Postnatal depression hits one in five mothers

Some women pay a high price for this surprisingly common affliction.

Some women pay a high price for this surprisingly common affliction.

IT is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, focusing on an illness that affects up to one in five mothers in New Zealand.

Founder of the Charitable Trust Mothers Helpers and registered nurse Kristina Paterson was one of those mothers.

“I knew I was at risk of developing postnatal depression — I had a lot of stress going on during my pregnancy and I had had clinical depression before.”

Despite sharing her concerns with her midwife, Kristina was never assessed for anxiety or depression.

Through conversations with her therapist, she now knows that her depression and anxiety symptoms started in pregnancy, yet she was not diagnosed until 18 months later. Kristina is not alone in her experience of delayed diagnosis.

Mothers Helpers recently released survey results of 100 Kiwi mothers who had experienced postnatal depression, showing 63 percent of mothers’ symptoms started during pregnancy yet only 19 percent were diagnosed at that time.

“Those first nine months of my son’s life were so hard. My mood was so low, I was crying every single day. My anxiety was so overwhelming, I would beg my husband to return home from work because I felt I couldn’t cope with this little baby on my own.

“In the end it was the lack of energy that pushed me to see the doctor — I just couldn’t bear it any more”.

Seeing the doctor was just the beginning of her journey of recovery. Medication was not a miracle cure.

“It took a while to start feeling better. I was never told what it would take to recover or where I could go for support. I was just given medication and left to figure it out on my own.”

For Kristina, the gaps she experienced had a high price.

“Perinatal depression (during pregnancy) and anxiety definitely played its part in the breakdown of my marriage. I was angry and irritable and I couldn’t get control of my emotions.

“It also robbed me of what should have been a joyful time with my son, and I’ll never get that time back.”

It was experiencing these gaps that led to Kristina to start Charitable Trust Mothers Helpers, who work with mothers at risk or suffering with perinatal depression.

“If I could prevent one mother from experiencing some of the effects I experienced, then it would be worth it.”

That was five years ago and since that time, Mothers Helpers has helped hundreds of mothers in their recovery from perinatal depression.

“I really wanted to provide them with the kind of support that would help them to recover as quickly as possible,” Kristina says.

This year, Mothers Helpers wants to focus Postnatal Depression Awareness week on identifying who is at risk of developing postnatal depression so they can get help as soon as possible.

For more information or help, or if you would like to get involved, contact Mothers Helpers at: www.mothershelpers.co.nz and https://www.facebook.com/NZmothershelpers

IT is Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, focusing on an illness that affects up to one in five mothers in New Zealand.

Founder of the Charitable Trust Mothers Helpers and registered nurse Kristina Paterson was one of those mothers.

“I knew I was at risk of developing postnatal depression — I had a lot of stress going on during my pregnancy and I had had clinical depression before.”

Despite sharing her concerns with her midwife, Kristina was never assessed for anxiety or depression.

Through conversations with her therapist, she now knows that her depression and anxiety symptoms started in pregnancy, yet she was not diagnosed until 18 months later. Kristina is not alone in her experience of delayed diagnosis.

Mothers Helpers recently released survey results of 100 Kiwi mothers who had experienced postnatal depression, showing 63 percent of mothers’ symptoms started during pregnancy yet only 19 percent were diagnosed at that time.

“Those first nine months of my son’s life were so hard. My mood was so low, I was crying every single day. My anxiety was so overwhelming, I would beg my husband to return home from work because I felt I couldn’t cope with this little baby on my own.

“In the end it was the lack of energy that pushed me to see the doctor — I just couldn’t bear it any more”.

Seeing the doctor was just the beginning of her journey of recovery. Medication was not a miracle cure.

“It took a while to start feeling better. I was never told what it would take to recover or where I could go for support. I was just given medication and left to figure it out on my own.”

For Kristina, the gaps she experienced had a high price.

“Perinatal depression (during pregnancy) and anxiety definitely played its part in the breakdown of my marriage. I was angry and irritable and I couldn’t get control of my emotions.

“It also robbed me of what should have been a joyful time with my son, and I’ll never get that time back.”

It was experiencing these gaps that led to Kristina to start Charitable Trust Mothers Helpers, who work with mothers at risk or suffering with perinatal depression.

“If I could prevent one mother from experiencing some of the effects I experienced, then it would be worth it.”

That was five years ago and since that time, Mothers Helpers has helped hundreds of mothers in their recovery from perinatal depression.

“I really wanted to provide them with the kind of support that would help them to recover as quickly as possible,” Kristina says.

This year, Mothers Helpers wants to focus Postnatal Depression Awareness week on identifying who is at risk of developing postnatal depression so they can get help as soon as possible.

For more information or help, or if you would like to get involved, contact Mothers Helpers at: www.mothershelpers.co.nz and https://www.facebook.com/NZmothershelpers

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