Postnatal Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???

Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Being a Mumma, Pregnancy, The UNspoken | 40 comments

Postnatal Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder???
First family photo. This was seconds after delivery, not many people have seen this photo. I was hesitant to put it up, I don’t recognise myself and it brings back some painful memories but I want to be open and honest.

 

 

I had always dreamt of being a mum, I felt it was my destined career path. I was never really sure of what I wanted to do after I finished school but being a mum was never a question.

My pregnancy with Olivia wasn’t great, I had awful morning sickness for the majority of the pregnancy. From the moment I woke to the moment I went to sleep I felt nauseous. I would cook dinner with a mask on because I felt bad that my husband was at training all day and I sat on the couch trying to keep my head in a position where I didn’t feel sick. (Very similar to the bed spins you get after a night out, where you sometimes have to put your foot on the floor to stop the room moving, yeh I know you’ve all been there) yuck!!

Towards the end of my pregnancy I started worrying that I wasn’t going to bond with the baby, I never rubbed my belly and gushed about the little person growing inside me. I more thought OMG stop kicking me you are going to brake a rib and hurry up and come out already I am so over feeling fat, tired and sick. All of this I never actually told anyone with the thought of being judged for being ungrateful and cold. After all, this is all I’d ever wanted and what, now I’m complaining???

Olivia was a big baby and I was running out of room and patients I guess (I’m a very impatient person) so my OB and I decided to induce me a week early. He was confident the baby was of great size and was worried my lack of sleep toward the last few weeks might be effecting the energy I would need to go through a first labour.

So it was 29th October and we had just had a BBQ with a few friends and family for Jonathan’s birthday and it was time for my induction. I waved to everyone smiling and happy and off we went only to find out later my mum burst into tears, which is not unlike her but she said to our friend         “she has no idea what she’s in for”.

The anxiety kicked in on the way to the hospital and I went from wanting to see how the labour progressed before going for pain relief to wanting the epidural as soon as I got to the hospital, I was petrified.

8pm when we arrived at the pregnancy assessment unit the midwife said I was already 2 cms dilated and pretty much in early labour. My OB put the gel in and within 15 mins I had a 1/10000 reaction, I was allergic to the prostin gel and it sent me into a full contraction that wouldn’t release. I was taken straight to the labour ward and the anaesthetist was called, an hour after the contraction began it finally released after having the epidural, praise The Lord for epi’s. That yellow tube in my back was now my new best friend.

After the epidural was in I managed to rest and get a little bit of sleep, it was now 7am and time to push. I am also a very competitive person not with others more myself and pushing to me was always the challenge I was most looking forward to. I pushed one minute on, one minute off 3 times per contraction for over 2 hours. The first hour and a half I was ok but the last 30 mins was traumatic. I started to hate myself for being so terrible at pushing, I thought I was stronger than that, I felt I wasn’t doing it right, this is something women had done for centuries and I couldn’t do it.

I finally reached breaking point and started to cry and yell “just get it out” “help me, I can’t do it”. I never wanted a Caesarian but at this point I just wanted the baby out. My OB could see I was completely exhausted and had nothing left. The epidural had well and truly worn off. He decided on a vacuum delivery, in about 5 pushes she was out, I had a 2nd degree tear.
At 9:07am on the 30th of october, our 8pound 5 baby girl arrived and the physical pain was finally over but this is where the mental pain began.

Olivia was lying on my chest and I felt completely numb, my OB started filming our new little family and all I could say was” I don’t want to talk”. I can’t remember the beaming smile on Jonathan’s face or the moment when I realised I had a baby girl. All I can remember is lying there holding her and waiting for this feeling that everyone talks about, the overwhelming feeling of love when your baby is placed in your arms. I waited and waited.

Waiting to go up to our room, about an hour after Olivia was born

Waiting to go up to our room, about an hour after Olivia was born

 

Our parents both came in, first mine and then Jonathan’s and I just cried every time someone new walked into the birth suite. Not tears of joy but tears of horror. I couldn’t believe what just happened and I felt I couldn’t express how I was feeling because this was the most amazing time in a new mums life and all I could think about was how shit I was at labour . How was I going to tell everyone that I would never ever be doing that again?!!

That afternoon we started getting visitors I felt like I was sitting in the corner rocking and saying there’s no place like home. Some of our friends walked in the door with massive smiles gushing at our beautiful little girl and I would say “that was fucking traumatic!!”

I couldn’t really believe I said it out loud and from then on, I didn’t really say it again. What new mother says things like that?? A bad one??

Olivia was perfect in the hospital, she slept like a dream. Breastfeeding however was an awful experience. Every new midwife had a different technique for feeding and different advice. I was open to advice but it was the way it was said. Instead of asking how I was going and if it was hurting, I kept being told I was doing it wrong and don’t do it like that do it like this. Just when I thought I had it under control another opinion would start their shift. I am all for the benefits breast feeding provide for your baby but it didn’t come naturally for me. I persisted with feeding for 10 days and I couldn’t do it anymore. I hated not know how much she was getting, if something I had eaten was upsetting her and the pain of her not latching correctly was excruciating. I know people say that this was the best way to bond with your child but every time I fed I just wanted to cry.

I started to feel a lot better bottle feeding, for the first time since I fell pregnant my body was my own and I was finally in control. I was set on not having a needy child or one that slept in my bed. I kinda turned into a robot, I was a mum now and my job was to look after my baby. I got her into a strict routine and made sure no-one rocked her to sleep or held her when it wasn’t necessary. Controlled crying came quite naturally to me, hearing her cry didn’t really bother me. I’m not talking a pain squealing just a whinging cry. I would often turn the monitor off so I couldn’t hear her if I wasn’t ready to get out of bed. Our rooms were next to each other so if she got really upset I could hear her.

Time went by and I thought I was doing really well, Olivia started sleeping through the night from 6 weeks and she would sleep 12 hours +. I would constantly question if I was doing the right thing and if I loved Olivia enough, I never had thoughts to harm her. I did love her and knew it was my job to protect her but I guess I was very matter a fact about everything. I still didn’t have that feeling everyone talked about.

I would sleep every time Liv would sleep and I got plenty of sleep during the night so I started to wonder how I could be so tired still and struggling to get out of bed. If she woke up before 7am I would almost be angry with her. As time went by I still had a blocked ear and dizzy feeling I had throughout my pregnancy which I had been told would go away when my hormones settled down. I felt as though I was on a boat, I felt like I wasn’t in my body.

When Olivia was 4 1/2 months I cut a tendon in my wrist on a baby Panadol bottle of all things, I dropped it on our stone bench top and a shard of glass cut right through 90% of the tendon. I had to have micro surgery to repair the tendon and was in a splint for 12 weeks, are you kidding me?. I know it could definitely be worse and I am not saying poor me but I just felt I had failed again, what an idiot, who does that!!

My mother-in-law came up to help for the first 2 weeks, then my mum for the following 2. I felt myself getting my back up to anyone helping me but I couldn’t control it. I had a the perfect baby, she was happy,she ate, she slept, I didn’t need any help. I felt like I was succeeding with her finally and now I needed help again and I had no choice, another fail.

The next 13 months passed with me on the pursuit to find out why I was dizzy all the time and why my left ear was still blocking. The feeling was awful some days I struggled to do everyday tasks. waking up in the morning to make Liv’s breakfast would send me into a spin. There had to be something physically wrong with me to cause such debilitating symptoms. I hope your ready for this, I had 3 CT’s, 3 Mri’s, 2 hearing and balance tests. I saw 3 ENTs, 1 balance specialist, 2 acupuncturists, 2 naturopaths, a Chinese doctor and 3 GP’s to try and find out what was wrong with me. Everything came back clear, I had a few false hopes along the way, a bad tooth, sinus infection and a couple if other things people thought it was.

Throughout this time I constantly consulted the most accurate source of information, Google. (Surely everyone can relate to this, good old Dr Google, I googled everything) I would wake up in the middle of the night, turn the brightness down on my phone so I didn’t wake Jonathan and get my Google on. I took print outs to my GP on my research of what I thought I had, I even went to the extreme of looking up a condition I saw on Greys Anatomy and asking my GP to test me for this rare condition,Ha ha. I had well and truly lost my shit, I was going mad. This illness had consumed me, and finding out what it was became an obsession to which I felt I would win a prize if I found the missing link.

After many meltdowns, dr’s offices, scanning equipment, potions, and detoxes I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed something to make it stop, my mind was exhausted from telling my head to stop spinning all day, I was scared that I was going to be like this forever. I thought I was losing or had lost my mind, I just wanted to feel numb, to go to sleep until I was better.

I went to my regular GP and cried uncontrollably, I don’t even know if I made any sense but I had been on this path for a long time so I guess he knew this day was coming. I started on an anti anxiety /antidepressant and had to see him once a week for an hour chat. He knew I didn’t want to go and see a psychologist, I had been to one while I was pregnant, I have a history of depression so my OB just wanted me to go and have a chat to someone. If you have had depression in the past you are more likely to develop PND. I felt it made me second guess everything and look in the past too much, creating things that had never worried me before. After that day I started feeling better already, maybe because I had finally given up or the feeling I was taking something to help me, helped straight away, placebo I think.

I had been on medication for about 4 weeks and seeing my GP weekly, I walked into his office and said “I have postnatal depression don’t I ?” He responded with “yes, yes you do”. I admire the way he went about my diagnosis, I had been told by many professionals that I should go on antidepressants but with no real explanation just that it might stop my dizziness. I always told them I’m not depressed I’m dizzy, so do your job and find out what’s wrong with me. He knew if he told me I had PND I would lose faith in him and find someone else who would look for the mystery illness I so desperately wanted to find. I can’t thank him enough for that, I don’t know where I would be without him.

Looking back I do understand why no one close to me picked up on it, I was always smiling and happy on the outside but fading on the inside. I threw up the thought to them saying do you think I have PND? And of course the answer was no, I didn’t want to ever harm her, she was a healthy baby that slept 12 hours a night she woke up smiling and went to sleep the same way. I have a husband who loves me, a beautiful house, amazing friends and family, life is perfect. What’s to be depressed about? I just felt so ungrateful.

I had a close friend go to a facility for her PND and she was asked by another patient “Why are you here? You don’t look like you have depression” What does depression look like? I haven’t seen any pics on google ha ha. Anxiety and depression definitely doesn’t discriminate it can effect anyone, most of the time it’s the people you think would never be effected are the worst.

I keep on top of my anxiety/depression all the time, sometimes I feel it coming on and I try Yoga, meditation and belly breathing to help but if all else fails I have a nap. I often question how this happened to me, this is all I’ve ever wanted to be a mum and I felt like I was failing at it. It brings me back to my question PND or PTSD? I’m really not sure what triggered it for me, hormones, the traumatic birth, not living up to expectations, so many things contribute to the way a new mum feels. I also feel everyone is happy to put on the front and say everything is perfect, my Olivia does this and she is so gifted blah blah, instead of admitting the real challenges of being a mum, I’m definitely not saying its all bad but sometimes just venting for a minute makes everyone feel better. At the end of the day I think all anyone needs is support, someone to listen and not judge, someone to say “I felt that way, it’s completely normal. Your not a bad mum”

If you think you have signs of PND or PTSD, or just need to vent to someone. Make sure you speak out, it doesn’t have to be a Dr at first maybe just a friend, family member or partner. You don’t need to feel like this anymore, it will go away. This is the best time of your life, don’t miss out and regret not enjoying it.

KB xx

 

About to start our journey as parents

About to start our journey as parents

 

The following are some of the sites that I have found helpful.

http://www.beyondblue.org.au

http://www.panda.org.au

http://www.naturalchild.org/robin_grille/post_natal_depression.html

 

40 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, Kylie you must have really struggled over that time, I can only imagine what you went through. I’m expecting my first child (due date, today!!) and am hoping for the best, but also trying to be as realistic as possible about the experience ahead. I’ve also had depression and while not medicated at the moment, I just hope I can recognise the signs should it strike again. I’ve told my husband he must monitor me closely as I may not be able to see it. Thank you for putting together this site, it couldn’t come at a more appropriate time for me! Thanks for sharing your experience and I look forward to checking back in, post baby!

  2. Wow Kylie- amazing. I had tears in my eyes reading this. The Kylie I know always seemed like the most together person on the planet. I am so proud to call you my friend…. what an amazing blog.

  3. Wow. As a 26yr old trying to conceive at the moment, this has scared the hell out of me! But in a good way. I love and admire your honesty and it is actually quite refreshing to read an honest account of labour etc. Congratulations. Great read x

  4. What an amazingly honest and brave post. Thank you so much for being yet another strong mum prepared to share her PTSD and postnatal depression experience. It’s so very important and the one thing I’m sure you’ll find amazing is how many other mums, both first-time and experienced, you will touch with your honesty. Our experiences are actually very similar, though I still find myself hesitant to write about the trauma of my first delivery, Am sure it will come with time when I’m ready. Anyway, take care and thank you again. I wish you all the very best with this wonderful journey and look forward to reading more soon. Take care.

  5. Excellent Kylie! So much of it I completely relate to! Before my first I thought motherhood, breast feeding would come naturally. How wrong was I!!! It was hard. So good to hear there are others out there xx

  6. Very brave of you Kylie! I think it takes a great Mum and human to admit that something is wrong. Stories like this help new Mum’s understand they are not alone, and it happens to ‘normal’ ‘happy’ people too. Well done to bringing awareness to a very common yet never spoken of issue. x

  7. Thank you for sharing something so personal – a close friend of mine experienced a similar traumatic birth and was not treated for post natal depression / PTSS until about 12 months after birth, her husband & mother were oblivious to how she was feeling – to me it was obvious but I didn’t have the courage to say something. Won’t make that mistake again!

  8. Wow Kylie. It’s so hard to find the words to describe that robotic state some of us go into after child birth, but you nailed it.
    I dont think i had PND, but i can relate to so much of this story. What a great read. Can’t wait to read more of your stuff.

  9. A fantastic article about the ‘unspoken’. Such courage to talk about these truths so I applaud you. I too have had a similar journey and found comfort in sharing this through writing. I hope through your voice you are able to bring peace to yourself but share that peace with others. From one mum to another I am thrilled to have read your words. You can read my journey on my blog thesedays.me. Thanks to Bec Smith for sharing this with me! Big Love Lindsay

  10. Thank you for sharing your story Kylie. I was shocked at how similar it is to my own story. You are inspirational.

  11. Thank you for sharing Kylie! I too suffered and strangely enough was jealous of you when I heard Jonathan talk about you and Olivia on the radio. You never know what is happening for other people, most people don’t know I spent 4 weeks in a mother and baby unit getting treated. You sharing this story will help other people realise they are not alone. Thank you!

  12. My goodness, you took me back to a dark dark time Kylie and one that is never that far away to be honest.
    Always lurking. No one picked it in me, even my doctor who I have seen for years was reluctant ‘your such a strong woman’. I have had the script in the cupboard for a year, using other methods and techniques to keep the beast at bay.
    Thank-you for your honesty – it is actually nice to know other people have been through similar experiences – you know they have but not many are willing to discuss with such raw honesty.

  13. It’s like you have written my story…the only difference being my first child was stillborn. This compounded things by me thinking I didn’t have the right to complain as I waited so long to bring a baby home. The pressure about feeding needs to stop as well as everyone having a different best way. I ate to deal with mine. Now my girl is 3 I’m 35 kg heavier anxious ha’ve finally admitted to my doc what’s happened. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.x

  14. Thank you for this post, it’s absolutely refreshing to hear someone speak openly and honestly about life and what it throws at us. I am not a mum yet but depression is in my family and I always wonder what my mothering experience will be like. Appreciate your words. xx

  15. Thank you so much for posting this!! My little girl Isabella Rose is 4 months old I love her so much but I never felt that connection to her everyone talks about. I’m 21 and for some reason I’m still trying to understand all my “friends” vanished as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I feel so alone every day I doe d most my days crying my poor partner has to deal me snapping and yelling at him in manic rage over trival things everyday. My doctor has just put me on anti depressants again I have been on and off these for 7 years now I’m starting to get better but I just feel like these is no use trying to get better in the past once I have something else ha happen to turn my world upside down again. I feel like I’m the worst mother I not being te best mother I can be for Bella I feel selfish because I had a problem free pregnancy aart for me being depressed the last 6 months of it and a really easy birth but still I feel I failed both. I felt a sense of relief reading this seeing that I’m not the only out there feeling this way my whole mothers group are so happy and stress free with their babies. Behind the tears that constantly flow these days for no reason I actually found a smile reading something I can relate to xxx thank you so so much

  16. Dear Kylie,
    I read your blog with tears streaming down my face. You are a true inspiration and thank you so much for sharing such a painful time in your life. I had pre and post natal depression and was a regular at my psychologist during my pregnancy. My PND wasn’t caused by the little one that was growing inside me, but was due to my cheating, abusive ex partner. He had completely isolated me from my family (who are located up near Emerald) and controlled every aspect of my life, and I mean every aspect. Things I loved doing, I was no longer allowed to do. I had no financial freedom or social life. My days would involve getting up at 5am, leaving home by 6am and driving into the city (as we lived on Bribie Island). Some days that would take two hours depending on traffic. I’d drop my little one off at kindy at City Hall and go to work. I usually finished work around 5pm, so by the time I managed to get home, it would be 7pm and would have to start dinner, bath bubba and get him into bed. These were frustrating times, especially when the ex was at home doing nothing to help. We also had a litter of puppies to look after too as my show dog had her puppies two weeks after I came home with Benjamin. I managed to live like this for two years. We tried counselling and my gyno actually wanted to put me into Belmont Private Hospital for two weeks just so I could have some time away from this ultra-controlling man. It obviously cost too much money, so I wasn’t able to do that 🙁 One day I choose to move out as I just couldn’t live like a prisoner any longer. About two weeks later, the new girlfriend moved into what once was our family home. It’s been four years now and I would like to say things get easier, but they haven’t for me. I’ve had to endure threats of him disappearing with Benjamin, to custody issues and I am unable to relocate to Emerald to be near my family for support. I have to work full-time as my ex contributes towards nothing for Benjamin. To top it off, Benjamin has been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD, so there are many medical appointments and resources that he needs, but we receive no funding for. As I work full-time, there isn’t time to forge friendships or a support network. So here I am, back to where I was four years ago, feeling completely isolated and alone in Brisbane. Every spare cent I have goes on my son’s medical appointments, and once the bills are taken out each fortnight, there’s not a lot left in the kitty. I can’t even remember the last time I had a haircut or even an eye wax as they are things which rate very low in our situation. In doing that, I have not given myself a good chance in finding someone else, possibly even my soul mate, to start moving on and being happy again. I know there is no chance for me to move closer to my family as my ex won’t allow me to relocate, even though I have no idea where in Qld he resides as he is now a police officer and is sent anywhere for work. I know I need to look after myself in order for me to be a good mum for Benjamin. I have tried and it’s so hard when you have no-one you can rely on even for time-out. I will probably never meet you in real life to thank you in person, so just wanted to thank you for sharing your story as I now don’t feel so alone with these feelings I have and have started to feel normal and not someone who should be ashamed. Thank you so very much Kylie – you are my inspiration x

    • Cherie..it sounds like you’ve been through a lot. I live in Brisbane..maybe we could meet for a chat and cuppa? Nicki

  17. We live in a world where ugly things…like depression run rampant and have done for years and years but still they aren’t understood, accepted nor spoken of. Your honesty in this blog is refreshing as from the outside you did hide it well, as everyone with depression does so very well…..because they are conditioned to do so. Your blog can only do good things in this world. You are a kind hearted soul. Happy day 🙂

  18. Hi Kylie – I was in the facility mentioned above. 2 years later I still struggle at times. PND is one of the biggest challenges – thanks for sharing. I have 2 wonderful girls and PND twice – no more for me as the chances are even greater – something I couldn’t cope with for a 3 rd time

  19. I’ve never read a pregnancy or birth story that so accurately reflected my own. Except when people ask me what the best part of pregnancy/having a baby was I say “labour” because I was on 3 different kind of drugs and the epidural was a dream. Basically I was in the same situation. Everything that could go wrong went wrong from non-stop morning sickness, depression and anxiety to the point where I would think “do I have an abortion or do I kill myself?” and a non-bonding experience which, although I didn’t feel that gush of amazing love you’re supposed to feel, I still felt protective of her and a strong duty of care. Except I overcompensated and put ALL her needs first and mine last. Also having a partner very much involved in playing sport I felt the need to support him also when it was actually me who needed the support. It wasn’t until one of his cousins who was a doctor made an offhand flippant “how’s the post natal depression going?” comment that it was even acknowledged but i’m so grateful that he did.

    I’ve never admitted this to anyone, but at 3 months post partum I found myself pregnant again and with great thought and deliberation decided, for my own well being and that of my unborn child and my little family, I had to abort. It was the hardest, most harrowing decision I’ve ever had to make and also a totally traumatic experience for me.

    I realise that although I have faced hardships I am actually quite lucky. Isn’t there some famous quote from a movie along the lines of “God only lets you go through as much hardship as you can handle” or something? I truly believe that. Others have faced more adversity than myself, but I know I reached my absolute limit, mu rock bottom, and survived.

    I’m so grateful you wrote this post. Even if it wasn’t about PND I feel that it’s important for women to realise there is no one way to feel when it comes to pregnancy/birth/motherhood, that our experiences are all different and that you’re not a failure if you don’t follow the well trotted out blissed out mother archetype.

    Also? It’s amazing how invaluable a supportive partner, family and psychiatrist can make all the difference.

    Anyway. Bless you and your gorgeous little family. I wouldn’t have ever known about you or your blog if it wasn’t for your husband’s endearing and courageous personality. Even though I’m a chick he’s kind of one of my male heroes when it comes to strength, courage and good heartedness on the field and in the public eye. My partner and I always look forward to hearing his little references to you whenever he’s in the media. He cracks us both up.

    xx

  20. Thank you for being honest. I read this feeling like you had been by my side throughout my first pregnancy and the birth of my daughter – although relieved to know I wasn’t alone in feeling like this after her birth I also feel sorry that you had to experience it as well. I know exactly what you went through and funnily enough after reading your blog I now feel like there is at least one other out there who would understand. I’m about to have my second child and I am scared to think this could all happen again but I am hoping with the skills I acquired along the way to cope with the anxiety I will be better equipped like you are. Thank you again for not being ashamed to tell the truth x

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. At various stages of my Ilfe I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety, but have usually masked it to the outside world, so I don’t come across as a nutcase. Health anxiety is one of my biggies and Dr Google and I really need to sever our relationship!
    I am currently trying to conceive and PND is a secret fear for me with my history. Your story has reminded me to keep on top of my depression and anxiety when it rears it’s ugly head and to seek help should the warning signs appear… also it that doesn’t make me any less of a person,.

  22. Hi
    Just as an aside, there is a condition that can cause fluctuating symptoms of dizziness, frequently effects young women, often has an acute onset following a viral infection, child birth or other stressor and is notoriously hard to diagnose: Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.
    It may not fit but its worth checking out as a simple tilt table test can diagnose the condition. An increase in postural heart rate is diagnostic. Decreases in postural blood pressure do not occur in POTS.

  23. Have just read your story in The Adelaide Advertiser & now on the blog …. oh how my heart goes out to you … I never felt the overwhelming rush of love with either of my 2 ( now 26 & 24) but I was different I never expected it to be wonderful I never actually liked babies very much ( still don’t if I am perfectly honest) I think no-one tells young women the truth anymore all the books are about how it will be & everyone is different . My eldest daughter was diagnosed with PND 10 months after Seth’s birth ( traumatic pregnancy unable to feed, all the signs ) she too thought she was going mad she couldn’t sleep thought bad things were going to happen to him hers is associated with OCD ( which she was diagnosed with at the same time) there is a history of OCD depression & anxiety with my husband & her sister ( she was never asked about any family history) so I was not very surprised . Medication worked well for her & she is now off the meds but at least now if she is having a bad day she knows why & I think that is half the trouble . Thanks for speaking out & hopefully more young mums will seek help . Having a mental illness is the same as a physical one & we need to stop treating it differently . Good luck to you & your beautiful family

  24. Hi Kylie
    Thanks so much for your brave and honest account of your pregnancy, labour and illness. I read this story absolutely dumbfounded. Your story sounds remarkably familiar to my own labour and illness . I too was struck down with debilitating dizziness 3 months after having my 3rd baby. I have had all the tests you mentioned and seen countless specialists, doctors and alternative treatment providers. My neuro is convinced I have vestibular problems relating to migraine ( but now i wonder do i have PND) I am on the computer constantly searching for answers to cure the dizzies which are with me 24/7. My neuro suggested taking zoloft to help with anxiety and also take the edge of my dizzies. Did you have any difficulties taking anti depressants…. I know the side effects can be pretty horrendous! I am so glad you are on the mend. I know first hand how terrible it is to suffer from dizziness… It is totally consuming and difficult for others to understand what a struggle it is to get through the day (especially when you look totally normal). Thanks again Kylie .
    Kylie

    • All anti depressants are different and you have to find the right one for you. They take a week to get into your system but they do help a great deal. The dizzyness is never nice. I always suffer from my left ear, and if the anxiety starts again I can feel it aching. I take antidepressants and being monitored by my doctor and I find it helps a lot.

  25. Hi Kylie,
    I read the article in today’s Herald Sun and immediately I felt a sense of relief come over me, I felt like I was reading about myself – well some parts of it anyway!

    I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter and an 8 month old daughter, like you the first birth was traumatic with epidural, vacuum, severe tears, awful breast feeing experience and to top it off a baby who refused to sleep. We went through hell and back for 2 1/2 years with her sleeping yet somehow I managed to hold it together – there were loads of tears and moments of despair but somehow I got through it. Sadly it’s after baby number two that I have fallen apart, she is also a very bad sleeper but the birth was great! She has some health issues which are being managed and she requires surgery but I think I have slowly come to terms with that.

    The last few months I have felt totally disconnected to myself and my life, half the time I feel like I am not even present and when I look in the mirror I don’t even recognise the person I see, it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I have been seeing a psychologist and I am trying desperately to find myself but my sleep deprivation is absolutely dreadful, I am ill all the time, I have high blood pressure from the anxiety and uncontrollable heart flutters and palpitaions. Like you Kylie I have had MRI etc because I have convinced myself I have MS. and a good many other diseases and disorders. I feel so lost and frustrated, I am an incredibly ambitious and accomplished person with a wonderful supportive hubby and two beautiful children yet I can’t kick this ridiculous illness. I have a packet of Zoloft in my cupboard and a huge part of me wants to take them but another part of me is frightened of taking them. I don want to feel worse or weird etc and I don’t want side effects ec but I am starting to feel I have no choice.
    I just want to wake up and be me again, PND and mental illness in general is incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t gone through it and crippling and demoralising to anyone stuck in the hell of it all.
    Thanks so much for speaking out and raising awareness, if anything it makes people like me who’ are going through this feel a little more normal.
    Lisa
    Xx

  26. Hi Kylie,
    I saw ur article in the Herald Sun.
    I have not had a child but have the vertigo dizziness u r describing and like u have had every test available more than once with nothing showing up. I have had it for 10 years now since I was 26 years old. The neurologist prescribed antidepressants which help but have never cured me. I have just gog off the medication because j am wanting a child. He thinks my vertigo was stress related but im not sure! I have found on the web a condition called migraine associated vertigo – the antidepressants also help with migraines so it makes sense that it would help with migraine associated vertigo. Worth looking into if u feel any confusion or head pain . Some people even get migraines that are silent so they can’t be felt but u feel their migraine symptoms – vertigo being one of them. I thought I’d share this with u even if it does not sound like u just in case it helps. I don’t know anyone else who has this condition. Feel free to write to me if it also sounds like u. Happy to share what I’ve done to help or at least understand how debilitating the vertigo/dizziness can be at times!

  27. Reading your story bought back memories of when I had my daughter 11 yrs ago now. She was my second baby and I had been so looking forward to having her and my labour was only an hr, much better than when I had my son which was 12 hrs and forceps. I remember feeding her a bottle on the 11th of September as I could not feed either of my babies breastmilk and I saw the twin towers on tv. A few days later I had a massive panic attack, felt like I couldnt breathe and thought I was having a heart attack. Never once did I feel like harming my daughter but I tried to sleep all the time and my daughter was a 40 minute napper all day and night. I got to the stage where I couldnt even drive the car down the road and I would cry all the time and lie awake all night even though I was exhausted. I went to my GP after that and he put me on antidepressants/anxiety tablets. I too suffer from anxiety now and have to keep up with the medication and I always have trouble with my left ear, and when I have bad anxiety I get teary and dizzy too. It is never a nice feeling and I used to feel trapped by it and still do if I get overtired. I have a history of it in my family so it is a lifetime commitment now to keeping my mental health healthy. I think your posts are wonderful because it lets people know they are not alone, and that yes depression and anxiety do not care who they affect, it can be anyone at any time in their life. I am happy that you are now a happy mother and wife and that you are enjoying life again. Thank you so much for sharing.

  28. Hello Kylie,
    I have had bad anxiety and depression and have faught it all year. I have three kids, am a single mum and have had to leave my job. Reading your blog inspired me. I meditate, see a psychologist and take natural supplements. I have always been afraid of taking the prescribed medication from my doctor for a reason I do not even know myself and cannot explain. The dizziness I feel has been overwhelming. I related so much to your story and believed it landed in my hands at the perfect moment… a true gift. This morning I took my first tablet. They have been sitting in my draw for months. Hopefully they will help. My doctor, psychologist and friends have not been able to persuade me, but your article did as our symptoms were identical. Thankyou from the bottom of my heart.
    Love Katrina xox

  29. Congrats on what you are doing this will be such a support to mums
    Taking away the stigma and fear
    Cudos to you and your family

  30. I just want to share my story with you in the hope that like Kylie you gain strength from it and know that it can happen to anyone. i’m a young mum of 35, people always describe me as bubbly happy confident and that’s what I always thought I was. i have3 kids 2 boys aged 7 & 4 and a beautiful wee girl aged 17 mths. I had a very quick labour and was delighted with my wee girl as I knew I wouldn’t be having anymore kids. I only stayed for a few hours in the hospital and left with my full face of make up on and over the moon. Things were great I was so busy with the three kids and as far as I was concerned iwas on top of everything. Then when my baby girl was 9 months old I started to feel a little strange like light headed and dizzy this went on for a few days until I was driving my baby girl in the car to the shops and lost control thinking that I was going to have a heart attack or some sort of fit. I managed to pull the car over and my husband came and collected us, I had had my first panick attack. After that day for weeks and weeks I was filled with this irrational anxiety, whether it was watching tv with the family or taking the kids to the park I couldn’t get rid of it. I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with me , i was losing weight quite rapidly so iwent to the gp who did tests and discovered I’d an over active thyroid. I could have kissed her finally someone had given me a reason for my symptoms unfortunately it wasn’t my thyroid that was the problem, the problem was pnd. I soon stopped sleeping at all I lay awake at night full of terror and was phoning my mum at all hours of the night just to get comfort from her voice. Long story short I very reluctantly went on medication sleeping tablets and antidepressants and the doctor suggested hospital but it was Christmas week and I had to be there for my kids especially at that time. It has now been nine months since I had that first panick attack and thankfully I am doing good. I challenge myself to move on all the time. I was not able to drive the kids the 2 miles from my mums house to mine. i was always afraid that they would come to some harm in an accident or that I would harm them deliberately , it was horrendous as like most mothers I adore my children and couldn’t believe that my mind was doing this to me as Kylie said so many times I thought I was losing my mind and occasionally I still do get overwhelmed by what has happened and have to forget the past. I have just come home from a wonderful holiday with my husband & the kids I even enjoyed the flight something that I have always been so afraid of. I will not let my fears stop me from living my life to the max. I’m still on medication and maybe for some time but it is helping me to see that I am a strong mother and that I can achieve anything and if you ask me, getting over pnd is one of the most challenging things I think I will ever have to deal with. Thanks Kyle for your honesty xxxx

  31. Hi Kylie and all your readers
    Don’t forget the PANDA website and National Helpline as a place to seek more information. Keep talking about life with parenting stress and postnatal depression with counsellors who get it and who can help you receive the support you and your familiy needs. We would love to hear from you 1300 726 306, http://www.panda.org.au.
    Thanks Kylie, keep up the good work.

  32. Dear Kylie and readers,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Talking about how you are feeling is an important first step toward seeking help. There are a number of treatments available for postnatal depression and the condition resolves more quickly with treatment. The Parent Infant Research Institute at Austin Health is currently trialling a new online treatment program for postnatal depression for women with babies under 12-months. For more information, please see our Facebook page: http://www.piri.org.au/mmbfb.php or alternatively, please call or email Dr Jessica Ross on (03) 9496 4496 or [email protected]

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your story Kylie!

    I stumbled across your blog and found this post – it was such a relief to hear that someone like yourself also had such a difficult experience. I felt very alone after the birth of my daughter until I was diagnosed with PND, following a very similar experience to yours.

    Thank you also for being brave enough to help normalise this issue – seeing someone of your status sharing their story will do wonderful things for the cause!! x

  34. Thank you so much for writing this. I have just become a mother to a gorgeous, healthy baby boy, 4 weeks ago. This blog has resonated with me so much. I am struggling with guilt from my feelings. I keep saying to friends and family “why don’t people say its hard?” so thank you for that. I just wish I’d seen this blog before.
    Before my 48 hour horrible labour, before giving up breast feeding, having mastitis and being dizzy all day!
    Thank you again Kylie. This has made me think twice about seeing my psychologist again (who I was seeing for anxiety Pre baby)
    I will be sharing this with any pregnant woman because it needs to be out there.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  35. Wow reading this I have tears running down my face. Apart from a few things your story is almost exactly like mine.. I also didn’t bond with my baby whilst pregnant, I had a traumatic birth experience, I also had a good sleeper but always felt tired. I also get an ear ache all the time! A year after my son has been born and I am now finally getting the courage to admit something isn’t quite right. Thank you so so much for sharing your story. I don’t feel so alone now.

  36. I have often said that giving birth is traumatic, both for mum and dad. It has different levelsvfor everyone, but it is scary, painful, out of your control and life changing. My first birth wad long and almost text book, the second induced and super fast. But there are still moments that haunt me. I probably had anxiety before I had kids, but I didn’t realise. I felt I was going to be seen as a bad mum. I am an awesome mum, I kniw that now – just meet my wonderful kids.

  37. thank you for a wonderful post. Being a mother is such an important thing to do. As a society we tend to portray it is a fun and happy when in reality it is often very difficult and unpleasant. Birth can be traumatic and caring for babies very tiring, boring and unrewarding. However most mothers still care well for their children, no matter how difficult it is, even when suffering depression. I find that fascinating. Nature ensures children survive no matter what. It’s so brave and valuable telling your story, which so many of us relate to. I

  38. I am reading Jonothan’s book and read about your PND, and I’m so glad he mentioned your blog. I don’t know if I had PND or not, but I struggled with being a mum. My husband had told me when we met that he had a low sperm count, and the docter told him he would not be able to have children, which was fine by me. One day I decided to stop taking the pill, as I thought why take it if we can’t have children, so I went of it, and guess what! I fell pregnant! I can’t say either of us was elated by the news, we enjoyed our freedom, and my husband didn’t beleive it was his, which didn’t help. So I had the baby, but again, there was no elation, I just wanted to sleep, when they handed him to me I pushed him away, my husband took the baby and bathed him, which turned out to be a good thing for him. After that, I struggled everyday, he was 10lbs when he was born, which made it very hard for me to hold him while breast feeding, and like you I did not enjoy it, I also had a tear in my nipple when he didn’t latch on properly. I hated the time in hospital, and when I came home thing’s did not improve, I too waited for those elusive feelings of happiness and fulfillment to come, but they never did, and I felt guilty that I wasn’t enjoying motherhood. I resented it, and I resented my baby for the big upheaval he brought, I couldn’t just put him back in the cupboard like a doll when you’d finished playing with him, I was stuck with him 24/7. So after one bad day I just got to a point where I said to myself, ‘Janine, you’v got two choices, you can either be a really bad mother, or you can try and be the best mother you can possibly be.’ I couldn’t imagine my self neglecting my child, so I had to go for the other option. That was 25 year’s ago, I can’t take the ‘mother of the year’ award, but I must have done ok, because my son and i now have a great bond, and he often say’s I’m a great mum. We only had the one child, as I had an etopic pregnancy like you, but my egg burst, and I lost a lot of blood, and apparantly I nearly died, and it scared me and my husband immensely, so we decided not to have anymore children, I guess it was the coward’s way out looking back, and I do regret that decission now, but I don’t know if I could have coped with two children or loved the second child as much, as I ended up loving my son. So, that’s my story, I don’t know whether I had PND or wether I just didn’t want to be a mother, but what I can say is, I am so glad I had him, he has taught me a lot about myself, life without children is so selfish, motherhood humbled me, and showed me life isn’t about me, it’s all about what you can do for other’s.

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