This post deals with post-natal depression and suicide, and might be triggering for some readers.
Six years ago, my daughter's kindergarten teacher saved my life.
My second child was born five weeks premature. I had HELLP syndrome and almost died.
My daughter struggled to breathe. She struggled to feed. I had no milk. She had reflux and colic and screamed up to 21 hours a day. It was hell, and for the first few weeks I didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Watch: Em Rusciano talks to Mia Freedman about working with post-natal depression. Post continues below.
I literally went crazy from sleep deprivation. I felt like a failure; I felt guilty; I felt like I was drowning and I feared I was dragging everyone down with me. By the time she was three weeks old, I had decided to kill myself, and by the time she was four weeks old I had a plan.
I knew I needed help. I went to the doctor, the post-natal clinic and the child health nurse. I scored 28 out of 30 on the post-natal depression questionnaire, but I was placed on a waiting list to receive help.
I tried. I really, really tried.
At the same time, my daughter's kindergarten teacher asked me to come in for reading group and read with the kids. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I figured it would be one more memory for my eldest daughter before I died.
I got to the classroom and the teacher took the baby from me. She told me I looked tired, and said she'd hold the baby for five minutes, then directed me to the staff room to make myself a coffee.