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 | Your Stories

Ā Tātou Kōrero | Your Stories

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

Ā Tātou Kōrero | Your Stories

Erin’s story

I am a mother who suffered from postnatal depression (PND) and an anxiety disorder. Most people are aware that PND exists, but it’s not something you give much thought to during pregnancy because you don’t want anything to cloud your wonderful dream of becoming a mother.

Before my daughter was born, I had trained and worked for many years as an early childhood teacher. This was a job I was confident in, and passionate about. I worked mainly with two-year-olds so I had a lot of experience working with babies and toddlers. Therefore, I assumed I would be the last person who would suffer from PND.

My beautiful daughter, Zoe, was finally born and then the problems began. Firstly, minor birth complications, and then there was the sheer hell of breastfeeding. All this time I felt totally exhausted. I was a time bomb waiting to explode. This tiny baby was totally dependent on me. This thought caused some anxiety but as a new mother, I assumed this to be the norm.

The anxiety continued along with the extreme tiredness that never went away. My moods fluctuated and I began getting severe headaches daily along with jaw pain. This constant pain just wore me down. I was suffering PND but didn’t know it.

I thought of every excuse for what was causing my problems. Here I was with a small baby – this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. Simple things such as maintaining a house were difficult for me.

Finally, after a year had passed, I visited my doctor and was diagnosed with PND and anxiety. I was prescribed antidepressant medication. I was opposed to taking medication. “What would people think?” “Would my friends and family think I couldn’t cope?” Reluctantly I took a very low dose of medication. All this did was prolonging my agony. Finally, I gave in and took the recommended amount.

Slowly things improved. I was lucky to have good family support and friends who listened to me. With medication, counselling and group therapy, I finally saw the old me again. Thankfully, my daughter was a happy healthy baby who continued to sleep and eat well.

Looking back on this experience, I now realise that I put so much pressure on myself to be a “super-mum”. The old saying “Something good comes out of something difficult” is true. I have learned a lot about the inner me and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I talk openly about my experience in the hope that maybe I could help someone else, and to help change the stigma attached to PND.

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