My name is Kristal. I'm married with two beautiful children and two little dogs. I live in Adelaide, South Australia.
About four years ago I gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Chelsea via emergency inverted T-incision.
That was the most terrifying moment of my life, and the complications that came with it were even worse.
I was discharged from hospital way before I felt ready. I was crying morning till night but I was given no information about postnatal anxiety or depression and had no conversations with anyone about my mental health. All the medical practitioners were saying, "You just had a baby! You're just hormonal. This will pass." But it didn't, and twelve weeks later I was still crying AM to PM.
I was driving around in my car for hours on end. I wanted to have some sense of normality back into my life. I was also locking myself in my room, in my bathroom. I just needed to be on my own and I couldn’t cope. I had these fears in my head that if people ever found out that I wasn't coping then my baby would be taken away from me.
Along with the crying and everything else that that was happening I also needed mother baby therapy I was absolutely terrified of my daughter. I couldn't pick her up. I couldn't look at her. It was just the most horrible time.
Before the birth people were telling me, "Oh when your baby is born it will come to you naturally". But it totally doesn't. My daughter and I did not have that early attachment and we had to work on it for eighteen months. I wish I knew that if you don't have that instant connection with your baby it doesn't mean you're a bad mum.
Fast forward four years and we are so close. I've had to put a lot of work in to being a mum and it hasn’t come naturally to me. So I would say to any new mum if you're not feeling a connection with your baby, especially in the first few weeks, don't put pressure on yourself because not everybody has that love at first sight with their baby.
I had people saying to me, "You shower, you put on makeup, you wear nice clothes. You couldn’t possibly be depressed. You couldn’t possibly be having suicidal thoughts.” But I kept it hidden – I did that for four years.
Fast forward across those four years; I now live with bipolar and borderline personality disorder, anxiety complex trauma and depression. People still look at me and say, "But you present yourself so nicely all the time". What they don't understand is that by wearing makeup, by doing my hair I regain some control over my life when my moods are going up and down.
I wish I knew that I could for myself even if that meant disagreeing with people, including health professionals, who thought I wasn’t showing enough distress to be really sick. If you need help, you put your foot down. You are worthy of help. You are worthy of receiving treatment. Whether this is the first time that you've had an illness like perinatal anxiety or depression, or whether you've had other mental health issues like I have.
I want you to know that you're not alone, there are women across Australia, across the world who know what it feels like. Even though you might be sitting at home feeling really isolated I want you to know that there is help available – help from organisations just like PANDA, which is a fantastic organisation. I honestly don't know where I would be without them and their resources.
Everybody on this earth goes through hard times and for some of us that's just after we've had a baby. Life won't be like this forever. If you’re struggling and you get help, you can start feeling better quickly.
Press the quick exit button to quickly hide and leave this site.