's definitely been an emotional journey for me (including the four years before getting pregnant due to infertility).

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  8. The positive light you've taken on a truly stressful and upsetting time in your life is amazing. You can either let those experiences consume you or do what you have done and think of the positive aspects and how they have made you so much stronger.
    So glad that you have a special bond with your little one and your mum, that you will always have to rely on!!
    Visiting from Sunday Brunch at Mums Take Five

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  9. Congratulations on being brave enough to reach out, and on using that experience to make yourself stronger. And congratulations on being brave enough to share that journey with the world, open dialogue like this is the only way to break down the stigmas around mental illness. You kicked PNDs ass!

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  10. Your perspective towards PND is so great! I'm sure you're incredibly grateful to be able to shine through with so much strength :) And yes I completely agree, sometimes we don't realise just how badly we need the support of our mums until we're crashing and they're swooping in to lend a hand.
    Visiting from the Sunday Brunch at Mums Take Five. xx

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  11. How good of you to share. I'm sure you'll give hope to someone not feeling well or coping by sharing your positiveness and proactive respsonses. Good on you for seeing the positives. Shes so lucky to have you as a Mumma! xx Thank you for linking in for Sunday Brunch again xx

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