When I used to work in the banking world, I had a friend from Australia who married an Indian girl from South Africa. You can only imagine how much “fun” it must have been to plan that wedding! But the real challenge came after the birth of their first child.

They were living in London when his wife gave birth and within a month, she started to feel very lonely and depressed. And the strangest part is that she is a very happy go lucky girl. I just couldn’t imagine her being depressed about anything! But after visiting her doctor, she was diagnosed with postnatal depression and they decided to move to Australia to be around family so that it would make things easier. It was tough on my friend because he had to give up a very successful banking career to move to a country where he would be earning nothing close to how much he was accustomed to.

Even after they moved, it was still difficult for his wife to find her balance again, but with the support of her family it definitely sped things up. It’s amazing to see how much postnatal depression can affect one’s life, especially if it becomes more severe, and also if left untreated for a while.

After seeing what happened to my friend, I wanted to understand what postnatal depression was all about and discovered some interesting myths that I feel it’s important to debunk.

Myth 1: No-one can help me

I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to give birth to a baby and within a day or so be sent off home to “get on with it!” It can look as though all the other mothers have it handled but that’s not necessarily the case. Postnatal depression can range from mild to severe so it’s just not possible to know for sure that other mums aren’t experiencing some of it too. The important thing to realise is that you’re not alone and there is help and support available if you’ll just visit your GP and talk to them.

Myth 2: I will be forced to take anti-depressants

This is probably something that stops many women seeing their GP – they fear being handed out anti-depressants and being stuck on them forever.  But anti-depressants are not the first treatment option, nor even the second. The first is actually counselling, accompanied by groups and exercises to help you.

Myth 3: My baby might be taken away from me

This is a real fear that many women have because they might feel judged or criticised for not being able to handle things and appearing to be a bad mother. But seeking help for postnatal depression actually makes you a responsible parent and shows you want to get better and look after your child.

Myth 4: Everyone thinks I’m failing as a mother

If you’re a perfectionist, it can be very easy to be hard on yourself and feel like you’re not good enough, especially when you see other mums seemingly doing just fine.  But recognise that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect mum’. Everyone is just doing the best they can, and that includes you.