A Stranger’s Act of Kindness Uplifts Mother Battling Postnatal Depression

A new mother with postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression (PND) is a serious condition affecting one in seven mothers or pregnant women, and it should not be ignored. (Image: Ian Allenden via Dreamstime)

Postnatal depression (PND) is a serious condition affecting one in seven mothers or pregnant women, and it should not be ignored. It can become easy for mothers to not talk about this due to embarrassment; as mothers, we have so many pressures on us, and many people might think staying at home is fun. Let me assure you, it’s one of the hardest jobs.

Having a lack of sleep and still having to get up to take care of the baby, maintain the house, go to appointments, or even take care of another child can affect your mental state. I remember one of my lowest points. I never developed postnatal depression, but I was close. I had my second child and I found out at the same time that my father had died. I was feeling really sad, my newborn son wouldn’t sleep, my first daughter was still waking up during the night, and I was trying to console my mother.

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With all of this happening, I started to get depressed and unstable to the point I couldn’t bear my children. My husband pointed out I was ignoring our children a lot and was quite moody, and that I needed to stop worrying so much about all the other stuff and just pay attention to the children. He helped a lot with the children so I could get more rest, and I was able to get back on track and out of my bad state.

Watch this short video by How To Mom TV that has an interview with New York City psychologist Dr. Sharon Silver-Regent, who says there is a fine line between baby blues and postpartum depression:

PANDA

PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) is a national organization that provides specialist information and ongoing counseling, support, and referral to anyone affected by distress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby (perinatal), including partners and extended family members.

Recently, PANDA received an email from a mother who is in hospital for postnatal depression and wanted to share her experience of how an act of kindness changed her day.

She wrote: “On one of my days there I took a walk to a nearby café, and had an encounter that made me see a bit of blue sky through all the clouds.”

‘It reminded me that sometimes the smallest kindness can make a difference.’

“I wrote this letter to the café owner but never had a chance to give it to him. I wanted to post it on their Facebook page or share it on social media so others could think about how they might be interacting with people with depression on any given day, but I wanted to remain anonymous. So I thought maybe I could send it to PANDA with the hope you might be able to use it somehow as part of your communications.”

This is the letter she wanted to leave for the café owner posted by PANDA:

A letter from a mother who has recently spent some time in a mother-baby residential unit after being diagnosed with postnatal depression.
A letter from a mother who has recently spent some time in a mother-baby residential unit after being diagnosed with PND. (Image: via Facebook)

Many women suffer from postnatal depression

The post has been shared nearly 300 times and had over 2,000 likes. Many mothers have commented, knowing what it’s like battling postnatal depression and having a random act of kindness change their days. Here are some comments:

“The smallest acts of kindness mean the world when you’re battling depression, it is like a bolt of sunshine through the clouds. I remember being extra-sensitive to acts like this and feeling the need to express my gratitude so that the person knew they had made a difference. Bravo to this café owner.”

“Cafés were my savior when I had PND…a reason to get out and feel part of life and not just invisible at home…it was therapy to me…I now take my 5-year-old to a café whenever we feel down…cafés are wonderful places.”

“I love this PANDA and anonymous Mum! My local café owner used to hold my baby for me if I was having a really bad day, while I had my coffee! Bless those café owners!!! I think there is a place for the role of ‘café-based carer’ you know! (seriously!) I found many gaps in service provision for the middle/upper class demographic — not so much in services that are available but more in places you can go to — and potentially more so in regional areas. And I hear many stories from Mums who use coffee shops as a therapeutic outlet! It would be amazing.”

This story is a reminder to all of us that we don’t know what another person is going through, so we should always be willing to share and act of kindness.

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