Episode #1: When postnatal / postpartum depression hijacks your motherhood plans

Episode #1: When postnatal / postpartum depression hijacks your motherhood plans

Photo of Rebecca Anderson

“I didn’t want my son to have a meltdown when I was out because I didn’t know if I could handle it”

Unlike most of us, Rebecca Anderson was prepared for postpartum depression. She had struggled with depression most of her life. So, when she fell pregnant with her first baby she put in place mental health measures that most mums don’t even think about.

“I thought I had everything planned out, if things were to go south with my mental health again”

However, postnatal depression was nothing like she had experienced before.

“It was completely different to what I experienced for the 15 years prior to becoming a mum”

In this episode Bec shares with us her story of deep depression and anxiety, and how she attempted to take her own life. She shares how her depression has affected her motherhood journey, and techniques she uses along the way to help support herself.

Bec is a wonderful, bubbly woman. You wouldn’t know she experiences depression by looking at her, or talking to her. Which is why this episode is so important.

Often mums (and dads) can suffer depression after having a baby, but are too afraid to ask for help.


In this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV you will learn:

  • ✓ Why it is so critical to speak up if you are not feeling OK
  • ✓ How common it actually is to struggle in motherhood
  • ✓ What you can do about it

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app.

Or hit play and watch the full episode on YouTube.


The important take-aways from this episode are:

  • Postpartum depression and anxiety can be different to any other depression you have experienced before  Podcast [3.48], TV [3.18]
  • Know your triggers  Podcast [8.08], TV [7.38]

If you know what will trigger you to spiral, you can actively avoid those things as well as put in place strategies for what to do when you are triggered.

  • Have outlets / releases Podcast [9.22], TV [8.52]

Whether it is exercise, socialising, writing, reading or me-time. Know what works for you to let you take a breath and step away from your situation.

Outlets are imperative in motherhood

  • Breastfeeding can be really hard Podcast [11.30], TV [11.00]

If you want to breastfeed your baby, please remember that breastfeeding can come with its own challenges. Be realistic that it might be harder than you think. Don’t put pressure on yourself. You, and your mental health, are also important in your breastfeeding journey. There is nothing wrong with formula, if it means both you and your baby thrive.

“As soon as he went on formula, I felt I was 20kg lighter.”

  • One of the leading triggers of postpartum depression is that mothers have high expectations of themselves Podcast [11.30], TV [11.00]

We must take the time to set realistic expectations for our motherhood life. Ones that are specific to us, our family and our biology.
The Tough Mothers Motherhood Preparation course helps you plan this.

  • The most important question that needs to be asked in motherhood Podcast [16.47], TV [16.17]

Please ask it often. Out loud and in your head.

  • Struggling in motherhood is more common than you think Podcast [16.47], TV [16.17]

You are not alone. That’s why it is so important to share your truth and your story with other mothers. You never know what someone is going through until you speak to them. talking can help you, and them.

“Every mum has something going on in her life that she doesn’t talk about.”

  • The importance of building up a support network before your baby is born Podcast [24.11], TV [23.41]

It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to raise a mother. Please look at creating your village before your baby is due.

  • How to ask for help when you are afraid or feel you are not “bad enough” – and why this is so important Podcast [24.55], TV [24.25]

There is no such thing as “bad enough”. If you are not feeling OK please ask for help.

  • Dads can struggle during the postpartum period too Podcast [28.18], TV [27.48]

Around one in ten men will experience postnatal depression. We must keep an eye on them, and encourage them to speak up.

  • Techniques that worked for Bec during her postnatal period Podcast [30.53], TV [30.23]

Create your own toolkit of techniques that help you when you are not feeling ok. It is best to create these strategies when you are in an good state of mind. The Tough Mothers Motherhood Preparation course can help you with this.

  • What Bec wants every mum to know Podcast [38.55], TV [38.25]

Motherhood struggles can make women stronger and more confident. Be kind to yourself and others

I would love to hear from you

What insights did you have when you watched this episode?

How could these potentially change your motherhood experience and life?

Leave a comment below and tell us about it! Many mums come here to find support, and your experience or story may help one of them.

Who is one person that would benefit from watching this episode? – Share it with them through the icons at the top of this article 😉


Be sure to subscribe to The Tough Mothers Podcast or Tough Mothers TV .


Leave a review for the podcast  or on my YouTube channel, as I draw a random reviewer each month to win an amazing Tough Mothers gift.


YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Get all the motherhood support at our village.

Mentions in this episode

The book: I Wish Someone Had Told Me… – unspoken truths about what really happens to women during labour, childbirth and the first few weeks of motherhood

Gidget Foundation Australia

Mental Health Support Services

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.

In Australia: www.healthdirect.gov.au
In New Zealand: www.mentalhealth.org.nz
In the USA: www.mhnational.org
In the UK : www.mind.org.uk
In Ireland: www2.hse.ie

In South Africa: www.safmh.org.za

If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.


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My baby was 10 days old when he vomited bright yellow milk – he could have died

My baby was 10 days old when he vomited bright yellow milk – he could have died

Exercise 5 - Talk

It is still really hard for me to look at this photo.
Two paediatricins has juts spent an hour trying to find a vein in my baby’s tiny hand for the i.v.

At just 10 days old my baby was rushed to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, by ambulance. It was the worst day of my life.

On his tenth day in the world, our very placid little boy, who rarely cried and was content to just feed, cuddle and sleep, suddenly projectile vomited bright yellow milk (and I mean like highlighter fluorescent yellow). We were all about to go to bed, and it was a while after his last feed, so to say we were startled is an understatement. His vomit was so intense and bright it could have been a scene from a horror movie.

“Take him to emergency immediately”

In my sleep-deprived state (aside from our baby’s newborn feeding schedule, his 21-month old brother decided this was a good time to form an intense relationship with his dummy/pacifier i.e. we were re-plugging it about 12 times a night!), I called the health line. Yes, in hindsight I should have taken him straight to emergency, but I didn’t. I am not going to change the story just so I seem like a more together mother; I am under no illusion.

The nurse on the phone didn’t even need me to finish describing the events before she said: this could be very serious. Please take him to emergency immediately.

I left Hubs at home on dummy re-plugging duty and drove my baby to the local emergency department. It was nearly eight years ago but I remember the trip like it was yesterday. Even just writing about it brings back the sick feeling deep in my gut.

We didn’t spend much time at our local hospital. The words “bright yellow projectile vomit” set off the same alarm bells there as with the health line nurse. Before I knew it, my baby was in an ambulance being rushed to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.

It was surreal.


The sick feeling deep in my gut suddenly got worse

Not only was this obviously really, really serious but I couldn’t even go in the ambulance with my baby because I wasn’t allowed to leave my car at the local hospital.

There are no words to describe the feeling of following an ambulance that has your potentially very sick 10-day-old baby on board. I hope you never have to find out.

The Children’s Hospital staff were amazing. In no time my baby was hooked up to all sorts of machines to monitor him. However, they couldn’t find a vein in his tiny body for the i.v. After several attempts, two paediatricians contemplated sticking the i.v. in my baby’s head!

I felt like I was in a dream. I couldn’t touch him, so I tried to comfort him with my voice.

He was crying and I could not do anything. It was heartbreaking. I was beside myself and I remember trying so hard to keep it together.


We need to operate immediately or he could die

At some stage a nurse brought me a hospital-grade breast pump. While I was pumping away, next to my lethargic baby (in full-view of the whole emergency department – all shame disappears in a crisis) she sat with me and wiped tears from my cheeks with a tissue. She told me gently that because of the colour of his vomit they suspected my baby might have a twisted bowel. They would perform tests but if their suspicions were correct, there was a chance that his intestines could be compromised already.

If they didn’t operate immediately he could die.

iI don’t remember much of what happened next. Except for the cold, dark room where they X-rayed my baby’s tummy after they injected hm with a special dye. I also remember waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the results. All the while my baby was just lying there hooked up to machines and I couldn’t touch him.

We had been away from home for over 24 hours when the news came. His bowel was fine. I felt a lot of things then but nothing greater than the urge to hold my baby. They disconnected him from the machines and I hugged him so tight I think I nearly squashed the tiny, fragile body I couldn’t touch for so long.


Not everyone is as lucky as we were

A few months later I received a call from my mum. Alexander, the young baby of a family friend was also projectile vomiting bright yellow milk. His family were going through everything we went through. Something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.

Sadly, Baby Alexander’s bowel was twisted. He was very unwell and tragically died.

We still don’t know the reason behind my baby’s yellow projectile vomit, but to be honest I don’t care. I still get to hug my boy daily, something Baby Alexander’s mum will never do again.

I hope by sharing this story even one family will recognise the symptoms in time to save their precious bub’s life.

This article is originally published in babyology.com.au

My book I Wish Someone Had Told Me… – Unspoken truths about what really happens to women during labour, childbirth and the first few weeks of motherhood 
is available NOW. As a special thanks, I have created a sneak peek into the inside of the book for you to enjoy.