“How do you know if you have post natal depression?”

Our favourite blog from last week's iBlog Friday has been chosen! Nicola Moriarty is the winner with her post at Congrats Nicola! The Jazz Pack in the mail.

Sometimes a random conversation ends up being exactly what you need at the time. Read about how Nicola's chance encounter at a coffee shop leads to a serious conversation about post natal depression.

A coffee with a stranger

Do you chat to strangers in coffee shops? At the bus stop? On the train?

And if you do, has your conversation ever gone past polite chit-chat, pleasantries about the weather and the like?

I only ask because I met a woman in GJ’s the other day, and somehow, our conversation went from “your son has the most gorgeous brown eyes!” (she had an adorable 16 month old, who was climbing on the bench seat next to me and attempting to stand on his head) to “How do you know if you have post natal depression?”

So how did we get there?

We chatted for a while about the weather – of course. She talked about how she had older children, and how the little boy with her was her fifth. I joked about how I could barely cope with two. So we talked about kids for a while. Eventually she asked me what I did for a living. When I told her I was a writer, she asked a few questions about my books, and then she asked, “Do you ever write about personal experiences?” I told her that yes, as my second novel dealt with PND.

Suddenly she became very serious. She looked me right in the eyes and she asked, “How do you know if you have post natal depression?”

I paused, I tried to word my answer carefully. I had the sense that she was suffering. But that she didn’t know if it was just normal, if it was just a part of motherhood – or if it was something more.

I told her about my experiences. About hitting a low point, about my husband picking up on the signs and suggesting that I needed to talk to someone. About visiting first the clinic nurse, who had me do the Edinburgh test for depression, about seeing my GP, then a psychologist and being put on antidepressants.


She listened and nodded. “Sometimes I wonder,” she said, “Sometimes I think, maybe.. you know – sometimes I get down.”

I wanted to hug her. I wanted to help her, I wanted to think of the exact right thing to say. I suggested she talk to someone, I added that even if she wasn’t depressed, it could help just to sit down and chat with someone who wanted nothing more than to listen to what she had to say, so that she could get things off her chest. But I don’t know if she took it in. And I don’t know her name and I don’t know how I could find her again, to see how she is, to see how she’s feeling.

All that I could do was empathise, sympathise and tell her I thought she was doing an amazing job – and that I thought she looked about ten years younger that she actually was, which was true, I nearly choked on my coffee when she told me her eldest son was twenty – and tell her that it was lovely talking with her and hope – just hope, that she talks to someone.

It left me with the feeling that I should strike up conversations with strangers more often – because you just never know when someone needs to chat, do you?

If you're a blogger and you want to appear in our next iBlog Friday roundup please send the link to your blog to us at [email protected]

We will be posting all the blogs we receive in a round up every Friday morning so make sure we get your blog by Thursday at 12 noon.

We will be publishing our favourite blog next Monday and that blogger will win a 9 pack of CDs from the Jazz Club collection.

This fabulous selection covers an array of repertoires, from rare historical recordings to the latest trends, with artisis including Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.