If life is in danger
call 000

Pregnancy and parenthood

“I felt like it was expected in the wider community that I should be handling all these things...it just sort of crept up on me and I couldn't see why I had any reason to be depressed.” Amanda in the Holding on to Hope podcast.

Becoming a parent and caring for a child can be one of the most wonderful, yet challenging experiences in life. These challenges can be exciting, daunting and overwhelming and can happen throughout the parenting journey from conception, pregnancy, birth and raising a child. As well as experiencing daily ups and downs, pregnancy and parenthood can at times impact our relationships with our partners, family and friends, our physical, emotional and mental health and our wellbeing.

Experiences and signs you or someone you care about may need support

  • Having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Not feeling connected to your baby
  • Feeling nervous or ‘on edge’
  • Feeling persistently sad or low and crying more than usual
  • Feeling overly worried or panicky
  • Having difficulty finding joy in things that were previously enjoyed
  • Sleeping issues – sleeping too much, or not at all
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviour
  • Becoming irritable or angry

If you are concerned that you, or someone you care about might be struggling with postnatal depression, anxiety or psychosis and need support, please call Lifeline to speak to a trained Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours / 7 days) or text Lifeline on 0477 13 11 14 (6pm-midnight AEST, 7 nights). We are here to listen. If life is in danger, please call 000.

Support services and resources

PANDA

PANDA works to ensure that every expecting and new parent knows that help is available and how to access it should they experience perinatal mental illness. PANDA works to amplify the voice of those who have experienced perinatal mental illness to influence governments, health planners and providers, employers and the wider community to respond positively to people experiencing perinatal mental illness.

Visit: PANDA

COPE (Centre of Perinatal Excellence)

Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to reducing the impacts of emotional and mental health problems in the pre and postnatal periods.

Visit: COPE (Centre of Perinatal Excellence)

Raising Children

Digital resources for parents with children of all ages. At raisingchildren.net.au, we provide free, reliable, up-to-date and independent information to help your family grow and thrive together. We’re funded by the Australian Government, reviewed by experts and non-commercial, so you know you can trust us.

Visit: COPE (Centre of Perinatal Excellence)

Amanda's Story

At 23, artist Amanda Johnson had life all mapped out. She was married, owned her own ceramic shop and was teaching 200 students a week, firing her three kilns seven days a week and employing seven other staff. She was a successful businesswoman and artist.

She approached having children with the same confident expectation of success but instead, fell into a quagmire of self-doubt and depression. She couldn’t even paint any more. She had a supportive husband and parents and healthy children but admits at one point standing in the garden, watching them through the glass windows inside and seriously thinking they wouldn’t miss her if she left them.

Today, Amanda has become a conduit for others to open up about their depression – helped largely by a massive self-portrait which hangs in her new gallery and shows her old depressed self and her current happy one. However, she points out that depression is like dieting, you can’t just fight it for a while then presume it will stay away forever. You have to learn to manage it.