In honour of PANDA week I am telling my story. I have always been incredibly private but I hope by sharing this it helps other women get help and myself in further healing. In 2011 I was diagnosed with severe PND. It was 8 months after my first daughter was born and I was lucky to have a kind doctor pick up that things just weren't right. Although it should have been picked up much earlier, postnatal care is focused heavily on the child and not the mother in my experience. I was referred to one of the best psychiatrists in Australia who I saw for a year. I didn't tell anyone except my partner. I refused to take antidepressants as I am stubborn and felt I needed to go through the process in full awareness. I self-prescribed St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) tablets. Maybe I should have gone on antidepressants, we will never know.
I uncovered many things about myself during that year. I had an incredibly traumatic birth experience with my first daughter which was brushed under the carpet. It still brings me to tears sometimes just thinking about the series of monumental f^*k ups that happened at the hospital that night. I understand that they were "doing their best" but my emotional and mental well-being were destroyed from that experience. Who takes responsibility for all of this trauma happening every day around the world to these mums and loved ones going through the sacred birthing experience?
1 in 5 mums experience post natal anxiety or depression. That's a lot of mums in our community that are affected. Think of the flow on effects from that statistic - the partners, other children and extended family.
I have done copious amounts of healing with natural health practitioners and by myself. It has taught me so much about myself and my resilience as a human and a mum. I believe that we go through experiences to learn and then help others.
I now work in natural health and help many mums overcome exhaustion and overwhelm. There is still a lot to be done and the work of Dr Oscar Serrallach on post natal depletion and embracing matrescence is extremely important. I would highly recommend his book The Postnatal Depletion Cure.
Educating doctors and nurses who see women after birth in this incredibly vulnerable time, to pay attention to words being used and asking about emotional well-being. I hope that things have improved slightly since having my first daughter almost 10 years ago, but I feel there is a long way to go before we appreciate and support maternal well-being. Thanks for reading my story and I will be supporting mums wherever I can through my work and my circle.
I can help support emotional wellbeing though my work as Reiki Practitioner and Complementary Health Therapist. Check out my Services page for more info on my work.
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