Angeline and I were new parents and quickly found ourselves struggling. It wasn’t until a conversation with my employer about being unable to come to some work shifts that he asked if my wife had PND. I wasn’t even aware that was a thing. Once we were in a place where we recognised that the anxiety and depression was there, I was able to reach out to Postnatal Depression Marlborough and seek an appointment with a lovely counselor, Tatiana. Angeline was initially reluctant to attend, but after the session we both felt relieved to know that our experience wasn’t unique to just us and that there was support available. Angeline joined a support group with other young mums and, fast forward four years, is today the chairperson of what is now the Maternal Mental Wellbeing Marlborough Trust.
The peace and joy in our home dramatically improved after we sought help, our two boys are now both school age and we have been married just over nine years.
We would like to see awareness of postnatal anxiety and depression increase in the community and among expecting couples. We would also like to see support groups actively engaging these young parents in the community.
“Our main advice is, you don’t have to battle alone. Seek help and find a supportive community that rises to the occasion to help out.”
Blue Stories Project
Mental Health Awareness Week is upon us and visual artist, Karolina Gorton, is brightening up the streets of Aotearoa with her vibrant pop-art-with-a-purpose. That purpose is to shine a light on perinatal depression, an illness that all too often goes undiagnosed and often carries with it a stigma that is unhelpful and unjustified.
This nationwide poster campaign (26 September – 8 October) is part of the wider Blue Stories Project. The stories from the posters, and more from around Aotearoa, can be experienced online at bluestoriesproject.com or in person at a number of exhibitions that are popping up around the country. Currently there is an opportunity to connect with 12 stories and portraits created in collaboration with Well Women Franklin at Pukekohe Library, in Auckland (until September 30). A second exhibition opens in Canterbury at South Library in collaboration with Perinatal Wellbeing Canterbury at 1pm on September 24. All are invited to attend to hear guest speakers, enjoy some refreshments and to connect with the exhibition.