MUM OF TWO SPEAKS OUT ON LIVING WITH POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
In the lead up to Perinatal Depression Awareness Week (November 15-21), mother of two Claire Bednall, was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression two-and-a-half years ago, is sharing her story, proving to other mums suffering that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel from the condition.
Like so many mums, Claire anticipated her pregnancy and early days with her baby to be filled with joy and euphoria. When she was faced with a lack of excitement, and a constant state of tiredness, after the birth of Noah in 2012, Claire felt she was battling motherhood alone.
“I had a particularly stressful delivery with Noah,” she said.
“I was rushed in for an emergency C-section when his heartbeat started dropping but as he had already started crowning, there was a rushed and forced forceps delivery instead, and then a few hours without seeing my son whilst I was in recovery.
“Since then, everyday felt like a struggle – it was an uphill battle just to reach the end of the day,” she said.
It took Claire about a year to feel herself again when she fell pregnant with her second child Rosie, and the perinatal depression took hold of her again.
Claire sought support from her doctor who prescribed anti-depression medication and engaged with a psychologist along with various support groups. However, Claire said it was the online resources offered at the Parental Stress Centre of Australia which made a lasting difference.
The blogs, live webinars, online courses, seminars and books gave parents access to both private and public tools to support stressed parents in the way they need, when they need it most.
Founder and Director Jackie Hall said the online centre offered an immediate resource for both mums and dads in an anonymous format, 24-hours a day, as well as interactive, face-to-face options.
The author and qualified counsellor said the solution is in empowerment.
“Many mums in particular feel ashamed of their condition. They feel pressured to be happy, glowing and on top of everything. The 24-hour access to information means those parents who don’t feel comfortable talking about their issues can seek support in the comfort of their own home.
“The Parental Stress Centre of Australia empowers mums and dads to learn how to retrain the brain to think and feel differently about the challenges of parenting and life, and how to focus on solutions. Most parents don’t know that re-training the brain is an option, or how to do it. We empower parents with the knowledge to take back the reins of their own mindset,” she said.
Claire said while she sought a number of support areas, it was the Be the Change course at the Parental Stress Centre that was the most effective resource for helping her turn her life around.
“I had some real ‘aha’ moments during the Be the Change course and the live webinars in particular,” she said.
“Learning how we view life through different lenses made me realise I can change how I perceive my situation to be. Stress comes from our perception of reality, not reality itself! When you know that, issues such as crying babies or temper tantrums aren’t so overwhelming.”
Over 1800 parents are diagnosed in Australia each week with antenatal or postnatal depression. Claire said there was a real pressure placed on mums to do it all, and have it all.
“Today’s mums feel have the expectation to raise a family, keep on top of household chores, do the night shift with the baby and maintain a career, all at a high standard.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parent, when perfection doesn’t even exist!” she added.
Claire said through her support channels, she has learnt that having more trust in her intuition and being more present with her children makes a good parent.
“I felt totally overwhelmed by the fact I was responsible for these two lives and I often felt like I was a useless mother! However, I have now retrained my brain to deal with stress differently. I still have my bad days where I don’t recognise my thoughts as quickly as other days, but these are becoming far less common than they once were.”
The Parental Stress Centre was founded in 2006 when Jackie Hall, mother of two, realised there was no easily accessible information to take her out of her negative thinking with her own account of postnatal depression and anxiety.
Jackie’s career took a turn to help empower other mums as she became a qualified counsellor, coach and author on stress and parenthood.
Parents suffering from perinatal depression are encouraged to speak to their doctor, and seek support from leading organisations and support services such as the Parental Stress Centre of Australia to complement traditional methods of treatment.
186,000 stressed out parents sought support from the Parental Stress Centre of Australia last year.