Parenthood comes with so many expectations. We tend to worry about our parenting ability, our baby’s wellbeing, getting a balance between work and home life, division of chores and the list goes on. These thoughts can sometimes lead to feelings of overwhelm. Although it’s quite normal to think about all of these things, if you feel immobilised by distressing, recurrent thoughts and if you just can’t get out of your head – some support can really help.
Postnatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) is very common, affecting up to 1 in 7 mothers and 1 in 20 fathers. Sometimes postnatal depression/anxiety is brought on by the huge adjustment to parenting and can be exacerbated by feeling isolated or if you lack social supports. There is nobody to blame; PNDA can affect anyone.
What are some symptoms of Post or Ante Natal Depression?
- Uncontrollable crying or not knowing why you are crying
- Feeling unable to cope
- Mood changes
- Loss of memory and concentration
- Feelings of guilt and inadequacy
- Negative and morbid thoughts
- Thoughts or harming yourself or you baby
It can be very hard to admit that you are not coping, and there are many myths of motherhood that pressure mothers (and fathers) to live up to unrealistic expectations about parenthood. The journey is different for everyone.
Who is at risk of postnatal depression/anxiety?
People with a personal or family history of psychiatric or psychological illness are more at risk of perinatal depression/anxiety. Also women and men who have had:
- Difficulty getting pregnant or have had fertility treatment
- Previous miscarriage, termination or still birth
- Health complications
- Lack of partner or social support
- Challenges with their change of identity
- Childhood trauma
- Have a difficult or unwell baby
- An unwanted pregnancy.
SUPPORT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
PANDSI (Post and Antenatal Depression Support and Information Inc.) is a not for profit organisation based in the ACT who focus on assisting women and men with postnatal depression. PANDSI provides support, health promotion, advocacy and perinatal mental health education services which complement existing mental health services and improve the perinatal mental health of ACT women and their families.
Day Support Group
This group offers support and strategies aimed at developing strengths and skills to help cope with depression and anxiety related to early parenting. (Limited free adjunct childcare is available).
Fitness Support Group
A program which combines exercise (provided by a fitness trainer) and a facilitated support group covering topics such as self-esteem, nutrition and relationships. (Limited free adjunct childcare is available).
Dad’s Information Night
These sessions are run throughout the year. They focus on partner wellbeing, combining work and parenting and how to support a partner experiencing postnatal depression/anxiety.
Telephone Support Program
Telephone support is provided for women and their families by our support workers. This service is available during office hours for those who cannot attend support groups.
PANDSI playgroup is a great way of making connections with other families going through the same issues and struggles with PND. It is exclusively for PANDSI clients and runs most Monday’s throughout the year.
PANDSI also have a well-resourced library for clients to enjoy.
It is important to remember that you can overcome postnatal depression and help is available.
In addition to the support offered by PANDSI, it is advisable to seek help from your GP or other health professional. If you feel that you are currently experiencing severe symptoms of PND or are in crisis please call the Mental Health Crisis Line 1800 629 354 or Lifeline 13 11 14.
PANDSI may be contacted on 6288 1936 between the hours of 9.00 – 4.00pm Monday – Friday.
For more information about PANDSI services and group times and locations go to www.pandsi.org