Postnatal Depression Support in Brisbane
Brisbane Mum of twins, Lisa, recounts her experience of postnatal depression. Thankfully, there are plenty of support options in Brisbane, listed below, for women and men who are experiencing anxiety or depression, both before or after the birth of a child.
When Brisbane Mum, Lisa, had her long-awaited and much hoped-for twins, things didn’t quite go according to expectations. Rather than feeling elated at the beautiful new additions to her family, she felt like she was “going crazy” because she couldn’t cope. Her experience is similar to that of many parents who suffer Postnatal Depression (PND).
“It was a feeling of being completely overwhelmed and unable to function. Even making a simple decision like which brand of nappy to buy was difficult,” Lisa said.
“I got home on day one and cried in my bedroom for hours and didn’t want to go out into the lounge to see the babies. It felt like people were all making a fuss of the babies and telling me how happy I should be and congratulating me. It made me feel like I had to feel happy, or pretend to be,” she said.
Lisa said that both herself and her husband were so busy and exhausted caring for the babies, and that whenever she was breastfeeding them, a darkness overcame her.
“The midwife came for a follow-up visit after my husband had one month off (in that time he did a lot of the work) and she told me that my feelings were normal and a case of the baby blues. She also told me to stop breastfeeding because of the bizarre mood swings I was experiencing when the twins were feeding,” she said.
After more follow-up visits, the midwife suggested Lisa arrange some family help. Having no family nearby, she hired a nanny to help part-time. She also went to the doctor, who prescribed medication.
“The medication helped but made me even more tired and lethargic and almost numb. I can say that it was not sheer willpower at all that got me through; it was the drugs, the nanny’s help, and a fantastic husband who managed to do night shifts at home with twins and then go to work and bring home the money to support us. Lastly, I got myself to the gym and there was a crèche there. Exercise was my saviour.”
Lisa said that mindfulness exercises with a modulation therapist were also helpful for alleviating the stress.
“The recovery is ongoing and I still practise being in the moment and breathing exercises. I learnt that the depression was caused by the anxiety I felt about having the responsibility of caring for the twins, so we dealt with the anxiety and then the dark hopeless feeling of depression lifted. I fell in love with the twins around the time of their first birthday.”
Postnatal Depression Support Services in Brisbane
If you or someone you know is experiencing postnatal depression, you can encourage them to seek help by referring them to one of the following services.
Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness
Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness is a local Brisbane charity that offers education and support to parents and expecting parents regarding emotional health and mental well-being. The organization was founded and is operated by mums who have experienced perinatal mental illness.
Peach Tree’s services include supportive ante and postnatal education classes, and a non-judgmental mothers group. Peach Tree actively aims to reduce the stigma and myths of parenthood and mental illness, through community events and workshops. Please visit the Peach Tree website, or their sister site at www.handsholdinghands.com.au for more information.
Free Brisbane-based referral service for PND
Women’s Health is a free, Brisbane-based health service that is only a phone call away. You can simply phone (07) 3216 0376 to speak to a nurse or midwife about any concerns you have in pregnancy or in parenting. They also have plenty of useful information on their website.
Free online and phone resources to help with PND
The PANDA (Post and Antenatal Depression Association) website has lots of helpful information, including practical tips for coping with PND. They also offer a national hotline you can call — 1300 726 306 — if you wish to speak to someone about your concerns.
Support for Dads with PND
It is not uncommon for fathers to experience Postnatal Depression too. If this is you, or someone you love, visit How is Dad Going? for support that is specific to men.
Support for those caring for friends and family with PND
If you are caring for someone with postnatal depression, this article on the Raising Children Network is a must-read.
Home visiting psychologists in Brisbane
If you are wanting to talk to a psychologist but find it difficult to get to a clinic, there are a number of Brisbane-based professionals that will make home visits, including Postnatal Depression Counselling and Changes Psychology.
You can also visit your GP, who can refer you to an appropriate specialist for help. Postnatal Depression is serious, but with help, a full recovery is possible.
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