When bliss goes amiss

MOTHERHOOD isn’t always blissful. And although up to 20 per cent of mothers suffer from ante or post-natal depression, there is still a reluctance to talk about it. 

Polly McIntyre

“There are about 5000 births a year in the ACT, which potentially means a lot of families may suffer. There is still a stigma attached to PND and some mothers feel ashamed of their thoughts and feelings,” says PANDSI executive officer Polly McIntyre.

PANDSI (Post and Ante Natal Depression Support and Information) is a local organisation, which provides support, health promotion, advocacy and perinatal mental health education services.

As part of this education, PANDSI is hosting a twilight seminar this month, which will focus on postpartum psychosis, a rare condition that affects women after childbirth.

Sufferers can become irritable, have extreme mood swings and hallucinations, and possibly need psychiatric hospitalisation.

“It can be misdiagnosed as PND, and severe cases need urgent treatment and hospitalisation,” Polly says.

“Many women who experience it have had no previous mental health issues at all. Because it is a relatively rare condition not all cases are immediately diagnosed.

“PANDSI is pleased to be featuring postpartum psychosis at this year’s twilight seminar so that it can remind as many front-line medical staff as possible about the signs and symptoms of the disorder. Early diagnosis has a significant impact on the speed of a patient’s recovery.”

The seminar will feature a keynote address from Dr Megan Galbally who is an expert in mental illness related to childbearing and beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell.

Polly says there will be lots of information about antenatal depression, postpartum psychosis as well as information about PANDSI’s services.

“Many women with perinatal depression experience high levels of anxiety and depression, which can be debilitating,” Polly says.

“However, with support, most mothers will make a full recovery, they just need help getting through it,” she says.

“More than PND: Understanding Postpartum Psychosis” is on from 5.30pm, Wednesday, November 21, at the Bradman Room, Manuka Oval. Book at trybooking.com/BUZA or call 6287 3961.

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