By KYLIE BROWN
Suffering from Post Natal Depression (PND) was something I thought would never happen to me. But after experiencing a traumatic birth and a previous period of depression, PND hit me in a way that I did not expect. I was dizzy and nauseous everyday. I felt like I was on a boat, rocking side to side when I was doing the house work and often having to hold onto the wall when I walked down the hallway because I thought my legs would give way or I would faint. This unsteady feeling scared me most when I was carrying around my baby girl Olivia. The thought of falling over while she was in my arms was terrifying. As her mum, I was there to protect her, and to think I could accidentally harm her was an awful, guilt-ridden feeling. All I wanted to do was sleep. And if Olivia woke me up I would almost feel angry at her. I constantly questioned everything I was doing and consulted Google like most do when they want answers but found myself more overwhelmed. I didn’t have that feeling that every woman talks about with their newborn. I felt alone and numb and I didn’t feel like I lived up to the expectations of a new mother.
I battled through this illness daily for 18 months before finally seeking help. The constant hormones and emotional changes in my body made me feel like I was losing my mind. I broke down in my doctor’s office and pleaded for a fix. Like many women who have experienced PND I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn’t fit to be a mother when that was all I had ever wanted to be. I felt like I was giving up but I was completely exhausted and had no other options. Exhausted from acting everyday, putting on a front of a happy, healthy mum who loved everything about motherhood. When in actual fact it was nothing like I expected. At breaking point I felt so detached that it felt like I was watching myself from afar. I wasn’t connected to my body or my baby.
Thankfully after finally “giving in” I was diagnosed with PND and I received the right help and tools to help self-manage if the symptoms arose. I knew I wanted more children but I was worried that PND would return.
I will always remember what my doctor said to me “beside yourself is exactly that. When someone is beside themselves they are not in their body, you need to take the time to slow down and reconnect with yourself.” This was where my journey with Mindfulness Meditation began. My doctor would make me practice belly breathing and take all my attention to my toes and focus on every part of my body, one at a time. This formed the healing process for me reconnecting my mind with my body and my baby.