Your Voice, Your Story: Postnatal Depression (PND)


Most of us who have had children experience the blues in one form or another in those early months. Whether it’s the notorious ‘Baby Blues’ that strike around day 3 or 4 as your milk comes in and messes with all your hormones, or the blues brought on through lack of sleep and the enormous life changing event of looking after a newborn baby and all that entails, we all tend to have had our moments of feeling down. But eventually the fog subsides and we become completely enamoured by this new little being we brought into the world.

But what if you don’t and haven’t? That’s usually a warning sign that you may be experiencing something more serious than a case of the blues. Postnatal depression affects approximately 15% of woman after the birth of their baby. This is *Kate’s story.

(*Name changed to protect privacy)


I can vividly remember how I felt when my daughter was first placed in my arms. I was so happy I thought I would burst. As time went by and I adapted to the crazy world that is motherhood, I only fell more and more in love with her.

Fast forward a couple of years and my husband and I decided to try for a second child. I fell pregnant again quickly and we were over the moon. I assumed things would be just like the first time, but I was wrong.

From the start, my second pregnancy was a difficult one. I had extreme morning sickness that never went away. I was vomiting at home, at work and in the car. I was utterly miserable and sick of being sick.

As the pregnancy progressed, I began to have trouble sleeping. I’d fall asleep exhausted each night and wake at 2 or 3am and that became the start of my day. Coupled with looking after a toddler and a stressful job, it all became too much. I felt low, anxious and tearful, but figured that was just pregnancy hormones.

When my son was finally born, things began to unravel. I held him in my arms and waited for a sense of elation to take over. It didn’t. I just felt tired and detached. There was none of the emotion I felt when my daughter was born – I could have been holding a stranger’s baby.

Things worsened when I got home. Lack of sleep is a given with a newborn, but even when my son was sleeping, I was lying awake, filled with anxiety as my mind raced through a variety of horrifying and improbable scenarios.

I never had the slightest intention of hurting my son, but I was so scared I would do something accidentally. My thoughts became more and more irrational. I was afraid someone would shoot us. I was afraid I would crash my car with him inside. I was afraid I would drop dead and fall on him.

Visions of my son lying badly hurt or injured flooded my mind constantly and I couldn’t shake them. These thoughts would pop into my head, unwanted, uninvited, at all hours of the day and night.

When it was time for my husband to return to work, I’d beg him every morning not to go. Not to leave me alone with my son. This tiny new human who filled me with so much fear.

I spent most of my days sobbing. As a second-time mum, I knew in theory what I was supposed to do with a baby. Every day I would go through the motions – changing nappies and singing songs to him, but with tears rolling down my cheeks. My two year old would do her best to comfort me “Don’t cry, mummy – it’s ok”, which only made me cry harder.

I felt nothing for my son, except resentment each night he woke crying. He didn’t feel like mine. I was certain the only reason he was crying was because I was a failure as a mother and that he deserved a better one. I genuinely thought adoption would be a good solution.

The sadness, the emptiness and the guilt became unbearable. I’d force myself to go out and put on a happy face, so no one would suspect a thing. When people asked how I was doing, I’d say ‘fine, fine’ and crack jokes about tiredness.

Eventually, leaving the house became so complicated and overwhelming, I’d end up staying home.

I realised I needed help when the empty feeling started to extend to my 2 year old. The rational part of my brain knew that I used to love her more than anything, so it wasn’t normal that I felt so detached from her now. Everything she or my husband said or did seemed to anger me. I would alternate between irrational rage, lashing out at the people closest to me, and total numbness.

In some part of my mind, I understood that this must be postnatal depression but I didn’t want to admit to it. I had little experience of depression before that point and didn’t understand the ways in which it could manifest itself. I thought depression meant you were suicidal and couldn’t get out of bed or function on a day to day level. I was still functioning, albeit not very well.

At the end of my son’s 6 week check up, the doctor asked how I was doing. As I prepared to say ‘fine”, I burst into floods of tears instead. It all came out – the intrusive thoughts, the anxiety, the tears and the fact I was such a terrible mother and that my children deserved better. She gently suggested I make another appointment to come and see her.

I was formally diagnosed with post-natal depression and together we decided on a course of counselling and anti-depressant medication

I got in touch with a local organisation which offered help and support to people suffering from PND. Through them, I met people who were in a similar boat and who understood.

Slowly, things began to improve and I started having more good days than bad. As the medication began to work, my anxiety lessened and I began to laugh again.

Recovery has been a difficult journey. At times, I’ve felt like I’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. But I’ve progressed from feeling nothing for my son to all-encompassing love. We recently celebrated his first birthday and I can’t believe there was ever a time when my heart didn’t ache with love for him.

I still have the odd bad day, but they are fewer and further between now. I no longer lie awake every night, anxious and terrified or spend my days in tears. I’m aware of my stressors and understand the importance of self-care.

In some ways, I think I’m a stronger, better person than I was before. I certainly have a much greater understanding of mental illness and have become less judgmental and more empathetic.

As I’ve started to feel better, I’ve begun to be more open about my experiences. I hope that the more we can talk about postnatal anxiety and depression, the more we can shed the stigma of it and help mothers to get the support they need.

For further information click here if you are in NZ and if you are in Australia click here.


Have you or someone you know ever experienced PND?

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4 Itchy Microscopic Beasts You REALLY Want To Avoid!

Itchy bugs. I don’t mean the tummy bug type bug that is every parents worst nightmare, waking up with spew in your hair is no fun for anyone (yes, that really happened to me and very recently in fact!). No. I’m talking ACTUAL BUGS. The alive creepy crawly type bugs. The microscopic beasts that make your skin crawl, the kind that will have you itching your skin and scalp by the end this post in full blown paranoia.

I have honestly had the worst September. I wrote about it the other week in fact and I had hoped that was the end of it. Do you ever have those months where it’s just one bad luck event after another? Well mine continued to pile up until it became a comedy of errors that just had to be written about because if you don’t laugh you cry right? It was certainly one of those months! And I appreciated the laughs because it made me feel like it had all been for something, even if it was just to give others a giggle at my expense! But just to top things off, it wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning of the worst of it. Yes, I said WORSE.

My 3 year old son came home Tuesday night with a few spots on his legs, the kind that make you look twice. As he has eczema though I shrugged them off. Fast forward to Wednesday night and suddenly he had WAY more spots. All over his legs and arms in fact. I panicked and thought chicken pox and immediately made a doctors appointment because not only have my kids never had it, but my husband hasn’t either. Chicken pox was the last thing we needed! Can you imagine both your kids AND your husband holed up miserable with chicken pox?! No. Just, no. So off to the doctor we trotted, fingers crossed and all. And it turns out it wasn’t chicken pox at all. No. It was worse. Scabies.


Have you ever heard of scabies? It is a bug that crawls under your skin and hatches eggs so more bugs can crawl all over your body eating you. Kind of. the true definition is as follows:

Scabies is a very itchy rash caused by a parasitic mite that burrows in the skin surface. These tiny insects burrow along in the skin, laying eggs as they go. Above the eggs small blisters form, surrounded by red patches which are extremely itchy and can spread very easily through human contact.

Yeah. RIOT!

Contrary to popular belief, scabies can attach to anyone no matter social standing or cleanliness. Even the cleanest people can catch scabies because all it takes is brief contact with someone who has it and it can spread like wildfire.

The ‘official’ diagnosis was ‘possible scabies’ but I just heard bug, itchy, eggs, crawl, washing.

Yes, that’s right. WASHING. Did I mention we had torrential rain forecast AGAIN (hello Spring!) and I was informed I needed to wash EVERYTHING in the house – sheets, blankets, towels, pillowcases and any clothes that had been worn in the week prior to the ‘possible diagnosis’ and any clothes that had touched other clothes in the last week. HOT wash. NIGHTMARE.

In addition, we also all had to shower and coat ourselves in cream from head to toe overnight before showering again the following morning. I’m itchy just thinking about it! As it turns out, it’s likely he did not (I repeat, DID NOT) have scabies as his rash started to clear up by that afternoon BUT after reading all that, would you not still do what you were told in total fear of bugs crawling under your skin and laying eggs?! Yes? Yes. So I had a fun filled weekend of neverending washing to do and nowhere to dry it. Story of my life!

Scabies are however, not the only itchy bug you will probably be introduced to at some point in your lifetime.

Hellooooo NITS

Head lice (nits) are small, wingless insects than infest the human head and hair feeding on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp.

My head gets itchy just writing the word! (Still itchy!). Nits are a common childhood nightmare brought to you (mostly) by little girls with lovely long thick hair that they just love to get tangled up in and provide hours of entertainment (ha!) for already run off their feet parents to tediously comb through and remove eggs and live crawly treasures one by one. And even then they very rarely go away and you need to repeat, repeat, repeat! Apparently the cleaner the hair the more they love it! Terrific! Thankfully I have yet to re-experience these little beasts since becoming a parent (I was just the carrier as a child on a couple of occasions!) but I don’t hold my breath. I’m sure I will get to experience it at least once! And it’s not the boys I’m worried about (hello head clippers!) it’s me! The boys in my bed = easily spread from one head to another.



Fleas are wingless insects, with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood.

If you have had a cat or a dog in your lifetime, then chances are you have dealt with the pest that is fleas! Some seasons are especially worse than others! Like as the temperature warms and eggs that have sat dormant come to life and start hatching in your carpet and baby fleas start bouncing around the place. You’ll be sitting relaxing on the couch and then you’ll see one hop across your arm and you’ll realise you have a problem. I hate fleas! They can be really hard (and expensive) to get rid of and the vet recently told me that they have been inundated with pets infested with fleas in the past month (joy!) so my hubby tends to search Teddie’s hair most nights and hand pick them out if he sees them, just to be on the safe side! I actually think he finds it kinda relaxing but don’t tell him I told you that! Fighting fleas one by one since 2016. Ha!


Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans.

As the name proclaims, these lovely bugs love to hang out in your bed and feast on your blood. Lovely!

Fortunately I have never had to deal with bed bugs but I know someone who has and it sounds like a nightmare of epic proportions! I’m using the word nightmare A LOT in this post but it’s definitely warranted! I’ll stick with fleas that require a few flea bombs and a fortune invested in pet companies to kill (what is with flea treatment for pets being so darn expensive?!). Even scabies sounds better than bed bugs!

Have you ever had to deal with any of these microscopic beasts? Are you itchy yet?


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