Perinatal anxiety and depression affects up to 1 in 5 new and expectant mums—and in Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for mothers during pregnancy and the first year of their baby’s life . Perinatal mental illness is common, and can be devastating for women and their families. So why aren’t we talking about it?
On Wednesday 6 May 2020 (World Maternal Mental Health Day) Not Keeping Mum, a new collection of writing, will be launched to help break the silence around the shocking reality of perinatal mental illnesses in Australia. The book features confessional essays, fiction and poetry by twenty-two authors from across the country, edited by Maya Linden (Just Between Us and Mothers and Others) with a preface by Anne Buist, Professor of Women’s Mental Health (Austin Health, University of Melbourne) and author of Natalie King trilogy and The Long Shadow.
“As a perinatal psychiatrist I know how fearful women can be—but how brave and determined they are to be the best mother they can, sometimes against the odds”, says Buist. “Heartfelt, at times confronting and occasionally funny, this collection gives insight into how women navigate the profound changes that occur in their bodies, relationships and lives when they become a parent—and how they find the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Inspired by her own experiences of postnatal anxiety and depression—and knowing how writing through the illness helped her survive and recover—author and editor Maya Linden’s goal was to create a collection that opened up conversations on the topic:
“Nine weeks after the birth of my daughter, and with no history of mental illness, I slipped overnight into a terrifying episode of anxiety and depression which saw me hospitalised twice in the first year. But during all my many prenatal health appointments no one told me about this risk and how common it really is. Awareness needs to be increased so women can be prepared for the possibility perinatal mental illness and not feel so scared and alone if they do go on to be affected.”
All profit from book sales goes to PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia).
- Extracts available for reprint.
- Copies available for review, giveaway or promotion.