Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Post Natal Depression, it isn’t always black and white.
Trust me; I learnt that the hard way. 

Whenever I hear of a friend giving birth, my heart hurts thinking of all the emotions they may face. My first thought is to message them and let them know that I am here for them, and that no matter what they may feel over the next few days, weeks or months, that things will get better.
I realise this isn’t the most “normal” response to such news, but it always brings back memories of what I like to call The Best and Worst Week of my Life.

I am referring to the birth of my son. 9 weeks early. Grossly underweight (weighing 1.28kg // 2.8pound). At a hospital 3 hours away from home. Completely on my own.

The first 48 were a blur. My husband (and a few visitors) arrived and left again. I was stuck in a maternity ward, watching other new mum’s nurse, bathe and hold their babies.

While my son battled to breathe and grow, I physically battled to overcome pre eclampsia, high blood pressure whilst recovering from a c section. Mentally was even worse. I just wanted things to go back to how they were a week ago. I wanted to be back in Sydney, I wanted to still be pregnant. I couldn’t see past those hospital walls. It felt like I would be there forever. Eventually, I didn’t even want to go to the NICU to see my baby. And when I did, I would be in tears, begging the nurses to find a NICU bed in Sydney so we could both be closer to home. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep… I couldn’t do anything but cry.
Eventually the doctors asked my husband to take leave (without pay) from work and come and stay with me. He slept on a hospital floor for 4 nights... Slowly my blood pressure went down and my head was clearer. The day before I was discharged, I made the hardest decision I’ve ever made – to go back to Sydney with my husband and leave my baby. (My dad was going to drive me the 6 hour round trip every day to see my son and deliver my milk to him) I know I was judged on this decision, and I am sure some of you reading this will be judging me now, but it was the only way I was going to get better, emotionally. If you’ve ever felt like ‘the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders’, you will know how I felt once I made that decision. I knew I would be OK once I was home.

Fate played its part, and by the time I arrived back in Sydney, the hospital called to say my son was being transferred to our local hospital by the NETS team that afternoon. He stayed in that hospital for another 5 weeks, and although I had my good and bad days, I was OK.
I was thankful that by the time I came home, I was in a much better mental state, and could handle having my son in the special care nursery. I am actually grateful for it because I learnt so much from the wonderful nurses, and because of my struggles early on, I really appreciated the time I got to spend with him every day.

But I am scared to think of how bad things could’ve been, if I had been stuck away from home for much longer. Please, if you are feeling emotionally unwell after giving birth (even months down the track), talk to someone, or contact PANDA or their National Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306
Novemeber 17 - 23 is PND (Perinatal Depression) Awareness Week. You can join the discussion on twitter, facebook or Instagram using the #bePNDaware and putting a black and white filter on your photos on November 20




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