Donna Emerson is on top in her battle with postnatal depression and has worked hard to lose 60kg. Picture: Patrick Woods
Donna Emerson is on top in her battle with postnatal depression and has worked hard to lose 60kg. Picture: Patrick Woods

Mum loses 60kg in triumph over postnatal depression

The soft voice from a stranger asking "are you all right darling" in a public bathroom made Donna Emerson realise she had postnatal depression.

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital nurse said that realisation coupled with her body size pushed her to start her weight loss journey.

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"I was already nearly 130kg which I knew was a contributing factor to the depression," she said.

"My lifestyle was unhealthy … (but) I just wanted to be a better mum."

Donna Emerson before losing weight. Picture: Supplied
Donna Emerson before losing weight. Picture: Supplied

Within the first six months of signing up to the gym in 2011, Mrs Emerson went off her depression medication and lost 30kg.

"It took me about four months to build the courage up to join a gym because I was hesitant and didn't feel like I belonged there," she said.

"But just that one hour of creche at the gym made me feel something I hadn't felt in a long time - good.

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"There was no pressure, I didn't have to think about the depression, I didn't feel like I was failing."

Donna Emerson wants other women to know there is life after postnatal depression and it is great. Picture: Patrick Woods
Donna Emerson wants other women to know there is life after postnatal depression and it is great. Picture: Patrick Woods

After her second baby in 2014 she lost another 30kg while on maternity leave.

"I didn't realise how unhappy I was when I was that large," Mrs Emerson said.

"I just wanted to be a better mum, a fit mum, or just a mum that could take her kid to the park and sit in the swing, and I can do that now.

"I can fit in the swing and go down the slide, and I can be a better role model."

Mrs Emerson moved to Baringa in 2018 and now has two gym memberships; with ShedIT Fitness and Jetts.

"It doesn't happen overnight, but the more you do it the easier it is," she said.

"It really does make a difference having that bit of exercise, even if it's a walk, to change your mental health."



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