PANDA week – Corinn's story
It took me six months to admit to myself that what I was experiencing was PND. But from the very start I felt completely hopeless, and wracked with guilt about everything. My son was birthed via C-section because he was breech. Despite undergoing major abdominal surgery, I felt guilty when hearing other mum’s birth stories, thinking that mine had been so comparatively ‘easy.’ I actually think that not being able to feel anything during the birth made it harder for me to connect with my son for a long time, but somehow in my mind, I still had it easier than other mums and that was worthy of guilt.
At least once a week from the time my son was born, I would have a day where I would just cry and cry. The more days I had like that, the more normal it felt and I think that’s why it took me so long to realise that something wasn’t right.
My husband and I had moved here from the UK, so we didn't have a wide support network. I made sure that I was going to my parent group meetings, I walked every day, I even joined a gym with a creche and we had a few amazing friends who visited and helped regularly, but nothing really helped those feelings dissipate.
The first person I opened up to was my husband, Jamie. He had witnessed all the lows first hand and when I finally said I thought I had postnatal depression, he said he’d known for a while but wasn’t sure how to help.
He came with me to a drop in session at my Maternal Health Clinic and we happened to see a different midwife who spotted the signs in me immediately. Jamie stayed with me the whole time encouraging me to be honest about how I felt because previously I had gone on my own and just lied because that seemed easier.
I had previously tried to talk to two different GPs at two different clinics and both had fobbed it off, telling me it was a phase; that I was homesick; that i was a “smart girl who just needed to think rationally.” Those visits made me feel weak and helpless and really deterred me from seeing another GP for months.
Thankfully the MCH nurse recommended a new GP, I made an appointment and saw them the same day. That was a turning point, even though it would take another few months, a switch from seeing a psychologist to a psychiatrist and a course of antidepressants to start feeling better.
Honestly, the drugs made a huge difference and I’m not ashamed to say that. There is a shame and stigma attached to antidepressants and I was really really reluctant to take them, but they really worked for me. I still see my psychiatrist on a monthly basis but I’m happy to say I am no longer on medication.
My husband and I always thought we wanted three kids. After my experiences, two would definitely be the maximum. It’s scary to think about putting ourselves through it all again, but at least now I know the signs to look out for and where to turn to for help.
To women who are struggling, I’d say don’t wait so long if you aren’t feeling yourself. Yes, you will be tired; yes, you will feel like a bomb has gone off in your home. But if you ever feel like you can’t cope, go and speak to someone. Whether it’s your partner, best friend or three different GPS, someone will eventually be able to help.
If this has touched a nerve for you, you can reach out to PANDA, Beyond Blue or Lifeline. We’d love to hear from you if you have experienced PND or struggles post partum. You can get in touch via our instagram DMs or by emailing email@example.com
This week, 8-14 November is PANDA week — an important chance to encourage conversation and raise awareness of perinatal anxiety and depression. While prevalent in society, these issues remain shrouded in 'ickiness' and continue to be difficult to discuss.
Both founders of Not a Pony had their own experiences with post natal depression, which is why we are so focused on elevating mothers, shining a light on sensitive issues, and why the Tired Mama Pack is amongst our core offering. We know first-hand the difference it can make when someone sees your struggle, acknowledges it without judgement, and offers help.
This week we will share our own stories, as well as those of our amazing friends and followers so that we can help reduce the stigma around PND and encourage open and 'ick'-free discussion about mental health.
5% of all sales this week will be donated to @pandanational to help fund their life-saving work, so if you've been thinking about showing someone some love with one of our prints or packs, this week is a great week to do it!