Mike (father of Finn and Rex): After a few months, the cycle of having to get up in the middle of the night and just the adjusted lifestyle of having to look after a baby, really did sort of collaborate with sort of issues with my wife, and issues about being a dad and there was a time where I got quite sort of depressed I think.
Phil (father of 4): I think the first two weeks was just the constancy of the whole thing it was just, um yes you get sleep and you do rest, but you never really rest as well.
Tesha and Paul (parents of newborn Mila)
Tesha: Just having someone always there and something always needing you is pretty, pretty full on now.
Mike: You get to a stage where you’re going ‘I’m not actually enjoying this, I love my child, I love my wife but I’m not very happy at the moment.’
Narrator: Sleep deprivation can contribute to postnatal depression. If you are not enjoying your baby, do what you can to get help before it gets worse.
Rita Princi (psychologist, mother of 2): The signs to be aware of are if you find that you are over protective of the baby, just watching the baby all the time and you don’t want anyone else near the baby. Or you’re withdrawing from the baby; you don’t want to be around the baby or you want other people to look after the baby; you don’t think that you are able to do the job properly. You’re neglecting food so you’re not eating properly. You find you just can’t sleep, you can’t turn off those thoughts, it’s hard to concentrate, your energy levels are really, really low; you feel really irritable, agitated, frustrated really easily... So just being aware that those signs are saying that you may have become depressed.
Onscreen text: Signs of postnatal depression
- Overprotective with baby
- Withdrawing from baby
- Not eating
- Unable to sleep
- Can’t concentrate, lack of energy
- Irritable, easily frustrated
Lani (mother of Jali): Every time someone asked how I was doing I was in tears, and then they’d say what’s wrong and I didn’t have an answer for them it was just a continual crying for days and days.
Deborah: I made a number of visits to the doctor, to my GP, sort of saying to her, ‘my baby just won’t stop crying,’ you know, ‘is there something wrong?’ And my GP would check her out. And in hindsight I probably should have made, you know, the visit saying, ‘I can’t stop crying’ and got my GP to look at me.
Rita: For women it can be very hormonal as well ‘cos there are so many hormonal changes happening in the body. It can also happen for fathers as well. Even though they haven’t got the hormonal changes that are happening, their life has changed. This is the biggest change we will ever have in our life and, if we believe that the changes are more that we can cope with, we can become depressed.
Lani: I sort of um took baby steps like my mum and my best friend just got me to go and sit in the backyard and have lunch in the backyard so I was actually outside and in the fresh air, looking at trees and stuff like that, um and then just a visit to my GP.
Narrator: A bit of sunshine and a brisk walk once a day can get the endorphins flowing through your body to lift your spirits.
Rita: Sometimes a GP may refer to a psychologist or a counsellor, or if you know of someone you may want to go and talk to, it’s OK. It’s not that you can’t cope; it’s that you are actually noticing here are some signs and I’m doing something about it. Rather than saying ‘no I’m supposed to be able to do this’. Because no one is supposed to do everything all on their own and it is hard and I think being able to recognise for ourselves this is the hardest job we’ll ever do, therefore it’s OK to ask for help, it’s OK to get some assistance and I’m important enough to do that and that’s a great example to give to our children ‘cos we are saying each of us as individuals are important enough to get some assistance.