Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Debbie Aims to Help Mums Feel Peachy

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Debbie Aims to Help Mums Feel Peachy

Article excerpt

Byline: Cristen Lynam

aIF ONLY I could throw the baby out the window and leave here.a

It was a thought that, mercifully, never played out, but it was the turning point for a mum struggling to cope with the devastating effects of postnatal depression after the birth of her second child.

For 42-year-old mum Debbie Spink, the awful realisation had struck that she was becoming a danger to her children.

Thanks to an alert obstetrician, she was put in touch with a psychiatrist whose help she so desperately needed.

The psychiatrist told her that she had a real illness and was not in control of her thoughts and feelings.

With this timely intervention, Debbie got a handle on her illness and now enjoys a happy life with husband Anthony, 42, and their daughters Alex, 9, and Charlotte, 7, at their home in Brisbane's north.

The former physiotherapist is drawing on her experiences to raise awareness of the harsh realities of perinatal mental illness through her fledgling charity, Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness.

Debbie formed the not-for-profit association in March last year with close friend Viv Kissane, who also suffered PND after the birth of her third child four years ago.

With a catchcry of, aWe understand that being a parent isn't always peachya, Peach Tree aims to promote understanding, acceptance, education and support for women, and men, who suffer perinatal mental illness.

Antenatal and postnatal depression, the baby blues and postpartum psychosis, all fall under the umbrella of perinatal mental illness.

Debbie said she believed her illness began antenatally, but wasn't diagnosed until after her second daughter, Charlotte, was born.

While it took a great deal of courage for Debbie to speak openly about her illness, she dismisses the abravea tag.

aThere is a long way to go to remove the stigma surrounding perinatal mental illness,a she said.

aIt should not require bravery to be open and honest about the reality of living with mental illness.

aWe should not have to fear judgment and experience withdrawal from our family, friends and the public.

aI very much look forward to the day when someone can speak openly and honestly about the reality of mental illness and it's no longer considered brave. …

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