Upon embarking on this journey of speaking up and raising awareness about my post-natal depression, I have completely let it ALL hang out.
I have put myself ‘out there’ for the world to see…my horrible dark thoughts, my behaviours, my fears and hang ups…
All of my rawness and vulnerabilities.
It was not an easy step to take.
Yet, I realised that if in a family of two health professionals, with strong family support, that we felt so unbelievably lost and alone in our journey…then how many others are left fumbling their way through this condition?
If I felt so consumed by the thick-fog that it completely ravaged my normally connected heart and brain-centre, then how many other women are struggling through this alone?
If I felt trapped within fear…trapped within the stigma and the taboo that surrounds mental health conditions, but especially in a time where society and life expects us to feel nothing but love, joy and happiness…then how many more women are trapped in feeling this way?
Education, transparency, brutal honesty, breaking the shackles that this condition creates IS the only way to create reform and change.
If my sharing of our experience; how I felt at the time, stripping down the condition, sharing what I learnt throughout the journey, as well as my knowledge about mindsets, self-talk, medications and hormones (as a pharmacist), utilising strategies for recovery from my Ayurveda, yoga teacher training and paediatric massage training…helps even one woman and her family…then it is allowing me to use my experience to give something back into the world.
It will allow me to use my healing as an olive branch, to help carry others over towards their healing.
It will allow my heart to make peace with the pain that all of us had to endure from this journey; myself, my children, my husband, parents, in-laws, siblings and their partners…in knowing that it can help even one other person.
To speak out in hope to SMASH the TABOO surrounding it…to debunk the myths from the inside out…once and for all!
To speak out in hope to SMASH through the CULTURAL CONDITIONING that hold so many women and their families back from reaching out for help…in the fear of what ‘others’ may think or perceive as a result.
I want to scream from the rooftops that this happened to me twice…through no fault of my own…nothing within my control…and to shine the light on the fact that if it is happening to you also; that you have not done anything to cause it and that you are so worthy and deserving to recover from this. It is a health condition with no more weight or ‘stigma’ than having gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia!!
How much healing I have had to do to get this far…perhaps lifetimes of cultural conditioning of silencing our pain, pretending that all is OK when our world is burning down around us…Especially as an Australian-born Indian woman, there is so much of hiding our wounds to ‘hold face’ or not speak about mental health conditions…and it must stop now.
In a world ravaged by Covid, where mental health numbers are soaring, especially given the lack of family support available to new mothers with border restrictions; the need is urgent.
Healing that I hope allows for more conversations, more universal compassion and understanding and so much empathy and kindness towards every woman going through this.
I want to get to a place in this world, where we can say that we have post-natal depression in the same breath and ease as if we said we had broken our limb…that is my wish moving forward and why I am doing all of this.
I want to make the road less rocky for all generations to come, to not enter pregnancy and post-birth with blindness, with a naïve mindset of ‘this won’t happen to me’…or ‘I don’t want to hear about it in case it happens’…I parked my single slide in my antenatal class on the bottom shelf, where I blanked out thinking those exact same thoughts…
Then it came out of the ground and blindsided me completely…
It felt like I had been overtaken by some external entity that completely ravaged my body and mind…until I sought treatment and then it left and went back to wherever it came from.
If it can happen to me…then it can happen to anyone.
This is why I am laying it all out there…so that this conversation starts and becomes mainstream knowledge and something where everyone holds space for our women and their families to be seen, heard and supported.
This fills my heart with so much passion and purpose.
I will leave no stone unturned in order to be an advocate for change in an arena that requires reform.
To be an advocate for all mothers.
To be an advocate for any and all mental health disorders in the perinatal period.
I also want to be the face to show all women enduring it; that life after healing and recovery is possible. The love and joyous life that is waiting for you upon recovery will be in overflow! It feels so sacred and divine after having eleven weeks (twice) in the depths of hell…that now, I can only savour each and every breath that I take.
I take these breaths for my children…I take these breaths for my renewed sense of life…I take these breaths for the help that I want to provide for any and all women that need it.
I take these breaths for you.