I recently caught up with a girlfriend whose baby is a few months old. She answered the door straight out of the shower and promptly burst into tears before I could say hello. I came with banana bread and we ate that and drank tea and sat on the floor playing with her gorgeous little baby daughter.
I watched her. I listened to her. I watched her with her baby and I looked at her eyes when she spoke. She was tearful, she was EXHAUSTED but she didn’t have PND, of that I was almost certain.
A couple of weeks later and she’s much better. She was just having a bad day. I’ve had plenty of those in the first few months of motherhood! Who hasn’t.
But it made me think about how important it is that we keep an eye on each other. We must look out for our friends when they’re pregnant and after they’ve had babies. We must watch and listen and notice how they seem. If you’re already a mother, you’ll probably be able to tell the difference between a bad day and something more serious.
Don’t be polite. Ask questions. If you’re worried say something. If she avoids you or deflects your questions, talk to her partner or her mother or one of her other friends. Don’t just let it slide. Because the best people to notice that something isn’t right is often the friends of a new mother. And it’s beholden on all of us to not let anyone slip through the cracks…….
It’s post-natal depression awareness week this week. Celebrities and people in the public eye do us all a great service when they speak openly and honestly about difficult times in their lives. Especially when those things are intensely private and often misunderstood things like mental illness, relationships, body image or addiction.
Journalist Jessica Rowe experienced post-natal depression after the birth of her first daughter Allegra. She’s now a Beyondblue Ambassador and here she shares her personal experience of Postnatal Depression and you can also hear more stories, share your personal experience or find out more about Postnatal Depression on the Just Speak Up website.