My year after PND - Nami

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My year after PND - Written by Nami, Melbourne KCP Franchisee

This week marks a full year for me not being on anti-depressants.  It has not been marked with celebratory drinks but with a simple acknowledgement and gratitude for my good health. 

I began my medication with such resistance; a very different approach that I normally apply to my health and wellbeing.  Tonsillitis? Book a doctors appointment.  Broken limb?  Straight to the hospital!  Postnatal depression? I was driven to my GP by my husband who, with equal measures of support and tough love, refused to watch me deny the professional help I needed any longer.  I very reluctantly handed over the first prescription for anti-depressants to the pharmacist.  I felt like I had failed.  Now I understand that this was simply me taking my first step toward being a better mum – it was just a different path I had to take to get there, compared with the journey I expected to have. 


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I was diagnosed with PND in June 2010, when my son was 3 months old, and I believe the traumatic labour I experienced with his birth triggered the depression.  As the PND slowly but surely crept up on me, I became truly convinced I was not doing a good enough job as a mother or wife, and suggested to my husband that if he chose to leave me he may well be happier. I began to shy away from all social occasions, simply so I could avoid general conversation about how (expectantly wonderful) my life was as now as a glowing new mother.  Sometimes when visitors came over to have cups of tea and ‘see the baby’ I would stay in my room and ask my husband to tell them I was catching up on sleep.  With the benefit of hindsight I now understand I had signs of depression during my pregnancy, but didn’t know how to recognise them – I thought I was just hormonal.  There were several occasions that I found myself in my (unborn) son’s room, big belly, teary and sad, but unsure why.

With advice from many, and varied medical professionals I chose to stay on my medication throughout my second pregnancy with my daughter, and remained on them up until a year over her birth.  This decision was based on the simple equation of benefits outweighing risks and I resisted any kinds of social pressures to go off them until I knew, in my heart of hearts, I was well and truly ready. 

In the early weeks without medication I was fearful that the PND may catch me out unaware, but I had learnt many skills along the way that would help me manage the trickier days.  I would always share any ‘odd’ feelings I was having with my husband or even close work colleagues (externalising any emotions for me always helped), I joined the gym and (surprise, surprise) found that exercise was also a massive boost to my mood - as hard as it was some days to get motivated.  This would also mean I’d have to leave the house (“break state”) and see or talk with other people. While I was once the reigning queen of multi-tasking, I am now mindful what I try to fit into a day.  On my days at home with the kids I have a strict rule to only schedule one thing out of the house, whether that’s a doctor’s appointment, mother’s group, or a trip to do the grocery shopping.  I can now recognise the difference in feeling sad as opposed to depressed, stressed as opposed to anxious, tired as opposed to emotionally lethargic.

I am aware that PND could roll around again, but I trust that this time I will know better than to simply try to ‘fight it’ on my own, or to believe that if I ignore it enough it will go away.   I hope – if there ever is a next time - my only concern is my will to be well – and to not query whether I have failed or succeeded as a parent. Because I’ve asked my kids that question, and they’ve answered it for me 100 times over. provides information and advice about emotional health, to support each stage of the journey.

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