Group sessions did the trick

23:16, Mar 12 2014
Kate Goodwin
Sleepless: Kate Goodwin said her postnatal distress was so severe she suffered sleepless nights and found it difficult to bond with her baby

Kate Goodwin was left bed-ridden with postnatal distress and admitted she felt her world was crashing around her.

The 33-year-old said the birth of her third child coupled with the grief she suffered after her father died brought on severe anxiety.

She couldn't sleep, she began to resent her newborn baby and shamed herself into believing she wasn't a good mother.

Her personal story is like so many other mothers who suffer from postnatal depression.

While 36 weeks pregnant with her third child Haley, Kate and her husband moved from Australia to Blenheim in November 2010. Ten months later her father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

"In the first year of Haley's life we made eight trips back to Australia where we watched my dad die," she said. "I resented her for making it hard for me to see my dad."


While grieving for her father and juggling caring for their toddler James, then 17 months and Haley, Kate said severe anxiety set in.

"I lost my confidence and I couldn't get my head around the day-to-day. The important things were out of my control. The hardest thing for women is to show you can do everything and not complain about it.

"I was stressed out and wasn't sleeping. When I get stressed I get psoriasis and skin was falling off my hands. My whole world was falling apart I couldn't get out of my bed in the morning"

When Haley was 6 weeks old, Kate turned to Fern House's group therapy sessions run by the PND Marlborough Charitable Trust at Barnardos in Blenheim. Fern House doesn't have its own building, but hopes to get one in the future. Led by a family counsellor and mental health social worker, the group is an open forum for mothers to share their experiences.

Listening to other mothers in the same position, together with the support of her husband, was key to Kate's recovery.

"Fern House made me feel safe. I could speak to other mothers who were going through the same thing and I didn't feel like a leper.

"Fern House has been a constant. Each week I could go back, have a rant and rave, come home and feel a normal person. If Fern House had not been there I would be in the same rut."

The Marlborough Express