Single mother of four Katie Lithgow gets a of love from her young brood, but for several years the Pakenham woman felt sad and alone. The 33-year-old credits the Raphael Centre for helping her get through Post Natal Depression and to find happiness in life again.
“I was 28 when I found out I was pregnant with my second and I was really happy,” she said.
“I had my first son Jack when I was 19 and was ready for another one.”
The pregnancy went well but after giving birth to Lucy, Katie was overwhelmed with exhaustion and sadness. Twelve weeks later, she discovered she was pregnant with her third child and the depression deepened.
“I was worried the whole time. I had to have a caesarean with Lucy so I knew I would have to have another one and I was worried about recovering while dealing with two small babies,” she said.
“I wasn’t positive about anything. Everything was just stressful. I remember wondering why I felt so sad. I had so many great things, but I felt like I was in a dark hole and couldn’t;’t get out. It was just awful.”
Ms Lithgow was so consumed with guilt so she never told anyone how she felt. She was also worried that if she did expose her feelings, her children would be taken off of her. For years, Ms Lithgow push her feelings aside, but after having her fourth child Emily in July last year, the sadness surfaced again.
“I decided to go to my GP and tell him how I was feeling. It was such a big step for me and it was such a relief. I had kept this secret for so long and I didn’t need to,” she said. “The doctor explained to me that the Post Natal Depression (PND) has to do with my hormones and my body. I could have everything in the world and still suffer. Until then, I didn’t really know what depression was but now I have a better understanding of it.”
Ms Lithgow was referred to the Raphael Centre, through St John of God in Berwick, who helped her deal with the PND. She said life had since gotten a lot better hoped that other people feeling the same way also seek help.
“They were amazing and I am a lot happier now,” she said.
“ I wish I would have done it sooner. I just hope more people will come forward and say how they are feeling and seek help.”