Surviving Postnatal Depression

Surviving postnatal depression is hard going. Everyone who suffers from it finds it difficult. But Nicki got through …

Surviving Postnatal Depression

This week’s guest blogger is author and mother-of-two Nicki Jeffery, from Coffs Harbour NSW. Nicki lived through a very difficult time after the birth of her babies.

Eventually she became well enough to tell her story, and wrote a book about her experiences: Encouraging Mums with Hope: Light in the Darkness of Maternal Depression

You can listen to the Treasuring Mothers podcast with Nicki HERE >>>

Thoughts raced. I tried to wake up, but I hadn’t slept. Then life became a nightmare. I don’t know how I fell into the black pit. It seemed there was no way out. I could feel the darkness. It was tangible, close as my next breath. Paralysed by fear, I was stuck.

          A storm engulfed me. Navy coloured clouds filled the sky. Thunder boomed and crashed. Streaks of lightning bolted to the ground. Everything was dismal and grey.

          Joy was gone.

          Day after day was bleak. *

These were my thoughts in my season of postnatal depression.

At the age of 31, I gave birth to my first son, and when he was six weeks old, we moved towns. We knew nobody in Coffs Harbour, and my husband started driving trucks for a local transport company.

Down I slid into a pit I had never experienced before. More than the baby blues on day three after giving birth, postnatal depression is clinical and requires holistic treatment.

At first, my new doctor prescribed anti-depressants and six sessions with a psychologist. The medication journey took five and a half years, as the drugs weren’t working. They had to be increased several times before the next drug was trialed. And finally, I was told my case was “treatment resistant”. These were frightening times, but the worst was yet to come.

The Worst was Yet to Come

When my second son was almost five months old, I found myself in the mental health ward of the local hospital. I was suffering from postnatal psychosis, a more extreme case of maternal mental illness which is classified as a medical emergency.

Through no fault of my own, I had lost touch with reality.

It was the lowest of times.

But God is good. He is good all the time, and He brought me through the illness. Much thanks goes to my supportive husband and family members, not to mention our neighbors and our church.

When I was in hospital, Nathan brought our sons to visit twice a day, and I fed my baby breast milk. The relationship between my husband and I was challenged and strengthened through the whole ordeal. Our faith grew as the Lord taught us He is trustworthy in the storms of life.

Finally I Surfaced

A couple of years after my case of postnatal psychosis, I felt I was recovering and able to start writing a book to encourage other mothers.

Published in November 2018, “Encouraging Mums with Hope: Light in the Darkness of Maternal Depression” tells my story, the stories of 16 other mums. As well, there are articles from professionals in the field of health and pastoral care.

I also write a blog at and run a closed Facebook group, “Encouraging Mums with Hope”.

How To …

Survive Postnatal Depression

There is empowerment for women of faith in their season of maternal depression. If you are struggling, remember:

  • You are loved deeply by your heavenly Father. He sees you and He holds you through the storm. He is there.
  • You are not alone. One in seven new mums experience postnatal depression every year in Australia.
  • This is a season. You won’t always feel this way. There is holistic help for your body, soul and spirit.
  • Like climbing a mountain, you will slip back a few steps, then climb again. One step at a time, you can overcome.
  • A first step if you are battling and haven’t told anyone, is telling a trusted friend or family member, and asking them to take you to your G.P. Your G.P. can create a mental health care plan for you.
  • Acknowledgement is the first step to healing. Be brave and do it today!

Be Real

In May 2017, I lost one of my sisters to suicide. She was a beautiful Christian woman in her thirties. She was a child protection counsellor, such a precious soul, who helped so many people in her lifetime. But she hid her wounds behind a bright smile.

Please be real. It’s okay to struggle. Your test becomes your testimony. Life may be painful right now, and even in the future, but now there is help. Now there is hope. There is only one you, and there will only ever be one of you.

Lots of love, Nicki x

* Excerpt from “Encouraging Mums with Hope: Light in the Darkness of Maternal Depression”, Nicki Jeffery (2018), Breath of Fresh Air Press, Australia

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