Bonding With Baby
Photo: Sara Heidinger Photography

Brought to you by Bupa

Before becoming a mother, I thought postnatal depression looked like Brooke Shields on Oprah taking about how she didn’t want to hold her baby. I remember watching that episode and thinking, ‘How sad.’ The teenage me had not a single, flippin’ clue.

What I know now is that Postnatal depression is tricky and it looks different for everybody.

Fast forward from teen me to my personal postnatal nightmare. I obsessed over my daughter to the point where I imagined sending her into therapy for my neediness. It wasn’t all negative, there were moments of love and joy, so I couldn’t possibly have postnatal depression, could I?

In the background constant negative thoughts told me I was failing at Motherhood. That my child deserved someone who knew what to do, someone who wasn’t so miserable, someone who could get out of pyjamas and go for walks in the sunshine. My daughter deserved a Mother who liked herself.

PND and Bonding
Photo: Sara Heidinger Photography

As for the bonding thing? Let’s just make it irrelevant. I have plenty of friends without PND who didn’t bond with their babies immediately. I mean, those majestic pink newbies are technically total strangers so it’s understandable.

My personality is the only reason I bonded with my daughter. One look at my past and you’ll see a string of impulse puppy purchases and deadbeat boyfriends; “I know he doesn’t have a job and treats me bad but I looooooooove him.” (Don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson.) Bonding schmonding, it was not an indication of my mental health.

Here is what I learned: If you suspect you need help, you do. Just like the old adage; if you suspect he’s cheating, he is. See, I have learned a thing or two!

The backbone of my recovery was support. It can come from a variety of different places, family, friends, babysitters, online communities and tools. Bupa has developed some new resources that can also help.

In partnership with industry leading researchers, specialists and Mums, mummatters can assess your emotional wellbeing and provide you with tips and resources. It even provides regular check-ins to see how you’re going. It’s personalised too- so you will get information relevant to your unique situation.

There’s something so valuable about getting a third party perspective on your emotional health. My husband wanted to suggest getting help but he had to walk on eggshells around my mood swings and didn’t want to make me feel any worse.

Another thing I love about this tool is that it’s confidential. I will never forget standing in my driveway (for privacy) and calling my MCH nurse. Our connection was crackly and she asked me to repeat myself until I practically shouted; “I think I’m depressed and I need help!” (In case any of my neighbours were wondering.)

Remember, PND can feel more like a rollercoaster of emotions than typical depression. There are high moments, which is why I think it’s so confusing to self-diagnose. You might not want to pick up your baby like Brooke Shields or you might never want to put her down. The only thing that matters is that you treat yourself with the same tender care that you would give your own child.

When you are ready for a hand Mama, it’s out there. You do not have to go through this alone.

If you or someone you love is suffering from Postnatal Depression or Anxiety please seek help.

This story is brought to you by Bupa.

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