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Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

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One of the main reasons many expecting and new parents affected by perinatal anxiety & depression and postnatal psychosis say they don’t reach out for help is because they didn't understand what was happening to them. Many don’t realise they are ill and therefore suffer for longer than they need to. Many parents, looking back, say that if they had known more and been better able to prepare for some of the challenges they might have been better able to cope.


That’s why this year PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia - chose the theme ‘I Wish I Knew’ for PANDA Week 2018. They will be our special guests on the 13th November 2018 right here! We'll be talking about becoming a new parent and how to get help if things become tough.





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I'm new here - what is Topic Tuesday?

Topic Tuesday runs from 7pm - 8:30 or 9pm AEST monthly. Each month we focus on a different topic, with the session facilitated by a Community Manager or Moderator. Sometimes Topic Tuesday will feature a special guest, who is an expert in the topic.

The first post of the thread (this one) will give you an idea of what the topic is and what will be covered.


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Throughout the session, the facilitator will put questions out for you to answer, usually asking for your own experience on the topic. To contribute to the session, just hit the 'reply' button and share your thoughts. No answers are right or wrong and everyone is welcome to get involved.


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Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi everyone and a special 👋 to those that wanted a reminder @Teej , @utopia@Shaz51 and @CheerBear!


Thanks for coming along to tonight’s Topic Tuesday where we will be talking about becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." as it's Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia week. I am really excited to welcome our guests tonight from @Kezk and @Elke from PANDA. 


In terms of how tonight will work, we'll be posting some questions for everyone  to engage with! This is a great opportunity to learn from PANDA as well as one another’s experiences. So please feel free to share and discuss together.

So to kick off - I'd love for the PANDA folks to introduce themselves!

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

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 15 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 “what I wish I knew” 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’d now like to introduce @Elke and @Kezk who will tell you a little bit about their own journeys to parenthood and will be here to contribute to tonight’s discussion.

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hello everyone.  My name is Elke and I’m here tonight to share with you my experience in overcoming the intense feelings of overwhelm and frustration that came up for me after the birth of my son 7 years ago. 

I fell pregnant while single and the father was not involved from the outset.  This meant going through pregnancy, childbirth and new parenthood solo.  I was incredibly fortunate to have the love and well-meaning support of numerous friends and family, however the weight of personal responsibility for a completely dependent human, paired with a sense of isolation was intensely felt and I struggled through anxiety and self-loathing.  The loss of control and a sense of my own identity meant that the transition to parenthood was often unenjoyable and I longed to be one of those mothers who had it all together.  I wish I knew then that, far from being alone in my experience, I was one of many and that not coping does not equate to failing.   I’m looking forward to hearing from you all this evening and discussing with you some of the very real experiences that are frequently encompassed within the perinatal journey. 

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi everyone, my name is Kerri.  I am here tonight to share with you my story of how Post-Natal Depression and Anxiety impacted me after the birth of my son 11 years ago. I was unprepared for a child as I had only been with his father for 3 months but proceeded any way with his support and became excited at the prospect, but what I didn’t know was the birth was not going to go to plan. I required a c-section after which I felt robbed by not being able to have a normal birth. I struggled with the pain from the c-section. I felt pressured and unsupported by the nurses to breastfeed, and on top of that, my son was re-admitted to Hospital with Encephalitis caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. I found myself crying constantly, and I felt fearful and isolated. My anxiety was through the roof and I was not able to sleep or eat. Luckily I was provided with support through my GP who referred me to some counselling to make sense of what I had experienced. I gradually learnt to take control of my anxiety. What I wish I knew was that you can make plans for parenthood, but you can’t necessarily control everything that happens during pregnancy, birth and beyond. There is a level of acceptance that is hard to accept!

What surprised me was the sense of grief and loss, particularly around the difference between expectation vs reality.  What were your big ‘expectation does not match the reality’ moments?

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi @s-jay@Elke. lisa and Kerri.


I can’t stay long. I think my expectation was that motherhood would come naturally. I felt like a failure when it didn’t. I had a colicky baby who didn’t sleep and that exacerbated my sense of failure. 

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Sorry. Should add that baby is now 23 yrs old and still struggles at times with sleep. 

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi @Teej - thanks so much for stopping by & sharing your experience about your expectations on parenting...

I think that might be one a lot of people can relate to...

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi @Teej, i hear you, that whole expectation versus reality thing is so common, we hear it a lot on the phones. It can also bring with it a fair amount of guilt as well as grief and loss at what you had hoped for. Did you find anything that was particularly helpful?

Re: Topic Tuesday // Becoming a new parent - "What I Wish I Knew..." PANDA // Tues 13 Nov, 7pm AEDT

Hi everyone. Looking forward to tonight's discussion.

Thanks Lisa, Elke and Kerri. I could relate to some of those feelings and experiences you both shared Elke and Kerri.

To answer the question above, for me the big expectation vs reality one was that in a way I expected a baby might bring my then partner and I closer as we had a new person to think about and care for (bond over and enjoy maybe). It wasn't like that at all and I struggled to accept that we both had different ideas on raising a family and what it meant for us. There can be huge changes when a new little person comes into the world and it can take some adjusting to I found!

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