Just before Christmas, Alexandra Parker found herself sitting in her GP's waiting room willing herself not to breakdown as she waited to be called.
"Don't breakdown, don't breakdown, keep it together," she told herself over and over again.
She's not even sure how she managed to get to that waiting room in the first place. In hindsight, she thinks it was a beacon inside her screaming "go and get help!"
She'd been struggling for months in a haze of sleep deprivation since the birth of her second child Jack in May 2020.
Watch: Everything you need to know about postnatal depression. Post continues after video.
It had reached the point where her relationship with her husband was suffering, her eldest, Lily, was misbehaving and she couldn't pull herself out from beneath a deep sense of despair.
"I just felt absolutely helpless. I felt like I was doing such a horrendous job of being a mum. I felt like I was just failing at life. I was struggling to cope. I felt like I was failing my daughter, I wasn't able to look after her properly. And my son suffered terrible reflux, so in the night he was literally up every single hour. It was absolutely horrific," Alexandra told Mamamia.
Alexandra blames the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the main triggers that sent her spiralling into severe postnatal depression (PND) and anxiety.
The 31-year-old was in the late stages of her pregnancy when the virus first reached our shores. Alexandra was deemed high-risk as Australia tried to comprehend what COVID-19 might do to the more vulnerable in our community.
Her mother, based in the UK, was due on a flight in April just in time for the birth. It was cancelled as international borders were shut, leaving Alexandra devastated and without her planned support person.