I have two girls, Kylie and Anna. I was diagnosed with depression during my second pregnancy following a very ‘loud’ argument with my husband over a bag of potting mix!
My depression went undetected after my first child was born in Tom Price and therefore came to a head when it did. Both pregnancies were planned and healthy. I didn’t even think the labour and delivery of the natural births were that bad. Being isolated in the remote mining town of Tom Price with Kylie was very hard. Nobody could explain my mood swings, temper tantrums at home and other little things that were happening to me. Family support was next to nothing and even my own mum (whom I have always been close to) told me to get over it. Finally, we moved to Perth.
With my second pregnancy, my GP explained depression as a physical problem, not a mental problem, which I actually found quite comforting. Once I had Anna everything was fine until she was about three months old. I didn't want to get up, was yelling at the girls, my husband and even the pets, so I sought help through the Post Natal Depression Support Association support group. It was fantastic. Eventually I attended therapy groups and they saved my sanity. I realised I was not alone and was not going stark raving mad. Once I began to understand everything, I could talk about it and deal with the issues at home.
I also went on medication for 18 months which was the best thing I ever did. It took the edge off my feelings, enabling me to take a step back and look at the real things in my life. The washing became not as important as reading "Cat in the Hat", and the fancy meals and clothes became "bangers and mash" in my trackies.
I now enjoy my life and family so much more, and have learned to prioritise my life in a way that makes me feel very loved and wanted in my family and the community.I will always remember my mum saying to me during one of my very low days … "I never thought you would cope". That hurt, but months later when I saw her, I sat her down and explained all the information I had learned. She told me she understood and felt that was what she went through after my father died (I was only three years old), but back then there was no support!
One thing I really feel now is that having been through PND, I am a better and stronger person. I’m more aware of myself and the experience has given me the confidence to face up to the fact that I’m only human and things don't always go as planned.