Building mums’ confidence, one cake at a time

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A LOCAL charity plans to create a cake cookbook featuring iconic images that represent Canberra, such as Skywhale, the Belco Owl and Telstra Tower.

The idea, a fundraiser for PANDSI, which helps people dealing with post or antenatal depression, came from its president, Christine Spicer, who was inspired by the “Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book”.

Six months ago PANDSI held a cake-off, bringing the 107 recipes out of the cookbook and auctioned them off to raise money and awareness.

Christine says: “Through cake we can start getting people to talk about  perinatal depression.

“Sixty per cent of attendees on the day had not heard of PANDSI; 70 per cent of people who made the cakes also hadn’t heard of us.”
The CEO of PANDSI, Polly McIntyre, wants to see PANDSI become a household name in Canberra.

“We’re not national, we are a state-based charity,” she says.

“If more people know about PANDSI there will be more people willing to talk about it.

“We need them to be more open. People see their friends’ Facebook pages where their lives appear perfect so they don’t open up.”

To Christine, someone who previously experienced perinatal depression, raising awareness through cake is extremely important.

In the past she hadn’t opened up about her history of perinatal depression but is now more comfortable telling her story.

“I think there is a stigma out there, so I try and be honest and open now,” she says.

“At the time I had a lot going on. I didn’t pick up on what was wrong and neither did the GP. I didn’t talk about it with anyone.”

After realising that she was living with perinatal depression, Christine joined the PANDSI board to make sure that other families receive help immediately.

“I wanted to be part of the support to families that I didn’t get,” she says.

“I still have relapses of depression and I know my life would be very different if I sought help earlier on.”

Polly says it’s all about early intervention.

“Most people who experience PNDA for the first time have no previous history of depression and they are full of guilt about it, thinking: ‘This should be a happy time in my life’.” she says.

“They need to be told: ‘You’re doing a good job and parenting isn’t easy’.”

PANDSI recently launched a new program called a “Family Friendly Workplace”, which aims to pull down barriers in the workforce.

The program offers an in-house, one-hour training session that aims at increasing business support for mums and dads returning after having a child.

It is common for dads to experience increased stress when their new baby arrives or their partner is unwell.

PANDSI also offers confidential telephone support for dads as well as mums.

Christine says: “It doesn’t matter about a mother’s or father’s background or salary, we are here to help them.”

“The Canberra Cake Cookbook” will be published during the 2017 PNDA Awareness Week.

Call PANDSI on 6288 1936 or email

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Danielle Nohra
Danielle Nohra is the assistant editor of "CityNews".

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