25-10-2019 01:48 PM - edited 31-10-2019 12:25 PM
The theme of PANDA week this year is ‘Let’s get real’ which is what we are going to do in this event! Talking about the real experiences that we have come across or might be coming across when we transition into parenthood and sharing strategies and knowledge.
“We want expecting and new parents and their families to feel they can be open and honest about their feelings. As a community, we need to ‘get real’ about perinatal anxiety and depression.”
While this awareness week is all about those expecting or new parents we would also love to hear from well experienced parents to share reflections and learnings too! All welcome!
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12-11-2019 07:00 PM
We are really excited to be chatting about the ins and outs of transitions we go through into parenthood. Tonight we have with us Lisa @PANDA who is the PANDA Volunteer Coordinator and our two wonderful PANDA volunteers @Sarzie and @Julia2019. Their expertise will be so wonderful to draw on tonight!
Our guests will be posing questions throughout tonight to the community as well as sharing their insights around each question prompt. This is a safe space, so even if its your first time in the forums do feel free to have a go joining in.
With that said, I will let our wonderful guests from @PANDA introduce themselves and members coming through feel free to let us know what brought you here tonight? 😊
12-11-2019 07:04 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Lisa and I am a Volunteer Coordinator at PANDA. I have the privilege of training and mentoring our amazing peer support volunteers on our National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline. Each of our 17 volunteers brings their own unique, lived experience, of struggling in some way during the huge transition to becoming a parent. They help the caller to feel understood and accepted because they themselves have been through something similar. We aim to provide a safe space for tonight’s topic “Let’s get real” in the hope that this will generate some useful discussion and provide contributors with the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and possibly even take away some new ideas, tips and strategies for new parenthood.
I’ve chosen this PANDA graphic to add to my introduction as it resonates most with me and is probably the thing I have said most to our callers.
I’d now like to introduce Sarzie and Julia2019 who will tell you a little bit about their own journeys to becoming a parent and will be here to contribute to tonight’s discussion.
12-11-2019 07:06 PM
I became a young parent after an unplanned pregnancy with a new partner and found the transition to parenthood challenging from the outset. I had a difficult birth experience which required emergency surgery after my daughter was born. I had no time to make sense of what happened during the birth as suddenly I had a new person in my life to think of and put first. It felt like everything changed from that moment onwards. My responsibilities, the relationships I had with family and friends, my lifestyle, my body, my identity - there was so much change and I struggled to adjust to it all. In a way it felt like my life wasn’t my own anymore and that I had no control over it.
What I didn't understand at the time is that I was not alone and that many people struggle with the changes of becoming a parent. I now also understand that we can be significantly affected by our experiences during birth and that it can be really helpful to seek support to acknowledge and process the very real impact of birth trauma.
I’d like to share this PANDA week illustration as I think many of us experience feelings of missing our ‘old life’ at some stage during our parenting journeys, but we often don’t feel able to be real about that with others.
Looking forward to hearing from everyone tonight!
12-11-2019 07:09 PM
I am Julia2019, before I became a mother I worked as a Social Worker. I was looking forward to being a mother and really thought that I would be a natural! When I started to struggle as a new mother, I told myself that I was not entitled to feel the way I was feeling as I was a professional and “should” know how to deal with “this stuff!” I worked with families most of my working life and my last role before having my daughter was facilitating groups for women with PND. Knowing about “this stuff” on a professional level was one of the biggest barriers preventing me from seeing how unwell I was because I felt like “how can this happen to me!”
Aside from being a Social Worker familiar with “all this stuff”, I was an efficient, social, independent, strong person that was able to cope with life’s challenges. When I was not well I was not able to put a shopping list together without feeling total overwhelm. Another barrier was my own understanding of anti-depressants. In my case, medication saved me and became a support, as I didn’t feel so alone in dealing with the intense feelings I felt daily.
I finally accepted the help and support that I needed and was able to enjoy parenting and felt like ME again!
This PANDA graphic I have chosen resonates with me because self care was such an important part of my recovery.
12-11-2019 07:10 PM
12-11-2019 07:12 PM
Hi @Shaz51 - great to have you here with us! It will be wonderful to get your insights and thoughts tonight from your experiences!
12-11-2019 07:15 PM
12-11-2019 07:16 PM
We might give it one more minute before we kick off into the first question!
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