Kylie: “Knowing I wasn’t alone ….made all the difference”

I’m Kylie and I’m a 38 year old, married, career devoted Mum of two kids under four.  Having suffered depression and anxiety most of my adult life, I thought I was mentally ready for the fact that I’d be super high risk for PNDA.  Yet nothing could have prepared me for the feelings that becoming a mother would evoke within me. I was totally upfront with all my health professionals and after the premature birth (at 33 weeks) of my daughter, I actually managed ok.  I did have a break down, mostly surrounding inabilities to breastfeed and guilt over wanting to return to work.  I was medicated, and utilised my mental health professionals, returning to work part time.  But the biggest influence in my recovery was my introduction to the wonderful Peach Tree community.  For me, knowing that I wasn’t alone in how I felt about my journey, made all the difference. Unfortunately the birth of my son saw me plummeting even further.  My mental health deteriorated early during my second pregnancy, to the worst it had ever been.  I sunk down to the point I was suicidal and praying I would give birth to my baby before I was due, as I genuinely felt I was failing him and he was better off not inside me.  He came early also (at 35 weeks), and my PNDA spiralled out of control.  Despite drawing on all the resources I had used previously, my suicidal thoughts took me to lows that I never could have dreamed existed. It if weren’t for my husband and children, and the amazing support of the...

Emma: “As a new mum, I was an exhausted defeated shell”

I was a successful, professional woman – a high achiever and perfectionist from way back.  But as a new mum I was an exhausted, defeated shell. I couldn’t stop my baby crying. I couldn’t get her to sleep. Her birth had been confidence-crushing and scary.  And I was losing my grip on breastfeeding, despite all my research and preparation.  I was a failure.  And, worst of all, I was failing at something that was supposed to be beautiful, warm and fuzzy, the pinnacle of my life as a woman. I believed everything that was going “wrong” was down to my own personal inadequacies. And I honestly believed my baby and husband would be better off without me.  I cycled between that sort of hopeless thinking and a frantic search for solutions to my baby’s sleep and feeding problems.  I read every book and article I could get my hands on, saw multiple “experts” and became even more exhausted and distanced from my baby.  The one positive was that this anxiety-driven mode got me out of the house and in front of health professionals, who eventually managed to convince me to accept help, and that motherhood didn’t have to feel that...

Tracey: “The Journey is Yours to Walk”

I am Tracey, now 37.  My daughter Eva is now 3.8yrs.  I have always had a perfectionistic personality, and liked things to be in control and orderly.  These traits worked in my favour in my work life, however, I believe they contributed to my (so called) failures in Motherhood, along with (so called) failed breastfeeding and fear of judgement and criticism from others. My PNDA nightmare began within hours/a day or so of giving birth. My racing mind led to 5 straight days without a wink of sleep, to the point I was unable to sleep.  Some mild psychosis took over, and I just wanted to run and hide, to get away from this new stranger (my baby) that depended on me for life.  I was scared stiff, as I felt I was losing my mind and surely couldn’t be responsible for another living being when I easily could have ended my own life had I not had the most supportive and kind family reassuring me that I was going to be alright. Medication certainly helped to a degree, and when my daughter was 10 months, I tapered off the med, and within a month I had relapsed right back to where it all started, only much worse this time.  Being hospitalised for 3 weeks was scary, heartbreaking, humiliating, but a blessing in disguise.  The mental health nurses, my Psychologist and Psychiatrist looking after me were my saviours.  They saw the good person within, when I was convinced she had gone. I would sit with them and ask how I could possibly recover from this? I will forever be...

Xanthe: “A Mother Baby Unit helped me recover”

I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression my whole adult life, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I would have PND&A. After several long years of trying we were blessed with twins via IVF.  Parenting was nothing like I had envisaged, especially with twins.  All I heard from people around me was how I must be over the moon and enjoying it.  In truth, I felt trapped, and totally overwhelmed.  It got to the point when the twins were 7 weeks old that I shut down and told my husband I couldn’t do it anymore. The next week I was in a mother baby unit.  My medication was changed, and slowly I started to improve.  It took me a really long time to recover.  I made some amazing friends who were also going through the same as me, and having people understand me was so helpful.  Six years later I was totally shocked to learn that I had fallen pregnant naturally.  Two weeks after Finn was born I recognised myself falling into the depression and anxiety again, and once again returned to a mother baby unit to help me recover.  When I came home I was informed about Peach Tree, and I started attending.  It’s such a relief to be able to join women that understand, and be in a safe space to be honest with my...

Amy: “I’m proud of myself and the family I’ve made”

I love my children. So, so much. I’ve been at home with them for the last three years and it’s been the hardest three years of my life. I’d managed my anxiety and depression for over ten years, and was so ready and excited to be a mother. Instead of the sense of fulfilment and all-encompassing purpose I’d expected, I found boredom and isolation and tedious repetition. It has taken a long time and a lot of personal growth and struggle, but I’m now able to appreciate my time with my kids. I look forward to waking up and cuddling them. I love eating dinner with them and wiping their faces and asking what made them happy today. I love when they pat my face and say “luff oo!” (my son) or “I want to be big and strong like you!” (my daughter). I’m proud of myself and the family I’ve made, so precious for how hard it’s been. This is us in the car after I passed my lipstick around so we can all be fabulous on our way to the shops....