Mother’s Day: Reality vs Expectations

Unfulfilled expectations of Mother’s Day can lead to disappointment. But when motherhood doesn’t live up to expectations, the impact can be devastating.

Before Julie Stobo became a parent she worked on PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline. Despite hearing every day about the difficulties experienced by new parents across Australia, she remained convinced that her own story, once she was a mother, would be different.

“It’s funny – the constant portrayal of motherhood in the media and advertising as all smiles, cuddles, and inhaling that sweet baby smell off the top of their head, it sinks in,” she says. “Even though I knew, intellectually, that it’s not always like that, all the way through pregnancy I was picturing motherhood as being the most amazing experience of my life.”

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World Mental Health Day 2017

Perceived stigma around postnatal depression still preventing women and men accessing treatment

Despite new research revealing that the Australian public believes there is little or no stigma attached to postnatal depression, the perception of ‘what people think’ can still prevent new mums and dads from seeking timely help.

For World Health Day on 7 April – which the World Health Organisation has used to focus on the mental anguish caused by depression in communities around the world – PANDA has released results from its recent research into community attitudes and understanding about postnatal depression.

PANDA’s research shows there has been an increase in understanding and compassion in the community with 80% of people believing postnatal depression is not a sign of weakness. In addition, 92% of people believe that postnatal depression does not stop a woman from being a good mother.

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ABC Radio National 'I've just had a baby, why do I feel so bad?'


Becoming a new parent can be both a time of great joy and great fragility. Not just the care of a tiny vulnerable being, but having to adapt both mentally and emotionally to a whole new family and relationship dynamic.

PANDA's CEO Terri Smith and Community Champion Rebecca, speaks with ABC RN Life Matters about the signs and symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression.

Rebecca shares her feelings and fears after having her first baby, and hit affected her life.

Full interview can be found on ABC RN's website >



Love can get complicated, even on Valentine’s Day


Over half of callers to PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline distressed by changes and challenges in their relationship with their partner.

All over Australia, couples are looking forward to celebrating their love for one another on Valentine’s Day. However, there’s also a more sombre side of love, romance and relationships.

“Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate romantic love,” says Terri Smith, CEO of PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia. “However it’s also a time to reflect that an illness like perinatal anxiety and depression can test the bonds of love, and can put real pressures on relationships.”

View full media release.

What happens if I don’t feel joy, peace and happiness during the holiday season?

Christmas and holiday periods come with a whole lot of expectation (a bit like early parenthood): family and friends, celebrating together, wishing the best for each other, sharing food, gifts, laughter and companionship. The reality is often nothing like this and the higher your expectations the more disappointment you might feel.

For those who are spending time with family, past hurts can return and old wounds open. For others, being immersed in apparent ‘joy’ can increase loneliness and isolation… with the pressure to ‘be happy’ contributing to anxiety.

If you do have commitments that you need to keep, it is worth asking the question: ”How can I best meet my obligations while also prioritising my own wellbeing?”. “How do I protect myself from unnecessary hurt?” and “What do we need as a family to limit stress and enjoy this time as we are? As a mum or dad you and your child’s wellbeing are directly linked. This could be the year you give yourself permission to do something different and create new memories and traditions that work for you.

If you would like to talk through some strategies for managing your mental health during this busy holiday period our Helpline will be open Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm, excluding public holidays.

Wishing you a peaceful festive season.

While PANDA has exercised due care in ensuring the accuracy of the material contained on this website, the information is made available on the basis that PANDA is not providing professional advice on a particular matter. This website is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.