PANDA week – Ora's story
I don’t think I realised at the time that what I was experiencing was post natal depression. I think I was too overwhelmed with everything else and to me, having PND meant that you were having extreme thoughts and experiences, potentially you weren’t bonding with your baby, potentially you had harmful thoughts. And I didn’t have any of those things so how could I be experiencing PND?
My realisation afterwards was that there is a broad spectrum of symptoms and experiences and the teary nights and the fights with your husband, they sit on that spectrum. It was really challenging for me to label what I had because I felt that others had it so much worse and surely my struggles and were just a normal part of becoming a parent.
It was super helpful to talk to other mums and hear that they were going through similar things but they were seeking help from therapists. It made me start to think, ok maybe I’m going through the same thing and maybe I need to tackle this too.
My husband and I sought help together as a couple. Interestingly I could recognise the signs of PND in him, but not in myself despite the fact that we were mirroring each other. I don’t think I truly recognised it in myself until things started to get better. Then I could see just how much I had been dealing with and how much better life could look. When you’re in the midst of it, you normalise it and downplay it.
For me, time and that therapy were what I needed to overcome it. By the time my daughter was between six and nine months, we were sleeping a little bit more and I felt more comfortable making decisions as a parent which made a huge difference. I started to be able to say, “I know my daughter and I know what works for her and I don’t have to listen to every piece of advice that gets thrown at me, because I don’t think that will work for us.” My husband and I had to go through the very very bad in order to start piecing ourselves back together as individuals, as partners and as parents.
I’m about to have my second baby in December and while I wouldn’t say I’m more confident, I’d say I’m more comfortable with the road ahead. I know there are places to turn if things get bad again and I know we have the tools to get through it.
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 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!