Tuesday 27 September 2016

Newly elected TD Kate O'Connell on battling postnatal depression: 'There was a period of six weeks where I felt horrendous'

Published 08/03/2016 | 09:58

Fine Gael Councillor Kate O'Connell
Fine Gael Councillor Kate O'Connell

Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell says she wasn't out of pajamas for two weeks after the birth of her second child

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Kate is 36, runs two pharmacies, has three children (5, 3 and five months) and she’s just been elected to Dail Eireann for the first time.

“I had postnatal depression after my second child was born and it was a far less traumatic birth than my first child.

“My point is you could have a perfect outcome with a healthy child but how your body reacts can be different. I don’t think I was out of a pyjamas for two weeks, I had a shower every day though but that’s because I was breastfeeding,” she says.

She also jokes that she was the proud owner of a Penneys onesie.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to get dressed there were just other things.

Pharmacist and Fine Gael councillor Kate O’Connell with her son Pierce, aged four. Photo: Damien Eagers
Pharmacist and Fine Gael councillor Kate O’Connell with her son Pierce, aged four. Photo: Damien Eagers

“When you have a new baby especially if you’ve other children, something’s got to give,” she adds.

Read more: Kate O'Connell: 'Our foetus had a 10pc chance of being born alive... and my country couldn't facilitate our choices when we needed it most'

That something was picking out clothes. On a serious note though and as a healthcare professional, it wasn’t her clothes that mattered at all.

“Looking back at it now, it was purely a chemical scenario. My baby was healthy and I had a good life, whatever happened inside me I was very down for no tangible reason. There was a period of six weeks where I felt horrendous, it was full blown postnatal depression,” says the Dublin TD.

Another thing she’s serious about is pre-pregnancy health and taking care of your body with good nutrition and an intake of folic acid.

At the end of the day and after having three children, Kate advises new mothers to “give themselves a break, it’s a major thing to go through.”

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