November 20, 2012

Conversation starters



Sometimes when you have a blog you don’t understand what will resonate with some people. Its a bit of too and fro, a bit of testing the waters to see if the waves will wash over your feet.

Ive been reading a few books on my kindle this week, I’m using some downtime at Uni to lap up the books that have been electronically staring at me for a few weeks. One is about letting stories breath its written beautifully and I keep finding myself jotting down quotes to fill all the voids that I don’t understand

Stories animate human life, that is their work. Stories work with people, for people, as always stories work on people, affecting what people are able to see as real, as possible, and as worth doing or best avoided.

This week is Postnatal Depression week. I like statistics, I think they tell the story in black and white rather than in the spaces in between like I operate. 15% of women and 5% of men will be diagnosed with Post or antenatal depression each year, that’s one in seven mums and one in twenty dads. That’s a lot of people struggling with the concept that bringing a new babe in to the world is supposed to be full of joy and wonder. My sister had a little baby last week, her third, and as I sat on her lounge cuddling him tonight I was reminded of those times after my own babies were born feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders as I wondered how the hell I was going to raise this person full of so much promise. I don’t even remember those first few weeks, after the impending doom started to lift and I worked out how to surrender to the uncontrollable, I just got on with living.

But others don’t.

As soon as I posted updates about the week people started to reply – on Facebook, on twitter, via email with their own stories, their own shock that this had happened to them. Even thought Ive been a social worker for 1000 years I still worry that my responses will be too brief, too cheesy or not alert enough to pick up on what people are saying both outwardly and inwardly. So if, like me you find that a friend, a sister, a neighbour, a mum in the school playground, someone from mothers group, some random lady at the shops that looks like she could do with a kind smile and a cup of tea reach out to you with their story take note of this info provided by PANDA and reach out.

When people chose to tell their stories to us they are telling it to hear their own experience and for you to respond.

Signs of PND in mums and dads:

– sleep disturbances that aren’t related to bub

– Feeling overwhelmed and out of control

– negative and obsessive thoughts

– Loss of libido

– change of appetite.

PND is not just related to hormonal conditions they can be exacerbated by psychological and social factors like isolation, lack of social supports, financial burden BUT early intervention and the right treatment can help with recovery.

If you, or someone you know is struggling get them to get in touch with PANDA they have a National Perinatal Depression Helpline 1300 726 306 which provides counseling and support to those living with depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby.

Do you know what to do if someone asks for your help?

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Sadly, part of the condition is that people try to hide their depression and anxiety. They want to appear to the world that they are coping well. To admit that they are overwhelming is like the ultimate failure.

    • You know as I was typing out the post I was thinking back to all those conversations I had in my head when my kids were little, especially before appointments about how I would answer the question about whether or not I was coping. I always prefaced them with ‘its not like I have PND’ we are all frightened of telling the real story when things are tough.

  2. ^^ this is precisely what this week is for – to let people know that IT IS OK to talk about what is happening to you and that the oppressive black cloud hanging over you is NOT OK.

    On another note – What a beautiful quote! What book is it from?

    • So true Michelle and thanks do much for reading.

      The book is called ‘letting stories breathe’ by Arthur frank it looks at the way stories make life good and how they can endanger. If you are intrigued by the art of stories it’s worth downloading x


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