“I thought I had no right to feel like this. I had it easy. What was my problem? Why couldn’t I do a simple thing like go for a walk, prepare dinner and do a load of washing…”

Pregnant women are expected to glow and new mothers to bask in the delight of their baby. However, for some women, this is far from reality. While many new or expectant mums face significant emotional change, one in ten women will experience the severe and disabling symptoms of perinatal depression (PND).

A Black Dog Institute guide to PND contains intimate experiences from women matched with expert advice from leading researchers and clinicians.

The book, authored by UNSW Scientia Professor Gordon Parker, Kerrie Eyers and University of Sydney Professor Philip Boyce, aims to shed light on this important, and often misunderstood, mental health issue.

Overcoming Baby Blues takes readers into the realm of perinatal mood disorders using the personal stories of more than 200 Australian women.

“I didn’t want my baby picking up on my negative emotions so I used all my strength and determination to portray feelings of a happy and competent new mother and this is what I became. The house sparkled, my baby sparkled but I diminished.”

“It was like sinking into a thick damp fog that I could not see through in any direction – completely unexpected and confronting. Why did I allow myself to wallow in it for so long before I finally admitted I needed help?”

The personal stories are accompanied with clinical advice and information based on up-to-date research and national guidelines.

In addition to plain English explanations of the diagnosis, causes and management of perinatal depression, the authors emphasise the importance of realistic expectations and provide diet and lifestyle suggestions. Information for partners and family is also included, as is an up-to-date overview of medication use in the perinatal period.

Overcoming Baby Blues is published by Allen & Unwin and is available from all good book shops and from online stores.

About the Authors

Gordon Parker is Scientia Professor of Psychiatry at UNSW, Professorial Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, and a world renowned researcher and expert on mood disorders. Kerrie Eyers is a psychologist based at the Black Dog Institute. Philip Boyce is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney, Professorial Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, and an international expert on perinatal depression.

The authors and women with lived experience of PND are available for interview. Contact Gayle McNaught on 0401 625 905 or g.mcnaught@blackdog.org.au for more information.