By Abbey Cannan
Experiencing first-hand the lows of postnatal depression, a Noosa resident is now wanting to empower other mums by offering vital support through real, honest, and humorous viewpoints.
“How do I keep this human alive?” is a question many first-time mums, including Renee Bennett, have asked themselves after bringing their newborn home from the hospital.
Renee said it was an overwhelming and confusing time when the “honeymoon period” of being in a private hospital with supportive midwives came to an end.
“I experienced the highs, but mostly lows, of childbirth and early motherhood,” she said.
“For a long time, I tried to convince myself that I was sane and everything was going well, when realistically it was a lie.”
Her first-born Lucinda was nine months old when Renee finally realised she was suffering postnatal depression.
“It was a Friday afternoon, she refused sleep, she was overtired, which is the least I can say for me,” Renee said.
“She cried, and all I could do was grip my hands at the cot and cry and cry. I gently succumbed to her stubbornness and my lack of control and put her in the pram and went for a walk.
“I cried so loud and collapsed in the street when neighbours came rushing to me, I was saved. I will never forget my beautiful neighbours for this. I was heard. Finally, I felt I the carer was being cared for.”
It’s just the baby blues. It starts right after birth. It goes away on its own. It only happens to women. It can be prevented.
These are just some of the common misconceptions around postnatal depression (PND).
“You won’t just get over it or snap out of it. PND is a treatable medical condition,” Renee said.
“Support is vital for both mental and physical health of the mother and the family.
“It helps reduce the stress and mum has a more positive attitude towards bub and the household.”
After leaving her job as a Newborn Hearing Screener at the Royal Childrens Hospital in Melbourne to move to Noosa three years ago, Renee knew she wanted to work with mums and babies again.
“Loads of research later I discovered there was limited postnatal support options in Noosa for new mums,” she said.
“Noosa is a transient market popular with interstate families with lack of family support and the vibe of a tribe. Unfortunately, most of the support services are inconveniently located further down the coast as far as Caloundra.”
That’s when she decided to create a new service for Noosa, called Mumma & Co.
“Whether you’re a first, second, or fifth time mum the challenges of the first months after baby arrives are uniquely different to any other time in your child’s life … and your own,” she said.
“Research shows that mums, dads, and babies (the whole brood) have an easier time with a transition into their new life if a good support team is in place.
“Mumma & Co. will provide evidenced-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care.
“While that’s all important, so is the self-care of the mother. So aside from the practical and serious stuff, I will connect new mums to all the fun stuff that mums need for time out.
“I want to engage and support newborn mums in an approachable yet professional manner providing resources, local services and advice from health professionals in Noosa and the surrounding areas here on the Sunshine Coast.”
For more information on Renee and her new business, visit https://mummaandco.com.au