Bump in the road

ONE in five new mums will experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy or in the months after giving birth.

New dads are struggling too, with one in 10 reporting mental health issues.

Thankfully Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia provides support to parents throughout pregnancy and the first year of their child’s life.

The organisation has just launched a free toolkit for businesses to support employees during the perinatal period.

PANDA CEO Julie Borninkhof says that once someone has a child their productivity can plummet and they are more likely to leave their job.

“61 per cent of dads are struggling to leave the house each day…and 80 per cent of mums who are dealing with distress find it hard to leave the house”,  Ms Borninkhof says.

“We know that the symptoms include things like not being able to sleep while their baby is sleeping.

“People feel unable to eat and look after their bodies; they have a churning tummy and racing thoughts.”

“Parents can’t separate themselves from that little bundle of joy that they’ve brought home – there is no reprieve for some parents.”

Myaree resident Cressida says she experienced anxiety and depression during her first two pregnancies. Prior to having kids she never had any mental health issues.

She describes the antenatal depression as “a real lack of pleasure in anything that I was usually interested in; I was withdrawn from family and friends”, and the perinatal anxiety as “procrastinating, lacking in focus, worried about everything. Because I was aware of what had happened the first time round”.

“It is a miraculous time, but it often comes with a lot of anxiety and in many women’s cases some depression as well,” she says. If you are experiencing similar issues, PANDA has a national helpline 1300 726 306. For more info go to http://www.panda.org.au/

by ALEX MURFETT

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