Singer Missy Higgins on PND: “I knew it had come. I knew I had to ride it out.”

Posted in Wellbeing.

Missy’s about to star in her first ever musical – at the Sydney Opera House, no less. It’s called Miracle City and the promo trail for the production has prompted her to talk a little more about her marriage, being a mum… and postnatal depression.

Indiscriminate and pervasive

If there’s one thing we know about postnatal depression (PND), it’s that it doesn’t discriminate, affecting women and men from all walks of life. 

PND support organisation PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) tells us that depression and anxiety affects up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men during pregnancy. After the birth of a baby, the figures jump to 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads.

Luckily, some great well-known mums and dads are opening up about their experience of PND, using their profiles to raise awareness of the condition and paving the way for other parents to talk about their own struggles – and hopefully seek help.

“It apparently wasn’t my fault”

Take Missy Higgins, for instance. Her frank shares about this debilitating condition provide another glimpse into the toll PND can take. Missy and husband, playwright and comedian Dan Lee, are parents to a 2-year-old son, Sammy.

Missy’s previously spoken about the crippling depression she suffered as a teenager – and the anxiety the pressure of being in the public eye has sparked.

Missy’s dad, Chris, has also dealt with depression for a good chunk of his life, and Missy has noted that when she chatted with him about her own mental health “it was surprisingly comforting to know I wasn’t alone, and that it apparently wasn’t my fault.”

“I knew it had come”

Taking previous experiences and family history into account, you get the sense that the Melbourne singer might have been expecting PND to come knocking. Thankfully, the family were as educated and prepared as they could be, and Missy navigated a challenging time with lots of much-needed support to (slightly) soften the blow.

“I think when it happened I knew it had come and I knew I had to ride it out,” Missy told The Sydney Morning Herald recently.

“I had a lot of support. My husband was very knowledgeable about what to expect as well so he just supported me through it. My hormones were all over the place – but I think not having so much down time now has been really good for me.”

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My new stage tech

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“Your mortality become apparent”

Missy revealed that becoming a mother shifted her perspective and shed light on some dark elements.

“I’ve become quite aware of death in a weird way since having a child,” she admitted. “I tend to get fixated on things. I became quite fixated on the Apocalypse and death and all these slightly macabre topics. They’ve all channelled their way into my songs – I think whenever you give birth to the next generation your mortality become apparent all of a sudden.”

These feelings of dread and impermanence have prompted worries about toddler Sammy and what the future will bring.

“I’m afraid of leaving him to the world and I am afraid of the world I am leaving him in too.”

In this Trump-era world, these are very relatable feelings, we think…

If you – or someone you know – are expecting a baby or have recently become a parent, and are finding things super-tough, please get in touch with the good folk at PANDA. They’re on standby, ready to support mums and dads through difficult times.

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And then of course I arrive home to this

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Infinity wall

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