Post Natal Depression can be devastating. Even more so when it is undiagnosed or not treated. Today’s group therapy comes from Brooke who writes:
I met Bella at birthing classes two years ago. She and her partner were distant and non-affectionate and she never smiled. She also never rubbed her tummy with that tender touch that you have when you have a precious little life growing inside of you.
At the end of birthing class we all received a copy of every ones email addresses to catch up on the news of who had what and when and most importantly how.
After our babies were born the midwife arranged a catch up for all those that attended the birthing class. It was great to see everyone and check out all their beautiful babies. Bella arrived with her delightful little girl and still no smile; she had experienced a horrific birth and was not sleeping at all.
The mother’s group arranged by the hospital was pretty full (21 mums) so I decided to create my own using the list of emails we had received at the birthing classes. I sent a group email to everyone to see who wanted to catch up and received 4 replies. We met by the water and Bella arrived – still so sad.
Over the next 12 months Bella got worse; she was diagnosed with post natal depression and was seeing a therapist through the midwife. She was also having no support at home and had very little sleep. Her beautiful little girl did not sleep and would not eat anything. Bella took her to chiropractors, natural therapists, dieticians and doctors. Nothing seemed to work. She attended sleep school and that didn’t help either. Things never improved, Bella would always cry and put herself down. I tried everything and she would never accept any help.
Last week we went to a friend’s farmhouse for a few days. Bella was edgy before we even left. Once we arrived we raced in set up the porta cots and put the babies to sleep. Then it all went left field. Bella woke her daughter after 30 minutes to breastfeed her so she would sleep longer, she never went back to sleep.
After dinner, baths and bed my other friend and I relaxed and after 40 minutes Bella came to join us. She started to pour out her heart “I’m fat, nobody has ever loved me, I was bullied, guys use and abuse me’. Through the tears told us that she had attempted to slit her wrists twice.
At about 10.30 Bella’s baby woke screaming and my friend Tania said that she’d settle her. After 30 minutes she appeared with the little darling asleep. Tania went to check on her son and when she was gone Bella went in and work her little girl up to feed her so she would sleep longer AGAIN this did not work. That night she was awake nearly all night.
The next day everyone was exhausted. It was a sombre day to say the least.
That night after the same routine Tania and I were sitting in front of the fire and about an hour later heard the door shut. 20 minutes we went to look for Bella and found her outside with her baby in the freezing cold, crying because she couldn’t settle her baby and she was afraid she would wake everyone up.
The next day I woke early and got my son up and in the car. I felt sick…… on the way home I called Beyond Blue and a woman’s clinic in our area to make her an appointment. This was on Friday – I got her in on the Monday.
I informed them of her situation and asked that she be treated with compassion. The doctor gave her anti depressants and told her to put her child in childcare and sent her on her way…. I’m ropable, that is how a doctor from a woman’s clinic handles post natal depression.
I have an appointment with the manager to discuss this matter further because now Bella will not go back.
I am scared, Bella’s little girl never smiles either………
Help, I am not sure what to do next.
If you or someone you know is suffering from PND and/or you need help there are many organisations Australia wide that can help.
PANDA Post and Antenatal Depression Association Inc
Telephone support: 1300 726 306 9.30 – 7:00 Mon-Fri
Email support: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyondblue To find out help in your area call Lifeline’s Just Ask information line on 1300 13 11 14 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm EST). Just Ask can also post you copies of any of beyondblue’s fact sheets on depression. More resources and information can be found on their website here.
Gidget Foundation promotes awareness of Perinatal Anxiety and Depression amongst women and their families, their health providers and the wider community to ensure that women in need receive timely, appropriate and supportive care. The Gidget Foundation has great resources and factsheets available on their website. http://www.gidgetfoundation.com.au/information.html