One mum’s story of life with postnatal depression and beyond
2020 - what a year it was. Lockdown in Melbourne with a newborn, toddler and no support. What mother wouldn't lose herself. I will be the first to tell you I did. Winnie, you were the calm before the storm; bringing sunshine and rainbows to every cloudy day. I had you a month before the big storm hit. Then came the uncertainty. When will you get to see my family overseas? Your grandma couldn’t come over and help me. Your reflux was so severe, and we couldn't see any doctors because we were not allowed to go anywhere. The days were so long that your sister longed to see friends and play outside; however, it wasn't allowed.
My anxiety got bigger and bigger until the sadness hit me. Am I good enough for you two? I can't be doing a great job when your sister is over there singing that she doesn't want to be on earth anymore, and here you are screaming and screaming because your belly is so upset. Gone are the days when you could go to a child health nurse or walk into a doctor's office. Zoom was the way of appointments now. Could they actually see what was happening? I had no energy some days to keep going, but those days you seemed to giggle or smile, and it kept me going. I was lost, so so lost, drowning in the big crashing waves.
Finally, my GP said something was not right. She asked me a set of questions, and the outcome of my scoring was so poor. She wrote an urgent referral to a psychologist. Thankfully they were still able to have sessions in person.
I walked into my first session under a cloud. She instantly set up toys for my older daughter, took little Winnie, and told me to sit down and drink water. It was the first time I felt so much weight off my shoulders. Someone was finally there to help and give me the support I desperately needed. Reassuring me that these uncertain times would end and that I would someday be reunited with my family. I ended up going in sometimes twice a week. It was a safe spot to let me sit and reconnect with myself again, which brought more peace at home. Instead of drowning in sorrow, I started looking at the bigger picture.
Winnie, I am thankful I saw every milestone of yours as we were stuck inside. I am also grateful that when the lockdown ended, I could start showing you the world. Playdates at the park, taking you to the zoo, or even taking you out for your first babyccino.
Please know, Mummas, you are not alone. Many others are trying to escape drowning in a big storm every day. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to be sad. But most of all, it is okay to give yourself time, alone time, to find yourself again.
Katie Cornelius is a mum of two and has worked for the LittleOak Company since xx