After my first child was born I was very unexpectedly struck down with Post Natal Depression. I know ‘struck down’ sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt. I went from a perfectly normal pregnancy where I was counting the minutes until I’d meet my little boy, to almost not being able to be in the same room as him when he cried.
I was so withdrawn and ashamed about how I was feeling that I did everything in my power to hide it. I actually did a very good job of pretending to the outside world that I was ‘fine’ and life with a new baby was ‘fabulous’ even though it was anything but.
The problem was that I was unable to hide it from my husband. Living in the same house together and sharing the same bed made it impossible. He watched me slowly fall apart and listened to me sob myself to sleep night after night. I was in such a massive state of denial, that in my mind I was hiding it all from him too.
I believed (at the time) that our baby didn’t love me he just loved his Dad. Why was it that Dad could settle him and I couldn’t? How come Dad went all doe eyed when he looked at him and I didn’t? How did Dad get to bond with him so quickly and I couldn’t? All these questions were running though my head every second of every day making me build up huge walls and barriers of resentment. I was horrible to him and it wasn’t his fault at all.
Our relationship, which was once rock solid before this little human was born, was falling apart too and I couldn’t even see it. The more he tried to help the further away I pushed him, until one day he decided to have a intervention and he called my mum. I was so angry with him for doing it because I saw it as the ultimate betrayal of trust. This was MY secret and not his to share.
Some time later and upon reflection I can now fully appreciate that by stepping in and doing something he not only saved me, but also saved us, and I will always be so grateful for that.
During the months I suffered from Post Natal Depression the focus was so much on me, the new mum, that very few people actually asked how my husband was doing. Although he was over the moon by with the arrival of our precious boy, he also had to silently watch me suffer from the sidelines and that could not have been easy for him.
Having a new baby affects everyone differently. Some people cope perfectly well and others struggle. It is not always just the mums that struggle; it can also be the Dads and relationships too.
This post was written for PND Awareness week. If you are reading this and think that you or your partner may be suffering from Post Natal Depression than please visit or call PANDA (http://www.panda.org.au/)on 1300 726306