UNITED FRONT: Nambour mother Ebeny Kluck with her daughter Constance, 2, met at Alexandra Headland to raise support for perinatal anxiety and depression. Mrs Kluk has found strength and support in a group of like-minded parents who have endured unique, yet similar, experiences.
UNITED FRONT: Nambour mother Ebeny Kluck with her daughter Constance, 2, met at Alexandra Headland to raise support for perinatal anxiety and depression. Mrs Kluk has found strength and support in a group of like-minded parents who have endured unique, yet similar, experiences. Warren Lynam

Coast mother opens up on isolating condition

MOTHERHOOD was far from the perfect picture well-intentioned loved ones and societal expectations had created for Ebeny Kluck.

Her first son, Miller, was born with a burst lung and he relied on oxygen until he was aged one. Her husband was a fly-in-fly-out worker, and Mrs Kluck admits she felt isolated, angry, short-tempered and as though she was "not doing a good job" as a parent.

"This isn't how it was meant to go," she thought as Miller spent his early life in hospital, as she suffered what would later be diagnosed as perinatal anxiety and depression (PND).

The Nambour mother is one of more than 200 women to have formed invaluable friendships and found support at the Sunshine Coast PND Centre's group and individual sessions.

Principal psychologist Lisa Lindley said PND affects one in six women after birth, one in 10 during pregnancy and one in 10 fathers. If left untreated, PND could have short and long-term effects on mental health, bonding with the baby and relationship issues.

But many struggle to identify the disease given the varied symptoms are often disregarded as "normal" aspects of parenthood. These symptoms can range from feelings of sadness to suicidal thoughts, but Ms Lindley explains when they continue for at least two weeks, PND is often the cause.

 

Parents meet at Nelson Park, Alexandra Headland, to raise support for perinatal anxiety and depression.Katlyn Meehl with Aliyah, Lauren Schultz with Dominic, Beck Cliff with Piper and  Ebeny Kluck with Constance.
Parents meet at Nelson Park, Alexandra Headland, to raise support for perinatal anxiety and depression.Katlyn Meehl with Aliyah, Lauren Schultz with Dominic, Beck Cliff with Piper and Ebeny Kluck with Constance. Warren Lynam

Fresh from an awareness and support picnic at Alexandra Headland yesterday, Mrs Kluck said her experience was testament that everyone's is different.

"It's really an individual journey... but we are all going through the same thing."

Feeling she was not alone and learning strategies to manage her condition were vital to Mrs Kluck's recovery.

She tells Miller is now aged four, and brother to two-year-old Constance.

The young mother's experience has inspired her to study social work and become the support for others which she needed in her darkest hours.

PND symptoms

  • Sadness, crying, feelings of depression, failure, inadequacy as a parent, exhaustion, fatigue, negative and irrational thoughts, feeling overwhelmed even by everyday tasks which used to be easy.
  • Some sufferers are scared to leave the house, have obsessive behaviours, changes in appetite, feelings of resentment towards their partner and have suicidal thoughts.

November 11-17 is Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week, for more symptoms, information and support visit sunshinecoastpnd.com.au



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