PANDA week - Mia's story
I actually don’t think I realised I had PND with my first baby, until I’d had my second as strange as that sounds. I felt so different after my second, so much happier, that I realised what I had to put down normal new parenthood – regular crying, mood swings, negative thought processes and social anxiety – was actually postnatal depression.
There were so many factors that fed into it – I had a difficult pregnancy with gestational diabetes and Placenta Previa with bleeds. What’s more, my grandmother and a close friend died during my pregnancy and I was unable to fly to Queensland for their funerals due to the bleeds, so this definitely had a huge impact on my mental health.
We moved to a small regional Victorian town to be with my partner's ill mother, so apart from my partner, I had no one close to help me. I didn't approach anyone for help, mostly because I thought what I was feeling was just normal first-time mum emotions. Looking back, I wish I had asked for help during that time as it was extremely lonely.
Thankfully, I had a close friend who was going through similar feelings with her first baby, so we leaned on each other via text message most of the time which is what got me through.
I think my undiagnosed PND definitely had an impact on my pregnancy with my second. Towards his due date, I became really anxious thinking that I was going to experience the same emotions that I had the first time around.
As the weeks went by after his birth and I was happy and stable, it was then I realised that something was different the first time. I did some research and all of my symptoms with my first pointed to PND, and feeling the difference between the two kids (despite being in the same living arrangement), it was clear the first time around wasn't just situational depression.
My advice to new mums is to talk openly with other mums about how you are feeling and try not to sugar coat anything – you may just miss out on a valuable connection with someone who is feeling the same. Also, don't assume what you're feeling is normal mum emotions or hormones. The sooner you realise that you're not alone and there are things that can help, the better.
Mia's photo shows the The Instagram post vs the 3am reality of motherhood.
Mia runs Gift n Forget, a fantastic online platform that makes gifting easy while at the same time supporting Australian small businesses (hands up – that’s us!) You can find Not a Pony on Gift n Forget as well as a host of other gorgeous gift ideas.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Not a Pony 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!