‘You’re stronger than this. Fix this thing.’
Posted on 4 May 2015
Actress and mother Marisa Drummond writes a retrospective letter to her husband Christopher after their journey through postnatal depression (PND) together.
I know that my journey through postnatal depression has actually been our journey. I saw your pain and how hard you tried to fix things and keep our little family together. But we both now know that you just couldn’t.
Everything I went through, I know you went through too. Thank you for trying so hard to understand, even though it must’ve been completely strange and alien. Nature can be cruel. At a time when my body was supposed to be coursing with happy hormones, the opposite happened.
After all we’ve been through together, I’m so proud of how openly you’re able to talk to others about our experience. It’s wonderful to see you offering advice to new parents, cautioning them about what can happen and sharing what to do if things go wrong. One day I want to tell your story in a short film too, the way we told mine with Stom. Dads also need to find their voices in the face of PND.
Thank you for saying to me, ‘You’re stronger than this. Fix this thing.’ Thank you for being a pillar of practical support when I felt like I couldn’t function. Thank you, for being you.
Marisa’s advise to new Dads
1. PND catches you off guard. Know the signs* and watch out for them.
2. Educate yourself – find out as much as you can about PND, then keep reading.
3. Get a support structure in place for you and the mother of your child. Call on aunts, colleagues, anyone. Just ask for help.
4. Talk about your feelings. You need to help yourself before you can help anyone else.
5. Never say ‘it won’t happen to me’. PND can kick in late – even six months to a year after a baby is born.
Marisa’s suggested *signs of postnatal depression that dads should watch out for in new moms:
• Loss of hope, intense feelings of guilt, loss of appetite, insomnia.
• Feeling trapped, helpless and alone even when you aren’t.
• Feelings of incompetence.