'Something in your head has flipped a switch' - post-natal depression awareness week

  • 06/11/2017

As many as one in five expecting or new mums suffer from depression in New Zealand, and the issue is being highlighted this week for Post-Natal Depression Week.

Parenting blogger and post-natal depression sufferer Maria Foy told the AM Show she realised something was wrong when her daughter was six months old and she found herself on the floor crying, thinking terrible thoughts, considering harming herself.

"I realised  I don't think is where I'm supposed to be as a parent, so I took the next step and reached out. I'd been experiencing it well before that, but it was at that point I decided actually I don't think this is right."

Ms Foy said even though she had always wanted to become a mum, it was the lifestyle change that impacted her.

"Suddenly I'd gone from spending 30 years doing one thing to beginning to do something completely different and it just completely threw me for six."

She said that while there is some overlap, post-natal depression is deeper than post baby blues.

"Post baby blues is more just feeling upset and sad, there can be a crossover, but post-natal depression comes along with a much deeper issue where you do start to have bad thoughts about yourself, you might think about harming your child, you might become unlike yourself with psychosis.

"It really is a chemical imbalance; something in your head has flipped a switch.

Ms Foy said the best thing you can do is talk about it.

"My GP was absolutely amazing; I then got help from Maternal Mental Health. There are amazing organisations online so if you don't feel comfortable speaking up, people like PADA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Aotearoa) who are there to help supports parents  mums and dads, not just mums."

"It's okay to feel overwhelmed, because no one knows what they're doing."