E tūtaki ana ngā kapua o te rangi, kei runga, kei runga te Mangoroa e kōpae pū ana | The clouds in the sky close over, but above them spreads the milky way

Ā Tātou Kōrero | Our Stories

Ā Tātou Kōrero | Our Stories

Stories inspire and heal us – you are not alone. The stories on these pages have been shared with the aim of helping others.

John’s story


I was 32 years old when my wife and I had our first baby. I wondered what had struck me, when the first 9 months of living with the new baby became sheer hell. We had moved house, I’d started a new job, and now the baby had colic for the first nine months

The 9 months dragged on and on with my partner and I not sharing any meals together, always taking turns holding baby. Despite feeling exhausted, sleep eluded me and my life felt out of control.

I felt overwhelmed with stress and worry. I felt a huge responsibility being a father who should financially support the household and keep things together.

While my GP tried to help and put me on medication, I didn’t improve. Finally, I went to a psychiatrist and I remembered feeling a huge sense of relief. The psychiatrist seemed to understand how I was feeling. I felt I had come to the right person. With new medication and new hope, I noticed a turnabout. Within a few weeks I was improving and more in control.

I found weekends were worst when there was no schedule in place. Simple tasks like buying milk at the local dairy could become a huge ask. My partner and I partner resolved this issue by planning some tasks to begin straight away upon waking in the weekends.

It was confidence eroding, relationship-testing time. I had panic attacks, and experienced a very fine line between being well and being unwell. I remembered the advertisements of John Kirwan admitting he had depression and felt relieved that other men felt as he had. I admired John Kirwan’s courage to admit this so-called ‘weakness‘.

I now believe that most people don’t recognise that men can get postnatal depression and how serious this can be, and I feel that it is largely undetected and untreated.

Finally I’m able to talk about his my PND and have found that there are many more men like me. When I was sick I had difficulty admitting that I was unwell and now I am more open. I realise that it takes time to recover but it is worth the long hard journey and that personal strength can be gained.

For further information for Dads and Birthing Partners, go to our pages Depression in Fathers and Dads Worry Too.

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