#MyRescuePlan

So Adam and I talked about having a “rescue plan”.

I’ve been on and off my meds for a few years. Every time I went off them, I had no real plan to deal with the aftereffects and the withdrawals. I would wait for the side effects to happen and then the meltdowns. I can handle the physical effects (head zaps and wobbles) but the mental ones were really hard. I didn’t know how to cope, and Adam didn’t either.

We talked about it last night, about how to deal with these uncontrollable meltdowns – when my state of mind is all hazy and messy and all over the place. When I’m like that, nothing Adam could say would help me. So I came up with a plan. A “rescue plan”. For days like I had a few days ago.

The plan is for Adam to first recognise the signs. Then this:

Don’t offer solutions
Don’t say only I can fix this
Don’t remind me it’s my depression (because I already know that)
Don’t tell me to “calm down”
Don’t be defensive – It’s not about you

INSTEAD

Be soft with me
Tell me you “get it”, you understand
Let me ramble, even if you don’t know what I’m rambling on about
Hold me tight while I cry
Kiss me
Stroke my hair
Offer to take me out for a meal, just the two of us
Go for a walk with me, hold my hand or put your arm around me
Tell me you love me ❤️

Please remember I’m not telling anyone to go off their meds if it’s working for them. This post is for anyone who ISN’T on their meds. This doesn’t have to be targeted to husbands only. This could be for partners, parents, friends who are here to support you. Come up with your own “rescue plan” and the plans can ALWAYS be changed and altered ❤️

Please please please share 🙏🏼

#myrescueplan #postnataldepression #awareness

Advertisements

“I Was Blaming Myself Because I Was The One Carrying The Baby.”

Bec and her partner have been together for 18 years. They travelled to Europe together and had the most amazing time. When they got back home to Perth, her partner J, finally confessed to Bec that he really wanted to be a Dad. She was a little bit surprised at first, but she embraced the thought of having a child with the man she loved. She went off the Pill, and fell pregnant with their beautiful daughter Kayla. Bec was 32.

Since having Kayla, Bec suffered 3 miscarriages, all within 8 months between each other.

She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her first miscarriage at home. It was on a Thursday, and because she doesn’t work on Thursdays, she was so thankful she was home at the time it actually happened. She felt awful; she felt it was an “absolute nightmare”. She sat at home and cried her eyes out.

Her daughter Kayla, who was about 2 at the time, tried to comfort Bec by wiping her tears off her face. “What’s wrong Mummy, what’s wrong?”

J’s sister babysat Kayla, while him and Bec went to the Emergency Department.

“Well, we got back late that night, so the first thing I did was have a beer!” she chuckled. “I haven’t had a drink for a while, and you know what, (I thought) bugger this, I’m having a drink. We were stuck in the emergency department for ages and all the nurses kept asking me if I was okay. But no one really pays attention to your partner.” And when they got home, Bec asked J, “How are YOU? How you going?” He had just lost a kid as well. They chatted for the rest of the night, then told the rest of the family about it the next day and they were all really supportive.

Bec didn’t handle the miscarriage all that well. She started drinking a lot and doing “stupid things”. She thought she was okay, but she knew deep down, she really wasn’t. It was only after a few months later that she realised she wasn’t dealing with life all too well and so she decided to get counselling. It helped her, though she didn’t think it would at first.

“I was always against that sort of thing. I always thought how can someone who doesn’t know you, would have any clue how to help you?”

But when she started speaking to someone about it, “She helped me realize it was basically a self-confidence thing. I felt it was my fault that it happened and without realizing it, I was blaming myself because I was the one carrying the baby. (She taught) self-love, and the ‘look in the mirror thing and tell yourself you love yourself thing’. I still find that difficult to do!” she laughs. She started keeping a diary to get all her feelings out, instead of bottling it all inside her.

Her next two miscarriages, were just as awful. Since then, she’d been to the gynecologist and did all the tests, but there was nothing physically wrong with her or J. “There’s no REAL reason why it’s happening.”

I asked Bec how J coped with all the miscarriages. “Pretty good, he probably went a bit into himself but he does that anyway. He’s quite the introvert. He tried to be as supportive as he can for us. But he never blamed me for it or anything like that, I was doing enough of that to myself!” And J would always say, “We’re in it together, it’s crap for the BOTH of us.”

“We put it down to nature. Obviously there was something wrong with them. For some reason, they weren’t quite right and nature was looking after all of us as a family. So we are kinda looking at it like that, maybe it’s for the best.”

“Did it bring you and J closer?” I asked.

“Yes, especially right after it’s happened. Because really, we both lost another chance of being a parent again. It makes us appreciate Kayla more too! She might be our only one… And she’s pretty perfect so we can’t complain!” she giggled.

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“When people say you’ll get used to it, you don’t. It’s a LIFE you’re never gonna meet. You do sort of start planning and how they’re gonna be different or the same to what Kayla was. Are they gonna play together?”

“And they’re not gonna be there anymore. But I’ll always remember them. I’m always gonna remember the days I lost those three. I’ve lost what ‘could’ve been’. In some ways, it gets harder because you really don’t think if it’s gonna keep happening. And then it does. And then I think how and why does it keep happening to me? If you DO fall pregnant again, you’re constantly paranoid for that first 3 months – that you’re going to lose it again. You’re supposed to have this glow and excitement that your child is going to have another sibling, and instead; every time you go to the toilet, you look straight at the toilet paper, you’re waiting to see if there’s any spots, or something that’s not supposed to be there. You’re constantly in fear that it’s going to happen again. It’s something you’re supposed to be quietly celebrating but instead, you’re just paranoid. You think it’s not gonna happen again, and then it does, and then you think it can’t possibly happen again. And it does.” She throws her hands up in the air, “And I think WHY is this happening to me?”

“I’m obviously not alone. I realized that after reading your blog. You do kinda feel sometimes that you’re the only person that this keeps happening to. You know people who have had one or two miscarriages but you don’t usually come across any more than that. So you kinda feel alone. And that’s just not the case. And since reading your blog, I’ve realized there are a lot of people who are going through it. Don’t give up. You’re not alone. We will have to give up eventually because we’re not getting any younger. We are going to keep trying until early next year, otherwise just one (child) it is!”

Bec has been given a prescription for progesterone for when she does fall pregnant again. And when she does, the first thing she has to do is to take them, then see a gynecologist straight away. They will start monitoring her “right from the get go”. She will have to get scans straightaway, and whatever else they deem necessary, in the hopes she doesn’t suffer yet another miscarriage again.

 

My Thoughts

I wish Bec, J and Kayla all the best in their journey to expanding their family. Whatever the outcome, they will always have each other’s support, including support from their family and their closest friends. I hope Bec’s story will help others who have suffered miscarriages and know that whatever emotional turmoil they are going through, that they are certainly not alone.


“I can’t believe this was happening. They ended up in foster care.”

Tanzy’s scars from self-harming


Tanzy is a wife and mother of a 6 year old boy and 5 year old twins. Before she had her children, she suffered from depression; which resulted in her self-harming. And overdosing on antidepressants – was a regular occurrence.

Her parents separated when she was 7. They used drugs, were alcoholics and her father was a violent man. It was a traumatic time for Tanzy and her younger brother, their parents fought constantly and their dad used the court system to get back at their mum. “We were caught in the firing line.” This was the beginning of Tanzy’s struggle with her life.

“I remember when I was in Year 7, my mum moved, I started finding that I had a very depressed feeling, and I think that was when it all started. It triggered something. I saw a school psychologist, and they were quite worried. But my mum was more pre-occupied with my brother because he was always in trouble.”

At around the age of 12, Tanzy felt she couldn’t connect with her mum, and so she moved back in with her dad and his girlfriend. But it was then that she saw the violent streak in her dad. He was violent towards her, and always put her down. He would always either be at the pub or at work, which meant Tanzy would be left on her own for quite a lot of the time.

From Year 8 onwards, “I started spiraling out of control. I was left on my own a lot of the time, I had a lot of time on my own to think about things. I ended up cutting myself. It was more of a release because I wasn’t very good at expressing my emotions and the cutting was another way to release how I felt.” She was referred to a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker. “At that point in time, my dad had no clue what was going on. He doesn’t quite understand about mental illness and why I was going through what I was going through. He put it down to just attention seeking behaviour.”

The stress from her parent’s constant arguing and not being to cope with her studies brought up a lot of anxiety and depression for her. Her psychiatrist at the time diagnosed her with clinical depression and prescribed her antidepressants. “At that point, I was sort of in the path of not coping at all, so I started overdosing. I was hospitalized over 20 times from the age of 14 until 18.” Even then, both Tanzy’s parents would still blame each other. Her dad would accuse her of being “an attention seeking teenager” and that it’s “all because of your mother”, while her mum would say things like “You’d never do that under my roof.” All this time, they were blaming each other. “No one really understood what was going on.” said Tanzy.

When she was about 16, Tanzy had had enough of her father’s violence. She moved out and lived with a friend and her family for about 18 months. Over the course of the next few years, Tanzy lived in a few different places. She only had the support of a few friends, her psychologist and her support workers. Her parents didn’t see her and her dad had cut ties with her. She felt alone and depressed, and was hospitalized often from overdosing on her medication.

She met a man and fell pregnant after 4 months. He was happy at first but changed his mind very quickly. He felt it was all too hard, he had another child from another relationship and didn’t want to have anything to do with her pregnancy. He wanted her to have an abortion but she refused, and so… he left her. “I was left on my own devices again, (I thought) what am I gonna do? I was distraught, everything was falling apart.” She had a friend who would take her to her appointments and that was when she began to feel more stable within herself. “I always say that my oldest child was really my saviour. It wasn’t just about me anymore. I had to think about my child. What am I gonna do for him? It wasn’t until I got pregnant with him that I thought I gotta change something. Something inside me said I had to keep going. I started improving. Getting through things a lot easier.” Shortly after her son was born, she started dating a friend (who is now her husband) she had met in high school. She soon fell pregnant again, this time, with twins.

Life after the twins was very hectic for Tanzy. Her older boy was only 18 months old, her newborn twins were in and out of hospital (one had contracted Cytomegalovirus while still in Tanzy’s womb), they were moving house and her husband had just started a new job working 10 hour shifts. Tanzy’s psychiatrist advised her to take sleeping medication as she needed adequate sleep in order to function with her daily life as a mum with three very young children.

But life got a lot harder again.

When her oldest son was 21 months old, he jumped off a treadmill and landed on one of the twins and broke her arm. Tanzy found that her daughter’s arm was limp and she rushed her to the GP. The GP did not order for any X-Rays to be done and was sent home, asking Tanzy to just watch for any swelling or redness. 2 days later, there was swelling and redness. She rushed her to the hospital where they checked on her and took X-rays.

With the X-Rays, they found that the twins both had fractured ribs. “I was on sleeping medication and my husband would get up. He was struggling as well with his new job, with 10 hour shifts. He couldn’t cope with the twins and got frustrated with them and they got injured. My husband got frustrated and didn’t say anything. I was in my own world, he hurt them without realizing. They had fractured ribs and he didn’t say anything. We had a health nurse come out weekly and she didn’t realize either.” The hospital informed her that they were going to contact the Department for Child Protection (DCP).

“I can’t believe this was happening. They ended up in foster care. I was down again. My whole reason for living is my children. All three were taken. They said it was more of a precautionary (measure). Because of my (mental health) background, it went down pretty quickly. They said you’ll get them back, you just have to jump through all these hoops…. Because of everything happening, I went downhill very quickly. My body went into overdrive of shutting down. I’d get viruses, the flu, even got the shingles because of the amount of stress I was under. I also got Fibromyalgia. I was struggling with everything. DCP wasn’t easy either. The supervisor was set in her ways, if we didn’t parent HER way, we would have a bad report. It took 4 years. I got my oldest son almost 2 years into it…. The twins came back after 4 years.”

“I was trying to keep my emotional feelings stable. Because of my history, they would say I’ve got mental illness. They always try and pick up on the mental health (issues). Thankfully I’ve always had my psychologist and my psychiatrist and support workers who have been there telling DCP she’s actually doing really well.”

During those 4 years, Tanzy and her husband had to fight hard to get their kids back, Tanzy’s dad and his wife intervened in a very negative manner but they eventually saved hard to hire a lawyer to assist them.

About 16 months ago, Tanzy went back to live with her mum for about 3 months to take care of her. Her mum had leukaemia. It was then when Tanzy finally started to bond with her mum again. After spending those 3 months with her, she realised what her mum had to live with when she was still with her dad. And it opened Tanzy’s eyes. And since she got her kids back, she has stopped all contact with her dad. “I’ve managed to say ‘Enough is enough, I don’t want to see you. I feel you’re a toxic influence, you don’t do any good.’ I don’t want anything to do with him. I’m learning to stand my ground and saying no, enough is enough.”

“How did it feel to cut yourself?” I asked.

“In the beginning, it’s like a rush. It’s like an over-feeling of intense, impulsive feeling. Almost like a kid with candy. It was like a feeling of “you need to”. It was hard to control it. I find that after the initial feeling, sometimes it would get full on and the impulse would kick it. During it, I can feel it but it wouldn’t hurt as such but it would just be seeing the blood and feeling just the blade, cutting your skin – is something that, sort of, was a release of all the feelings. After, I would feel a lot better. It’s a very intense moment. When I was in high school it started off with sharp sticks. Then I went to blades. I found that the blade cut deeper, that gave me some form of feeling of release.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“Mental health is real. The fact that my dad didn’t understand it, it made me feel worse. If people know that it’s real, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. That’s what I found a lot at school, you get teased a lot. I was always the quiet one in the corner that self-harms. You do get a stigma from that. If more people understood what mental illness is and that it’s not something you choose. You don’t choose it. That the world might actually be able to help younger people to get intervention to get through it (instead of struggling). A lot of my friends have struggled because a lot of people didn’t understand and I find that if people understood that mental illness is there, that it’s not something you choose. Anything can trigger things off. It’ll be a lot easier to get better quicker if we can recognise those triggers.”

My Thoughts

If you suffer from depression, have suicidal thoughts or feel like you have a mental illness, PLEASE get help. If no one is listening, then SHOUT it out. Shout so loud until someone really hears you. Go speak to a counselor, speak to your GP, a family member or a friend. Whatever it is, don’t ever feel like you’re alone, or that you have to go through this on your own.

If you have people in your life that do not offer you any positivity, CUT them out. Maybe not forever, but if you’re down, you have to stay away from people who are negative NOW. Weed out the people that are harmful and toxic to you. Get some help and surround yourself with people who care. Don’t let anyone say that you’re just “attention seeking”.

It took immense strength and courage for Tanzy to invite me into her home and tell a complete stranger about her past. But in sharing her story, she hopes that others will know that they’re not alone, and with help, there’s always hope to recovery. I thank Tanzy for coming to me and I wish her and her family all the best!

 

 

 

I Was Not Always This Old

 

When you come into my room, just who do you see? You see a grey haired lady, looking back at you with a tired and weak smile. You look around and see a bunch of photos and trinkets that I’ve collected over the years. But is that all you see?

If only you could’ve gone back in time and met me when I was your age. Like you, I had big dreams. The world was my oyster and nothing was impossible. I walked with purpose, with my head held high. I had so much life in me and I was unstoppable. This grey haired lady you see in front of you, was once a stay at home mother, champion ballroom dancer, a nurse, a midwife, a teacher. I might have even protested in a rally or two.

I’ve had wonderful friends. In my group of friends, I’m pretty sure I was the funny one. We laughed so much, our bellies ached. We would sit and talk on the phone for hours. We went shopping, tried on the latest dresses, did our own hair and danced to Jailhouse Rock

I’ve lost touch with my old friends. And as I sit in my great big arm chair, I find myself wondering where they are right now. Do they ever think of me? I wonder if they miss me? Oh my god, we had so much fun.

I had my insecurities and had days where I lacked confidence in myself. Like you, as confident as I was, I’d look in the mirror and asked myself, “Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Am I too short? Am I too tall?”

I was strong and I was beautiful, but that’s not what you see right now, is it?

I’ve had my heart broken and cried myself to sleep. I’ve also loved with all my heart, and fortunate enough to have someone love me back. I’ve looked into his eyes and thought, “How did I get so lucky?” But I’ve also looked into another man’s eyes and thought, “I can’t live like this anymore.” 

My husband is gone. The man I’ve spent nearly my whole life with, is now gone. I now watch TV all alone in this room, and sometimes, I still turn to see if he’s there. Like you, we had children, dreams, goals and plans together. 

Like you, I was a daughter, a grand-daughter, and a mother. But I’ve surpassed you now as I’m a grandmother and a great-grandmother. I see a lot of myself in my daughters and grand-daughters. I see, in their eyes, the same worry, pride and happiness for their children that I had for them when they were younger.

Now I’m old. I’m very old. My bones creak when I try to walk. What’s happened to me? I used to dance, swim and run around with my children. Now I’m lonely, I’m weak, and I need your help. I wish I didn’t need your help, but I do. I haven’t got a choice. Please know that I get very embarrassed when you have to take me to the toilet. 

I had a beautiful home. It wasn’t much, but it was still my home. I had lots of wonderful and even sad memories in there. I’ve cooked and cleaned and wiped up spills that my children and grandchildren made. I’ve now lost my home and all I have now – is this room, this room was allocated to me. I no longer have the freedom to do what I want. I’m only allowed to have my most precious things with me in this room, to remind myself of the life I once had.

When you see me, please remember, I used to be like you. I was not always this forgetful, not always this weak and I was not always this old. 

 

Did you like this post? Please head over to my Facebook page and give it a like and follow me for more stories.

 

 

 

 

 

“It Was Hard, Everyone Around Me Was Getting Pregnant”

Nicole’s favourite past time: Mahjong


Nicole, aged 40, is unable to have children because of existing pre-cancerous cells in her womb. And because of this, she is not eligible for IVF treatment. This is Nicole’s story.

Nicole was 32 when she got married to Andy, and that was when they started trying for a baby. For the first 3 years of them trying, her periods were very irregular and she would experience excessive bleeding for more than 20 days at a time. Her doctor told her that it was due to “hormonal changes”. She brushed it off, not thinking much about it, thinking she was invincible. “I thought nothing was going to happen to me.” she said.

She was then put on medication to regulate her periods. Her womb was scanned and was told her Fallopian tubes were clear and that her eggs were healthy. At that point, she started blaming her husband Andy, saying it was because of his (very slightly) low sperm count. She said, “But all we needed was ONE sperm to make it work.”

During that time, a lot of Nicole’s friends got married (and she snapped her fingers), “They got pregnant, just like that.” Then her friends had their first kids, and everyone would start asking her, “Hey, so when’s your turn? Have you seen a doctor?”. She took a deep breath and said, “It was hard, everybody around me was getting pregnant.”

“I used to think what’s wrong with me? I used to cry myself to sleep. When I turned 37, my biological clock was ticking. I felt anxious. I kept asking myself over and over again, what have I done wrong? Is it because God doesn’t want me to have a baby?”

When Nicole turned 39, she started bleeding heavily again. She shared two experiences of her having bled so much, once having a coffee with one of her best friends, and another time, just after her holiday with her husband. And so after that, she went to see a specialist. When the results came back, Nicole, accompanied by her god-sister, went back to see the specialist together.

The specialist asked, “Is your mum or husband with you?”

To which Nicole replied, “No, but I do have my god-sister with me.”

“I actually haven’t got very good news for you, it looks like you might have to get a hysterectomy.”

She felt like it was a death sentence. Her god-sister started bawling her eyes out. The doctor was trying to explain it to Nicole but she was in shock, she just couldn’t understand it. They were brought into a little room, and that was when it hit her. “If I have a hysterectomy, that’s going to completely deplete my chances of having a baby, ever. There’s no turning back if I do it. Then I started crying as I realized the severity of the decision.”

Her world collapsed. She said she will only ever be able to feel the desire and the yearning to have children. She described herself as “barren”. She felt it was so unfair, she loved kids, and she knew she would have been a really good mother. She said she can never be complete. “I’m never gonna be a mother, ever…. My family has no history of cancer, so why me?” So for nearly 3 weeks, she cried her eyes out. She started blaming herself. She went and got a second and third opinion. And they all said to her, that time was working against her. They all said she needed a hysterectomy.

Tears rolled down her cheeks, “Andy and I would fantasize about what names to name our kids. We were going to convert the study into a nursery. A friend suggested we buy little clothes and onesies. We even tried different types of superstitions, but they were all false hopes.” Then she said, “I grieved, then I had to face reality. I couldn’t keep moping. I started playing golf and mahjong. I did whatever I wanted. But at the back of my mind, when I see other peoples’ kids, I know I’m never gonna be a mother. So I pour all my love to the kids around me. It doesn’t change the fact that I still love children. I’m very lucky to be working with children. But the void is there. It’s something I can never give Andy. I can only look at other peoples’ kids and imagine what it would be like.”

On her husband, she says, “My heart aches for Andy because I know he wants a kid. You can see the joy in him when there are kids around him. Kids gravitate towards him. He’ll play games with them. He even has toys from when he was a kid that he has saved, for when he has his own. I know he longs for a child too, and I can’t give it to him. I’ve asked him to remarry (she laughs). But he says we have each other and that he wants to grow old with me.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It’s not the end of the world. Life still has to push on. I’m still allowed to go to a corner and cry. There’s no shame in it. I’m allowed to have those times to cry in front of my friends. There are ups and downs, but they’re mostly up. I don’t like going back to that place (depression). You can still plan your life without kids. After I opened up about my situation, I realized that there were people who were going through similar issues. You just gotta make the best out of the situation.”

Nicole and her husband Andy


My Thoughts

Nicole and I known each other since we were in our late teens, so this interview was hard to do, as she is one of my very best friends. She has been coming to Perth to visit me and my family every year. During the interview, we both cried. My heart ached so much. And as I wrote her story, I found it hard to fight back my tears. She is my friend, she is in pain, and there’s nothing I can do to help her. The only way I know how, is to help her tell her story. I find peace in knowing that she has a husband that loves her dearly and has stood by her this whole time. I also find peace in knowing she has a supportive family and a wonderful network of friends around her. Til we see each other again, I love you Nicole xxx

Best friends!


 

 

 

 

 

“The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity”

IMAG4763

Donna contacted me through my website www.120fingersandtoes.com and requested for me to interview her. She wanted me to help share her experience with postnatal depression and how she learnt to overcome it. Donna is a wife and a mother of two children. And before she had their first baby, she suffered 5 miscarriages.

Postnatal Depression

Donna discovered she suffered from postnatal depression roughly around 8 months after the birth of their first child. Her baby had to be breastfed every 2 hours, 24 hours a day. She said she felt angry all the time and was constantly tired and frustrated. Her baby would cry and wanted to get picked up but Donna would get angry at her. Her husband would say to her, “You can’t talk to her like that…” And that would make Donna even angrier.

She felt very isolated, and that no one understood what she was going through. She felt like everyone was seeing it very differently to how she saw things… “But I was the one seeing it differently, I guess.” Although she felt like she had a very good support network, she felt she had no one around to help her. But she knew it wasn’t how they were, she knew it was how she was feeling. There’s been times when she’s thought, “They’d all be better off without me, I’m ruining everything.”

Donna also experienced a lot of anxiety. “If I had to see anyone out of my normal routine, I’d get really stressed out about it, then I’d pick a fight with my husband, hoping he’d say ‘right, we’re not going.'”

Donna’s husband, mum and sister were very concerned. They all suggested for her to see a doctor. She laughed, as she recalled what she thought at the time, “Fine, I’ll go see somebody and prove them wrong!” So she went to the doctor…. and bawled her eyes out! After talking to Donna, her doctor spoke to her husband to make sure she would get home safely. She felt bad, that people thought she was suicidal and would hurt the baby. She said she can now understand how some women could be driven to do certain things, just out of sheer desperation and exhaustion. We both talked about how we heard that exhaustion is used in criminal warfare as one of their torture tactics!

She recalled a time when her first child was about 13 months old. Her baby would cry and Donna would scream and swear at her. She then thought to herself, “Oh my god, why am I talking like this? Then I would feel really guilty, sit there and bawl my eyes out for hours. This child is going to learn to be this way and I realized I was being a bully to her.” Donna recalled another time when, out of anger, she wanted to say something to hurt her husband. So she said, “You know, last night, I thought about leaving you.” Only to have her husband reply, “You know I thought about leaving you too.” She laughed, saying, “Are you serious? I thought… Shit, I’m that much of a bitch, he’s going to leave me! I was just being a bitch to get him upset! That really upset me.”

IMAG4777

Support

Donna says she now sees a very good psychiatrist, one who has shown her different ways to deal with her feelings, taught her how to cope and change her way of thinking. She’s taught her to see what’s really important in the grand scheme of things (does the house REALLY need to be super clean when someone comes over?). She felt that talking to her psychiatrist has been very liberating for her. She also meditates and when times are stressful, she’s found that reciting the Lord’s Prayer over and over again, has had a very calming effect on her.

Donna also takes medication to help with her PND. She takes 10mg of Escitalopram a day. She giggled and called them her “Non-psycho pills!” “So many people say you shouldn’t be on medication, ‘You don’t need it’. I’m like, well, clearly I do! I figure if I’ve got a headache, I’ll take an aspirin…. if you’re not feeling well, take something to make you feel better.”

“I couldn’t have asked for a better husband.” Donna’s husband is very patient. Having learnt from their first baby, when they had their second, he did a lot of the night time feeds, made sure Donna got enough sleep and was looked after (awwwwwww!! *applause*). She also has a very good group of friends that support her. She’ll never forget that one of her friends had said to her (after Donna started on her medication), “I didn’t realize how ‘NOT’ Donna you were until I’ve seen you on your tablets, and how ‘back to normal’ you are now. I didn’t realize how sad you really were.”

IMAG4785

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It is OK to talk about how bad you feel. Nothing is ever too bad that it can’t be fixed or helped. Postnatal (depression) does not discriminate, it hits the strongest and the weakest, it hits the confident as much as those who have little confidence, hits first timers and those with one or more kids. You have no idea it’s coming and often no idea it’s there. But boy, does it play games with your mind and your life.”

“Women are strong, we can endure many things but the best way to heal is to talk and to have support. No matter what was said to me during my times of sadness after losing a baby, it was helpful. The best people let me talk without judgement and without pity. And remember your partner is going through it too.”

Thoughts

If you met Donna for the very first time like I did, you would not have thought she suffered from PND. She is funny, bubbly and so full of life. Every woman going through PND, while they experience similar feelings, are all in different situations and circumstances. And we all use different ways to cope with it.

Thanks Donna, for sharing with us your experience and I hope someone out there going through it may try one or all of your methods of coping. Donna, I wish you and your family all the best!! Oh, and thank you for taking the time out on your birthday to see me!!

You Can’t Tell A Mum Has Postpartum Depression By Looking

10271187_10152116661108037_8111103223395903594_o

In this article “You Can’t Tell A Mum Has Postpartum Depression By Looking”, you will find plenty of photos of happy mums but who were actually going through postnatal depression. Women find it so hard to show the world how they really feel inside, as the depression alone makes us feel like we have nobody to talk to, or if we did speak up, others might judge us.

Those who don’t understand might say things to us like, “But you should be happy, you’ve got a beautiful family.”, “You’re so lucky to have a beautiful child.”, “You should be grateful for what you have.”.

WE KNOW ALL THAT.

Do you think we CHOOSE to be depressed? Hell no! But that’s what we’ve got. We’ve got postnatal depression. It is A THING. It is REAL. We don’t ask for it to be part of some “club”.

After reading that article, it made me think of a photo shoot we did together as a family. My husband and I had our last child, I knew that we were now done having children. My husband and teenagers hated photo shoots but they did it because I wanted them done. And they knew, if they rejected the idea, they would have had to deal with me. I would’ve cried, I would’ve said nobody cared, and that none of them were proud to be a family unit. None of that was true, but that would’ve been something I would’ve thrown at them. They knew it, and I knew it.

It was set to be taken at Trigg Beach in Perth, Western Australia. Just before we left the house, my husband and I weren’t actually talking to each other. There was tension. I don’t remember why, but I remember our anxiety levels were pretty high. My husband wouldn’t dare say anything in case I’d lose the plot over something. Everyone was walking on egg shells around me.

We got to the beach and waited for the photographer to come. We sat by the rocks. Everyone was quiet… My teens were playing with the two little ones. My husband and I were on the edge the whole time. And then I burst into tears. Why? I can’t remember. I just cried. Then I cried some more.

I get a phone call from the photographer to say she’s arrived. I dry my tears, put on a smile and we all performed like show dogs and posed for her. So here are two photos from the photo shoot. I want everyone to know, that no matter how we look like on the outside, or on photographs, it doesn’t always mean it’s our true selves at the time.

10259226_10152116660583037_237221226273873606_o

Thankfully, this is all behind us now. With the help of medication, I no longer suffer from postnatal depression. But please don’t judge those who choose to or choose not to take medication for their depression. We all have our battles inside our heads and all we need is your support, friendship and to not judge us mums. If you don’t know how we feel, just ask, but most importantly – be sincere.