Family of mum who took her own life speak out about PND

Allison Goldstein with her family.
Allison Goldstein with her family.  

From the outside it looked like Allison Goldstein was blissfully happy. She had a new baby, a loving husband, and was part of a close knit-family.

But behind her smile, Goldstein was suffering from crippling postnatal depression.

After suffering in silence for months, the Chesterfield, Virginia, mother took her own life, leaving a long email to her family to say goodbye.

"I'm so sorry that I didn't know how to describe this pain and seek help," she wrote.

Now Goldstein's family are sharing her story in the hope that it can save someone else.

Goldstein's sister, Mallory Hudson, told NBC that there were no "red flags"; she tragically hid her depression all too well.

"To lose your sister and best friend of 32 years and you just didn't see it coming. I mean without a doubt, you did not see this completely normal new mum to just fall apart so quickly," she said.

Her daughter Ainsley was a happy and healthy baby, and Goldstein called her mother, Carol Matthews, daily to check in and share stories about the baby.

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"If this can happen to Allison, it can happen to anybody," said Matthews.

Now the family wants to share Goldstein's story to appeal to other mums who might also be suffering in silence.

Hudson, a mother of three, said she knows how easy it is to not look after yourself as a new mum.

"You are exhausted. I mean, you are just plain exhausted. And sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not and you really lose perspective and you really lose sight of what's good about being a [mum]."

Adrienne Griffen, the founder of a post-partum support group in Virginia, says that suicide is the leading cause of death for women in the first year post-partum.

"There is so much emphasis on the baby. It's really important to ask the [mum], you know, how are you doing? How are you doing with these changes?"

Goldstein's family and friends all agree that it is important to talk more openly about PND and destigmatise the shame that is often attached to the diagnosis.

"The disease that it is lied to her. It twisted so many of her memories about being a new mum, a wife, so many things, it just lied to her," said Hudson.

"And it's awful, it's scary, and it happens and it happens so much more often than we realise."

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, or know someone who might be, contact BeyondBlue.org.au (call 1300 224 636), LifeLine (call 13 11 14 or chat online after hours), or PANDA National Helpline (1300 726 306).