REAL LIFE

I was forgetting to eat

When Zelma welcomed her baby girl into the world, something felt wrong

Looking down at the test, I was so excited. My partner Brad, 24, and I were going to have a baby!

When our daughter Cadence was born, I felt on top of the world. But a few weeks later, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sleep deprived and felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But how could that be? I had read all the books!

Overwhelmed and ashamed, I spent most of my days crying. I was even forgetting to eat!

People would often ask, ‘How’s motherhood going? You must be loving it!’ But on the inside, I was crumbling. I then started to feel guilty that I wasn’t being a great mum to Cadence.

While Brad and my mum, Andrea were incredibly supportive, I worried that admitting something was wrong would mean people doubted my abilities as a mum. But when Cadence was two weeks old, I went to see a doctor.

Baby Cadence

It was then that I was diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND). ‘This is fairly common,’ I was told. It was such a relief to know I wasn’t the only one. I was given medication and joined a mother’s group.

With so much support behind me, I began my journey to recovery. That’s when I started a blog, The Postnatal Project, to help women who were also struggling. I didn’t want anyone to go through what I had.

Since then, I’ve had such a positive reaction from people who’ve told me I’ve given them strength to speak out.

Although I still have bad days and can find it hard to ask for help, I’m in a much better place now.

Cadence is now 13 months old and brings so much joy to my life. I’m planning to write an e-book to help support other women.

Together, we can end the stigma about postnatal depression.

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