by KATE TORENBECK
Best things from Post Natal Depression? Is she mad? I know it seems ludicrous to think there are positives from battling severe depression and anxiety, but bear with me on this.
I am the proud mum of three daughters and, like all parents, I’m pretty sure mine are the best kids to grace this planet. When I had my first daughter nearly 4.5 years ago I struggled with baby blues and cried a lot in the first couple of months as I adapted to being a mum. I didn’t have PND though – it just took me a bit of time to find my stride.
And find it I did – when she was 18 months old, we welcomed our second gorgeous girl to the world. I got baby blues again, but they went, only to be replaced by crippling, horrific, blindsiding PND and anxiety. So bad that I was hospitalised for 6 weeks and had months of ongoing treatment and medication afterwards.
When #2 was 18 months old, we decided to try for another baby. This was not a decision made lightly and we put in place a world of contingency plans should PND hit again. Statistics say that mothers who have had PND once will have a 50% chance of having it again with subsequent babies. We took the gamble and lost. When our 3rd daughter was 8 days old I was back in hospital with PND for what would be another 5 week stay.
So I could spend pages telling you how awful PND was for me. Don’t take what I’m about to write below to think I found it manageable or tolerable. It is the single most horrifying thing I have ever been through, and it dragged me to dark, dark depths. Twice. I have asked “why me?” and analysed my every thought and movement until I’m blue in the face but it doesn’t change it. So instead, I’m focusing on what I have gained from PND.
1. One on one time with each of my newborns
We chose to have three children in less then 4 years. We knew it would be hectic and we would be stretched in every direction by the demands of our young family. Ahead of each subsequent birth, I had mummy guilt about how I would spread my time and love amongst each of my kids. To then be hospitalised and away from my toddler/s and husband for weeks on end, on top of this debilitating illness, was unthinkable. The silver lining to my lengthy hospitalisation after baby #2 and #3 was that I took my newborn with me each time to a private hospital ward for mothers with PND and their babies. So I got weeks of one-on-one time to get to know the new little person in my life and work out some of their quirks. My 2nd daughter is nearly 3 now and my youngest is 7 months old and, in part, I have PND to thank for the awesome bond I have with each of them.
2. A better marriage
My marriage has always been strong, we aren’t perfect but we work well together. My husband is an amazingly capable man, and one of his many skills is his ability to put up with my want to take charge/take over.