In June 2018, when I was approximately 26 weeks pregnant, my husband, Ben, became unwell with Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism which required major surgery and thus, a lot of stress for us all.
Ben struggled with PTSD and anxiety as a result of the surgery and illness. At this stage neither of us had ever faced nor known much about mental illness nor how to deal with it, so we tried to push through without getting help for some time.
As a result of this, when Oliver James Hancock was born a few months later on the 30th of September 2018, I took on an enormous responsibility and cared for both Ben and Ollie. Over time this clearly took its toll on me and I developed severe postnatal depression and anxiety which resulted in me being hospitalised, both at the Royal North Shore Hospital and at St. John of God Burwood Mum and Baby Ward, twice.
Through much heartache and turbulence, we went through a series of unpleasant experiences and I was unable to connect with Ollie nor had the energy to look after myself. I was assured it would get better but naturally felt this hard to believe when in the midst of such a horrible illness.
I am so very thankful and relieved to say that with Ollie having just turned one, we are all doing well. Through the ongoing support of Gidget Foundation Australia and the many other amazing resources available, I am now well on my way to a full recovery.
The silver lining is – it’s made me stronger; more resilient and united us as a family more than ever. I feel that being able to get through PNDA, I can get through anything with my family’s support. More than anything, we’d really like people to know, and especially new mums and dads to know that it’s ok not to be ok so please ask for help, no matter how insignificant or trivial you may think it is.