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Why it is important you understand about PND

Postnatal depression (PND) – the story of my life for the last twelve months.

Not because I have it.

But because I have been writing a thesis on it. I have been investigating PND’s relationship with perfectionism and mothers’ perceptions of control.

pnd

I have read countless journal articles, deciphered a ‘significant’ amount of stats, and have come to the realisation that I still don’t really understand PND.

Sure, I get its diagnosis: A mood disorder characterised by its peripartum onset that can be diagnosed in the late stages of pregnancy up to four weeks postpartum.

I understand its prevalence: 1 in 7 women have it and 100, 000 women were diagnosed with it in 2013 (PANDA, 2013).

I understand its risk factors: a history of depression, neurotic and introverted personality traits, a perceived lack of social support, limited coping skills, unrealistic expectations of birth and parenting, a traumatic child birth, and perceived societal expectations.

I grasp its symptomology: pervasive low mood, poor appetite, lack of sleep, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, feelings of guilt, impaired concentration, loss of confidence and low self-esteem.

And I know its treatments: group or individual counselling, relaxation, medications, to name a few.

But I have no comprehension of what it is truly like to have PND.

I’ve certainly felt hopeless at times, I’ve had sleep deprivation, and I’ve definitely had the ‘mummy guilt’, but these symptoms went away. PND is not like the baby blues, where symptoms pass within two weeks postpartum. PND symptoms are pervasive.

So, no, I don’t understand what it is like not being able to connect with my baby for months on end.

No, I don’t understand what it is like to cry all the time because I am not the mother I thought I was going to be.

And, no I don’t understand what it is like to constantly feeling anxious and worried about whether I am okay, whether my baby is okay, and whether society thinks I am okay.

Although I can empathise, I cannot really understand what PND is like unless I have experienced it myself.

But I know it must be hard. Unimaginably hard given the amount of pressure, perceived or otherwise, mothers are under.

So, this is why I am joining the campaign to promote awareness of PND during PND Awareness Week. Because even though I know quite a lot about it, I still cannot imagine how hard it is.

You can join the campaign too. All you have to do is post on Facebook or Instagram a black and white photo of yourself with the hash tag #bePNDaware and promote conversation about PND with others.

 

Please share your experiences with PND. Comment below or email me at canberramummy@gmail.com.

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About Lauren Jackman (160 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook

3 Comments on Why it is important you understand about PND

  1. A few of your comments I don’t quite agree with, from my own experience of post natal depression.

    PND can occur after four weeks of giving birth. The first month after welcoming our son was one of the easiest months out of his first year. My pnd first started trickling in at around 8-10 weeks postpartum, most certainly at twelve weeks.

    Despite having pnd, I bonded with our son, we connected. To the same level, at the least, as I have with each of our subsequent children.

    I didn’t cry all the time. I didn’t feel like crying all the time either.

    What you described was what I ‘percieved’ pnd to be like. So when I felt flat, when I wasn’t my normal happy optimistic self, I figured most new mums felt like this. because it couldn’t be pnd – i wasn’t crying all the time. Ben & I had a great bond, I responded to him both in his crying & in his smiles. I could get out of bed, get out the door if I needed. But I still knew something wasn’t right.

    It took opening up to a health nurse, then to my gp, to get my diagnosis of pnd.

    I would be happy to chat more about what my experience of postnatal depression was like, if it helps you with your thesis 🙂

    • Hi Hayley, thank you for sharing your experience. I think your comments highlight the frustrating thing with diagnosing PND and that is according to the DSM IV (the bible used to diagnose) symtoms need to show ‘technically’ between this period of time. In reality, they can show up much earlier in pregnancy and later postpartum. So i 100% agree with you.

      You also highlight peoples different experiences with PND. Many mothers with PND cry, many others don’t. Many mothers are able to connect with their babies just like everyone other mother, for some, however, this connection doesnt come or comes much later. What is considered typical experiences of PND are vast and contradicting

      I wish you all the best, and thanks again for sharing. LJ

  2. Thanks for bringing awareness to something that is so debilitating for many many women.

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