Perinatal and Depression Week (PND) held annually from 15-21 November aims to raise awareness for this condition experienced by many mothers.
The term encompasses the variety of mental health issues that can affect women while pregnant and up to a year post-birth.
Community initiatives aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, especially heightened when women have children in what is commonly seen as a joyful occasion.
Local woman Mrs Stevie Wilkinson (26), mum to a son, George, now aged 11 months, bravely agreed to speak of her personal experiences with perinatal depression.
She is telling her story in order to support other women who may be experiencing similar issues and to destigmatise the issues surrounding seeking support for mental health issues.
Mrs Wilkinson told Medowie News Of The Area that she realised she was experiencing PND when she had thoughts of harming her son when she could not soothe him.
Although hesitant at first, concerned about repercussions if she admitted her feelings to a medical professional, Mrs Wilkinson says that her GP was skilled in identifying the issue and set in place a mental health plan that included medication and a referral to a psychologist.
Although relapsing with PND when her son was five months old, Mrs Wilkinson said, “I promised myself when I left my GP’s office with my initial diagnoses that I would be honest with myself and everyone around me about my situation.”
“Yes, I have PND, it took me a long time to realise that doesn’t make me a bad mum and that my son doesn’t hate me.”
Mrs Wilkinson is not alone in her experience, with Way Ahead reporting that up to one in 10 women are likely to experience antenatal anxiety or depression and one in seven with postnatal depression.
For more information and to access support, make an appointment to see your local health professional, such as a child health care nurse or GP. Information can be accessed via http://pnda.wayahead.org.au/
By Heather SHARP