PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia) have shared a heart-warming letter to a café owner, in a Facebook post that has shone a light on the importance of kindness.
The letter, written by an anonymous mother who was suffering from postnatal depression (PND) explains how the kindness of a café owner made a difference to her day.
The young mother had been staying at a mother and baby unit, being treated for PND and had ventured out for a walk and a coffee. The walk led to an encounter with a café owner that gave the anonymous mum a huge lift and allowed her to "see a bit of blue sky though all of the clouds."
"It reminded me that sometimes the smallest kindness can make a difference," she wrote to PANDA.
Hoping to thank the café owner the mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote him a letter, but didn't get the chance to pass it on. Hoping that PANDA could share it via social media she sent it to them saying:
"I wanted to post it on their Facebook page, or share it on social media so others could think about how they might be interacting with people with depression on any given day, but I wanted to remain anonymous.
"So I thought maybe I could send it to PANDA with the hope you might be able to use it somehow as part of your communications."
PANDA shared the letter on their Facebook page on November 24th and it has already generated thousands of 'likes'. Commenters have begun to share their own stories about the kindness of strangers.
"Cafes were my saviour when I had PND...a reason to get out and feel part of life and not just invisible at home - it was therapy to me – I now take my 5 year old to a cafe when ever we feel down - cafes are wonderful places," says Tara.
Similarly, Phillippa says: "The smallest acts of kindness mean the world when you're battling depression, it really is like a bolt of sunshine through the clouds. I remember being extra-sensitive to acts like this and feeling the need to express my gratitude so that the person knew they had made a difference. Bravo to this cafe owner."
"That's so very nice of the cafe owner. Probably could see she was struggling. Your sensitivity to people's behaviour are so heightened when at your lowest. All I remember is wanting to be hugged and never to be left alone.," commented Charmaine.
PND affects as many as one in seven new mothers and in severe cases can be debilitating. PANDA note that symptoms can begin suddenly after birth or appear gradually in the weeks or months during the first year after birth.
Speaking on their facebook page, PANDA said they were "heartened" to hear about the café owner's act of kindness and urged people to share the post so that it might get back to the café owner who had "showed such compassion."
The Letter reads:
"Dear Café owner, you must have thought I was a bit strange when I stood outside your café trying to open the door when clearly you had just closed. You might not remember me; I had a baby in a pram and a hospital wrist band on.
"I wanted to thank you for inviting me in out of the heat and kindly making me a coffee even though you probably wanted to go home.
"When you asked if I'd walked from the hospital I was too embarrassed to tell you I've got postnatal depression and my baby doesn't sleep and I'm just exhausted. Walking to a café for a break was what I needed as much as the coffee.
"It reminded me of the saying; 'be kind to everyone you meat because you don't know what battles they're fighting.' Thank you."
Anyone feeling they need may be suffering from PND can contact PANDA on 1300 726 306. Or visit their website www.panda.org.au.