Peri-natal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week 8-15 November, 2020 


Sydney mother Rosie says she felt flawed and disorientated after the birth of her first child and was incredibly appreciative for the support she received from Tresillian. 

Rosie’s feelings post birth were of pure exhaustion, heightened emotion and a struggle to come to terms with her new identity as a mother. There hadn't been much time to debrief following a fairly traumatic birth and as a result of COVID, and with family unavailable to assist, she didn't receive much support in terms of home visits.

Rosie’s anxiety was not so much related to caring for her daughter but as a highly career focused individual accustomed to  structure and achieving on a daily basis, Rosie found the lack of routine very unsettling and difficult to cope with. She would question and second guess herself if things didn't go to 'plan' and would always compare her progress with that of other mums. It was when her relationship with her partner started to suffer and break down that she knew she had a problem. Her anxiety heightened and OCD became overbearing. Rosie’s GP referred her to an 8-week Peri-natal Depression and Anxiety Program after she broke down during a routine appointment. 

As a Healthcare professional, Rosie never thought she may need intervention for a mental health issue and accepting this was initially very difficult. However, Rosie says that attending the PND group each week became very  important.  She knew it was beneficial for herself and her baby as well as adding value and giving back to the other mums in the group. She listened to their individual stories with great interest and this helped her to feel connected and also inspired by their stories. 

Rosie reports multiple benefits including finding benefit in the conflict resolution sessions. She had felt she “had lost her way and felt her identity slipping away’.  She says these sessions helped her to focus on the problems at hand rather than blaming her partner for everything, to use reflective listening even when things got really tough and know when to take timeout from  a tense situation.  She credits the help she received at Tresillian Family Care Centres as ‘life-changing’.

’My advice is get help as soon as you can. Even if you think you are getting by, there is no shame in accepting help and it will benefit you. I am grateful to Tresillian that I could get help so soon but, even so, I still feel I struggled unnecessarily. Seek help when you first notice yourself feeling bad because things go downhill very quickly. it is a treatable condition, with the right help, and it’s not worth missing out on precious moments with your family and child.” 

Jane West, Social Worker at Tresillian Family Care Centres agrees immediate intervention is crucial.

‘Many women suffer from a significant degree of anxiety and depression in the first year of their child’s life.  If these problems go untreated, the consequences can impact the whole family and rob the mother of confidence and joy’, she says.

Our records show that as many as 30% of new mothers suffer from some form of depression or anxiety. It’s to be expected that parents find the lack of sleep and stress of a crying baby, impacts on their mood and ability to cope. 

On admission to Tresillian’s Residential Units, for an unrelated parenting issue such as a baby who won’t settle, it’s common for our Nurse to identify parents who are at risk of or are experiencing peri-natal depression and anxiety’. 

She went on to say ‘Through the intensive support, of our multidisciplinary team of Psychologists ,Social Workers, and Nurses, all with experience and expertise in the perinatal period, parents are supported by Tresillian. Talking, and talking to one of our Allied Health workers, someone neutral, is essential to recovery. Offering two arms of service both parents can visit Tresillian Day Services for a morning or afternoon, or be admitted to Tresillian Residential, a more intensive 4-day/5-night program. Both programs look at improving the babies presenting difficulties, whether these be related to feeding or sleep and settling, in conjunction with the mother’s mental health. They operate from Tresillian’s Belmore, Willoughby and Nepean Centres, and in the ACT at the QEII Family Centre’. 

Funded by government, Tresillian is Australia’s largest early parenting organisation with Family Care Centres in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. Around 80,000 Australian families are assisted by Tresillian each year in both metropolitan and regional areas. Tresillian helps parents gain confidence in their roles as parents providing evidence-based education and support for breastfeeding, infant sleep, settling and peri-natal mental health, to maximise the health and wellbeing of the family.

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For interviews contact:
Ann Paton
Director of of Marketing & Communications                                    
0403 500 067


6th November, 2020.