It's PNDA awareness week

The big D word! Yes, depression. We all suffer from it at some point in our lifetime and as a mother of 4 kids under 6 years back in 2011, I have had my fair share of tears and fears. The doubting thoughts and feeling adequate in fulfilling the Super Woman Mum or Dad role when caring for a new human being can be overwhelming, so it's good to know there are people out there that can help like PANDA. I will never forget the day when I saw Adrian leaving for a corporate function, looking amazingly handsome in his suit as he kisses me goodbye, I was spread on the couch like some big fluffy cloud with my 24x7 milk bar open and in all my glory, all I could feel was this darkness over shadowering my usual happy self. I knew I had changed, I was lacking motivation and joy, anxious, tired from my sleepless nights, agitated and irritable. Depression is never an easy thing to deal with however through the haze of negative thoughts, I realized that I was self sabotaging, self doubting and sometimes just feeling downright sorry for myself. I wasn't getting out of the house, I was reaching for high-sugar and packaged foods which I know aren't good for me and I was wallowing indoors - feeling in awe of - but uncomfortable - in my post baby body.

I became determined to turn over a new leaf and I was pretty fortunate that I snapped outta my negative thinking pretty quickly. I realized I needed to connected with like minded people so I started my Instagram account and I started moving my body everyday. I took regular walks to the park with my kids, pushing the stroller with Zali only a few weeks old, Mietta was 2 years old on the "clip on" skate board attached to the Bugaboo, Oscar was 4 years old running around while Noah was at primary school. I began fueling my body with goodness, I started juicing and choosing healthy, fresh produce and I took the big step to eliminate processed and high sugary foods and drinks. This instantly gave me more energy and happy vibes. This helped me immensley with my weightloss (I lost a combined weight of 100kgs over my 4 pregnancies so I know how much this impacted my state of mind.)

Once I FELT good, it seemed to sweep away ALL of my self doubt and depressing mood swings that I had been wrestling with once upon a time had. We are all different and manage our own situations in the best ways we can, but these changes are what helped me. I found it was great to chat to other Mums and Dads who have been in the same situation and get guidance. A supportive network really helped me and that's why I love social media so much. Having a "virtual" hand to hold or shoulder to cry on during these times, was the most comforting for me.

"Perinatal anxiety and depression is an illness that can occur any time from the beginning of the pregnancy right through to one year after the birth of the baby," Terri Smith, CEO of not-for-profit organisation Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia told The Huffington Post Australia.

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Did you know?

- 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads suffer from perinatal anxiety and depression every year in Australia.

- 1 in 10 pregnant women will also suffer from depression and many of us aren't aware of the warning signs or symptoms

- Over 100,000 Australian families struggle with PNDA every year.

- Nearly 60% of callers to PANDA's National Helpline report a lowered mood, with symptoms including hopelessness, lacking motivation and loss of joy, while over 65% report feeling anxious, panicked, agitated, angry and irritable.

PANDA is here to help and you too can lend a hand

- Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week is November 13-19. Let's break down the stigma new parents feel about suffering with these conditions. Check out this video on Mamamia.

- You can help by hosting or attending a 'Lunch out Loud' fundraiser for PANDA. Use the event to start a conversation with expecting and new parents about the joys and challenges of parenting. See PANDA's website for more (www.panda.org.au)

 - Funds raised from Lunch Out Loud fundraisers will support PANDA's Free National Helpline 1300 726 306.

If you know anyone that is struggling with perinatal anxiety or depression, call PANDA‚Äôs free National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline (1300 726 306). The service offers counselling, information and referral services with ongoing telephone support for families throughout Australia. The helpline operates Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm EST. Visit www.panda.org.au for more information and useful resources.

https://twitter.com/DaniStevens365/status/798845207936544768

You never need to feel alone, I am here and so are others to help you along the way.

xxDani

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