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Mum admits she considered giving her new baby to someone else during her dark PND battle, just so she could feel better.

Just five days after giving birth to her daughter eight years ago, Shannon Rhook knew she was struggling to cope.

‘I had no appetite, my hands kept shaking, I kept getting waves of panic coming over my body, accompanied by hot flashes [and] sweating,’ she told FEMAIL.

‘My mind was racing with panicked thoughts and even the most basic tasks felt impossible for me, it was debilitating.

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‘I felt quite empty and struggled to feel an emotional attachment to my daughter in particular. I didn’t think I could cope with the demand of being a parent every day,’ she added.

Ms Rhook said she was in a ‘constant state of panic’ and contemplated giving her daughter away so she could be cared for properly.

‘I felt so desperate that I had thought maybe if I gave Sophie to someone else to look after, until I felt better, that it would help,’ she said.

Shannon visited the Emergency department and several doctors before she called the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) hotline.

PANDA told me about a mother baby unit in Sydney called St John of God Hospital,’ she said.


This is what PND looks like…


 

‘I was admitted to the hospital with Sophie when she was eight-days-old. We spent the next six weeks in hospital.’

Ms Rhook said medication and her family’s support helped her overcome the difficult times and care for her newborn baby.

‘It took me around eight months to feel better, I think this was due to being a first time Mum, so it took me much longer to adjust to my new role,’ she explained.

Shannon also experienced PND with her second baby earlier this year.

She is encouraging other new mothers to seek help.

‘I think the stigma surrounding mental health prevents women from speaking out,’ she said. ‘When you are living with it, every day feels like an eternity,’ she added.

‘The more you support the person who is unwell, the quicker their recovery will be and the less scary the ordeal is.’

Currently one in seven women giving birth in Australia are affected by postnatal depression.

Signs of PND can include panic attacks, persistent, generalised worry, development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours, abrupt mood swings, feeling constantly tired, withdrawing from friends, difficulty focusing, feeling constantly sad or crying for no reason and having thoughts of death or suicide.

If you’re struggling, call PANDA’s National Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Helpline on 1300 726 306.

A recent study found women keep quiet about their struggles to cope because they feel nurses focus more on the baby’s health than their own emotional well-being.

Kathy DiVincenzo openly shared her ongoing battle with postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. Read her story HERE.

Read more: Mum shares story of her battle with postnatal depression that left her contemplating suicide.

Share your comments below.

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  • So horrible to go through. Hope all is going well now.

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  • I also had to contact PANDA myself.

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  • I’m sorry that Shannon had to go through this but I’m also glad that she reached out for help. I’ve never heard of PANDA but I’m so pleased they were there for her. It’s a very scary thing to go through. I hope Shannon and Sophie are okay now.

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  • This is such a common story. There really needs to be more support to help women with PND.

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  • The first one is very hard- I struggled myself, however managed to cope without any medication, but it’s not easy and there’s always that pressure there that you should know what you’re doing.

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  • This story totally resonates with me. PND is so real and deep and dark. I suffered it and I kknow too that I had the conversation with my Mum about understanding how a parent, at the same time as me, had dropped her baby off at a hospital or Police Station. I remember saying how I totally understood how someone could do that. My Mum was horrified at first, but was also very supporting during my troubles.

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  • So hard to deal with when everyone expects you to be overjoyed. At least she did not want to harm her baby, giving it to someone (a family member or close friend) would have been a bit of temporary freedom from her feelings and a safe option

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  • I was once told off for talking about PND, it needs to be talked about and normalised so people aren’t scared to acknowledge it

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  • A huge thank you for this article. This may help a lot of new Mums. This Mum did the right thing in getting help and support. In their “darkest hours” some sadly don’t think about that. Not only do they feel they can’t cope, some feel shut off from the outside world that they have enjoyed the undivided life of. A new baby and all the extras that go along with him/her is exhausting especially while you are sleep deprived. Some new Dads get sleep deprived and may not be as supportive as they might be otherwise. However their hormones aren’t affected.

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  • Giving her baby to someone else (temporarily) would at least have been better thn harming her.

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  • Not strange she had these feelings, PND is a very serious condition. Glad she got the right help. Too much of a stigma still on mental health problems !

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  • Oh, if she had ever done that, she would have regret it so much. But that gives indeed an idea of how desperate one woman suffering of PND can become. :-(

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  • PND is a terrible thing to have. I got help after my second child and haven’t looked back.

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  • It good to hear this woman got the support she needed. So many women are just brushed off to deal with everything on their own.

    Reply

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