I had NO idea what on earth I had been struck with after I had my first baby…absolutely no clue.
Even though I am a pharmacist and knew all of the signs and symptoms ‘in theory’. Yet, when my heart and brain-centre switched off on day 5 post-birth…it was like someone had switched a button off in my body…I literally shut down.
No matter how hard I tried to ‘re-boot’, ‘shake it off’…or ‘snap out of it’…my system had completely crashed! I felt like no amount of turning the power off and on…was fixing this mess that was happening to me. In fact, poking and prodding made it feel SO MUCH worse!
I felt like no one had warned me that this malfunction was possible! I did not even know where or how to ‘purchase’ or ‘find’ the latest spy-ware or anti-virus that my system needed!!
Coupled with a screaming…hungry…shell-shocked baby that was new to planet Earth…I literally felt like pulling the plug out of the socket just to stop all the things that I was feeling…
Feeling lost…Like I could not breathe…I could not sleep…not even a wink…Lost my appetite and could not eat a morsel of food…
Riddled with anxiety…that hurt…so much.
I felt like we blamed hormones…sleep deprivation…a long labour…being a first time Mum…finding my feet after not being able to see them for so long (bye bye pregnancy belly…hello feet!) … (but I still could not find them?!)
BUT…when the exact same thing happened to me on day 5 after my second baby…thankfully we ALL knew what my body/system was doing when it clearly encrypted the wrong code! Ahhhh the silver lining of being an ‘expert’ of this heart and gut-wrenching condition the second time round.
I realised, that how inept, unprepared, how blind-sided I felt…that I needed to shine the light on this condition so that others would not have to fumble and fall their way through it…after all, as a seasoned ticket holder…I have the best ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage that anyone could possibly need to spell exactly the C I R C U S of what happens with post-natal depression.
So here I am…two babies birthed in two completely different ways…yet, two soul crushing post-natal depressions from day 5 until week 11…and TWO wonderful recoveries…to now break down PND so clearly and vividly for all…that it leaves nothing to the imagination and so that no one has to ‘guess’ or ‘wonder’… ‘hmmmm what the heck is going on with me?’
Post-natal depression is a very serious and debilitating condition that is associated with negative emotional changes that last for 2 weeks or longer after having a baby…and 1 in 7 women reportedly have PND in Australia.
For some women it can happen immediately and a drastic change seen overnight; as was the case for me… (it set-in when my milk supply came in on day 5 and lasted throughout the fourth trimester to the day BOTH times).
For some women, symptoms may slowly present or appear after a few months.
It is generally accepted to occur within the first 12-months after delivery; but from an Ayurvedic perspective symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia can present within 5 to 7 years after giving birth…which was similar to Dr Serralach’s findings in his book ‘The Postnatal Depletion Cure’.
Suffice to say, that there is a whole range of (lovely) symptoms that range in severity, onset and duration for all women…
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PND?
Symptoms can range from presenting with some or all of the manifestations listed below, and can occur to varying degrees between all women. There is not necessarily a ‘one size fits all’ presentation of PND, suffice to say that all women would feel less than their optimal and thriving self.
Some women may be able to observe and identify these within themselves, or those who are IN the thick of it like I was…it may require their partner, family or friend to identify signs and symptoms, in order to assist in taking the next step of diagnosis and treatment…do not ignore and hope it will go away…THIS IS a condition that can deteriorate quickly and not something to take chances with…it can be a matter of life and death.
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Anger or frustration
- Feeling no emotion or low and numb
- Feeling teary or sad all the time
- Lack of interest or pleasure in things normally enjoyable; even time with your baby
- No motivation, no energy
- Changes in sleep; sleeping too much or not able to sleep at all
- Changes in eating; eating more or less than usual
- No hope for the future
- Feeling like you are unable to cope and things are too overwhelming
- Feeling very teary or emotional
- Feeling isolated, alone and disconnected from others
- Having thoughts of self-harming or harming your baby
- Heavy and clouded feeling in the head; cannot think clearly
- Losing confidence
- Fears of being alone or fear of being around people
- Feeling like your baby does not love you or that you don’t love your baby
- Inability to do regular everyday tasks
- Disconnection from your baby and children; lack of connection and emotion
- Inability to function which makes everything feel difficult and overwhelming
- Feeling like there is no way out, stuck, no hope or nothing will get you out
- Loss of joy, emotion and pleasure in things you normally love
The reason why I wrote my book ‘Shining The Light on PND – The Journey From Darkness To Healing From Post-Natal Depression’, was to make it undeniably clear as to what it can look and feel like…I stripped down HOW I was feeling and what my days looked like…so that no-one else or their family needs to sit and wonder ‘am I OK?’…’is my partner OK?’…’I have post-natal depression, now what?’
I remember feeling so lost…so scared…not knowing if I would get better or even what feeling amazing felt like…which is why I broke every single detail of this silent and isolating dis-ease down into bite sized and very clear illustrations (as well as my reflections, learnings, points about medication, hormones, mindsets, self-talk and strategies to implement to help you in your days plus some healing exercises) …to help ALL women find their way back into their light.
If you are feeling anything listed above…here is the ‘call to action’ for you…
+ Speak up!! Tell your partner how you are feeling…and then speak to your doctor, midwife, obstetrician or child health nurse.
+ Do NOT stay back in fear or shame any longer…
Identifying how you are feeling AND Speaking up…are what will help you walk into your recovery.
You deserve to walk into your recovery…
You’ve got this beautiful woman…