The birth of Chezzi and Grant Denyer’s eldest daughter Sailor in May 2011 did not go as planned.
In fact, the experience was so traumatic for the now mum-of-two that she later suffered post-natal anxiety.
A combination of her daughter’s large head and her turning into an awkward and painful position resulted in a long, drawn-out labour.
“I was really reluctant to have a caesarean. At all costs, I did not want a caesarean,” she told Mamamia. “I had quite a comprehensive birth plan. Nothing on my birth plan went to plan.”
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Eventually, with Sailor in fetal stress, Chezzi went in for an emergency c-section, but by this stage, she had become so distressed and exhausted by the situation and the intense pain, that she experienced dissociation.
“Basically when she was being pulled out I saw myself on the bed from the roof. It sounds really bizarre but I basically removed myself from my body to cope.”
Thankfully, Sailor, now almost seven and big sister to two-year-old Scout, was healthy. But what Chezzi says she didn’t realise at the time was that the birth had left her traumatised. Bouts of mastitis causing trouble breastfeeding and bonding with her daughter, as well as her fear she wasn’t good enough as a mother, also contributed to her anxiety.
Yet with none of her friends or family having experienced such a difficult birth or first few weeks, she had nothing to relate her own experience to and no one to suggest that she may need counselling or help.
Because of her husband's role as the Sunrise weather presenter, the family travelled around a lot and Chezzi was unable to join a mother's group, something she thinks could have eased her feelings of isolation.
After weeks of struggling with episodes of anxiety, Chezzi turned to her doctor for a diagnosis. However, because her symptoms weren't typical of depression, she kept "passing the post-natal depression test" and doctor's assured her she was fine.