When a woman gets pregnant, all the questions are to do with her physical health. How many weeks along are you? Have you felt nauseous?
But rarely do we check to see how the mum-to-be is feeling about the birth and impact a baby will have on her life and her partner.
Yet with one in five mothers and one in 10 fathers in Australia experiencing perinatal depression, it’s vital we consider emotional and physical health, reveals Gidget Foundation CEO Catherine Knox. ‘Perinatal depression – the time from conception to one year after birth – is common, yet there is definitely still a stigma surrounding the condition,’ she explains.
Catherine – who has suffered from postnatal depression (PND) herself – believes hospital screen for depression and anxiety coupled with greater awareness, means more women will spot the signs and seek help sooner. PND affects people right across the socio-economic and cultural spectrum, with high-achieving personality types more vulnerable.
‘There’s the expectation that having a baby will be a beautiful experience, but reality can shatter those dreams,’ Catherine says. ‘For perfectionists, it can be hard because a baby creates chaos. We need to learn to embrace the chaos.’
The Gidget Foundation has introduced screening programs into two private hospitals, with the hope it’ll become universal and will normalise the notion of perinatal depression.
And with celebrities such as Hayden Panettiere and Drew Barrymore talking about PND, the message that anyone can be affected is slowly getting through.
The Gidget Foundation is also running its Bun In The Oven initiative. The idea is to hold a brunch or morning tea to raise money and start a conversation about perinatal depression.
Coinciding with Postnatal Depression Awareness Week (November 13-19), the baking challenge is a great excuse to get creative for a good cause.