For women suffering with postnatal depression, the physical symptoms can be exhausting.
Justyna is one of these women. She loves her children unconditionally.
But she is overwhelmed with inexplicable despair and sadness.
Your gift today will fund research to explore the impacts of childbirth on the mental health of new mothers.
Your gift will give hope to new mums. Will you please donate today?
Becoming a parent for the first time is exciting. That feeling of unconditional love and always having your child in your thoughts
But there can also be a feeling of anxiousness. Will everything be ok? How will I cope?
Parenting can be unrelenting. It’s tiring. A struggle of conflicting emotions.
And for women suffering with postnatal depression, the physical symptoms can be exhausting.
Justyna loves her children dearly. But she is overwhelmed with inexplicable despair and sadness.
“On my worst days, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t even pick up and comfort my baby,” explains Justyna. “It was like living in a bubble.”
Justyna was diagnosed with anxiety and postnatal depression when her first baby was only six weeks old. She desperately hoped it would never happen again.
“There were early signs that something wasn’t quite right, but I pushed them to one side. I just thought I was tired,” says Justyna.
“I would shake all over. My voice would tremble. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t even string a conversation together. I had dark, irrational thoughts.
“It wasn’t until I faced the worst pain in my life that I realised something was very wrong.”
Justyna woke in the middle of the night with searing pain in her chest.
“I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe. I had no idea what was happening to me.
I thought I was having a heart attack. My husband called an ambulance and I was taken to hospital.
“After a thorough check, I was devastated to be told it was a panic attack.
“Within weeks, it happened again. The physical pain was unbelievable. All I wanted was to be home with my baby, but there I was in hospital.
“After the second attack, I was diagnosed with anxiety and postnatal depression.”
We know you care deeply about people with mental illness. Thank you for your compassion – it means so much.
Can you please help?
Your generous gift today will support a three-year scholarship exploring the impacts of childbirth on the mental health of women.
Your gift will give hope to new mums.
You’ll support women like Justyna, and other mums like her.
The research will look at women’s mental health, such as anxiety and depression, before and after childbirth.
But also, the impact on their changing role. For example, changes in their relationships and family, career, and their overall identity.
Your gift will give hope to new mums.
Your kind gift is critical. It will enable vital research into:
- How childbirth impacts the mental health of women;
- The changing identities and roles for women in society, in particular career, relationships and family; and
- Identifying strategies for supporting new mums – and their families – who struggle with mental illness.
Justyna’s mental illness has robbed her of days.
Days she barely remembers. Days when she says despite feeding and nappy changes, cuddles and play, she ‘wasn’t really there’.
Days in bed, when she is so physically and mentally exhausted, her family and friends must step in and take over.
Days when she cannot even speak to anyone.
“I feel so guilty and ashamed. It’s not supposed to be this way. Some days it’s unbearable.”
Can you imagine the daily battle Justyna faces? Your gift will help us explore how the loss and gain of different identities impacts on the mental health of women.
Justyna says she felt the ‘stigma’ around mental illness. But when she opened up, she found so many others who had experienced the same.
“I was amazed how many people came forward to say they’d had similar feelings. It is so heartbreaking that people feel they have to hide behind closed doors.”
Hundreds of new mums across Australia are hiding their fears and anguish.
They do this while battling anxiety and postnatal depression.
In fact, research has found that 1 in 5 new mums experience postnatal depression at a time when they expect joy and an ‘instant bond’ with their baby.
You can help find out why this devastating illness affects so many women.
It could be your donation that makes the difference to a new mum struggling with postnatal depression.
Your generous gift will:
- Work to stop the stigma,
- Help improve education about postnatal depression and;
- Identify strategies for supporting women, and their families, post childbirth.
Research will empower more women to feel safe enough to reach out for help.
Justyna lives every day in a constant, emotional battle between overwhelming love and complete despair.
Justyna and Nathan wanted a second child. But after the experience with her son, Justyna was afraid. It took many years to gain the courage to have another baby.
“I tried to be brave. But when I knew for sure I was expecting again, the thought of what was going to happen to me was horrendous.
“At work, I had regular panic attacks. The anxiety affected my days so much I could barely function. Yet, I wanted this baby very much.”
This devastating mental illness means Justyna seesaws between feelings of emptiness and being full of love.
“I feel unconditional love for both my children. But I feel broken.”
Thankfully, Justyna has found ways to cope.
She has a support network of loving family and friends to help her.
Walking and gardening also help her manage the anxiety and postnatal depression.
“When I am physically able, I walk with the pram. I walk to cope and distract myself from these feelings of darkness,” explains Justyna.
“I concentrate on my breathing and study the roof of each house as we pass. It’s become almost like meditation.
“Step, step, breathe. Step, step, breathe.
“Gardening – getting my hands in the earth – has also been incredibly healing for me. Digging, planting, being outside. Enjoying the sight of fresh, growing vegetables and herbs.
“I could have a bad day but getting into the garden to dig and dig and dig…it just drowns everything out for me. I can do that without guilt. I can be practicing mindfulness while still interacting with my children, which is a win-win.”
These simple joys – and the precious little smiles of her beautiful children – are helping Justyna get through the days.
But the crippling pain and sadness of postnatal depression goes on and on.
This is why we need your help. Can I please count on your generous gift? It will help us understand postnatal depression and end the suffering for mums like Justyna.
“I long for the day when the bubble is gone – this never-ending sadness and darkness. I just want to be happy every day and free to love my children. To feel ‘normal’, whatever that is.
“I desperately hope that in time, research will find answers. We need to know why mums like me have to endure this pain, at a time when we want to feel nothing but love for our babies.”
You can help mums like Justyna stop losing precious days to mental illness.
The research will:
- Find out how childbirth impacts the mental health of women,
- Focus on the changing identities and roles for women in society, in particular career, relationships and family and;
- Help identify strategies for supporting new mums – and their families – who struggle with mental illness.
Your donation this Christmas will change lives.
Please send your precious gift before 24 December. we would love to ring Justyna on Christmas day and share the wonderful news with her – that thanks to your donation, we’ll soon have better strategies for supporting new mums.