From the outside Charlotte Masterson, her partner Aaron Harbertson and their adorable son Hugo were a portrait of family perfection.
But behind the camera, beyond the happy snaps and the sleeping selfies, Charlotte was fighting an internal war against postnatal depression.
In June 2019, she sadly lost this battle, leaving behind a camera full of happy memories, a heartbroken partner and a little boy who loved her more than anything.
Father’s Tribute to a Loving Mother
Aaron took to social media to share the tragic news, explaining that Charlotte had passed away after a “long battle with post-natal depression and alcoholism.” While he didn’t share the exact cause of death, he did share an extremely poignant message to his lovely partner along with a number of photos of Charlotte in happier times:
To Charlotte, you are the love of my life and gave me the greatest gift possible, a beautiful little boy. It will haunt me for the rest of my life how it went from the pure happiness and love in these photo to this…
I promise to you that I will raise Hugo into the gentleman you would have wanted him to become, tell him stories every day about how kind, caring and beautiful you are and I will give Hugo your engagement ring when he finds the love of his life.
WE LOVE YOU & WILL NEVER FORGET YOU.”
Please Take Postnatal Depression Seriously
Aaron also shared an important message to all women and partners, one that we cannot stress enough:
To any women having or planning to have a baby, please take post-natal depression seriously, make sure you seek help early on and get out as much as possible to baby groups.
Don’t let it ruin your family like it has mine.
To their partners, keep a close eye on them and look out for all of the early symptoms. The earlier it is addressed, the less likely it will transform into something fatal.
Don’t fail your partner like I did.”
You Didn’t Fail…
Aaron’s words are heartbreaking, to say the least. But it’s so important for those who have postnatal depression and those who have a partner with it to understand that this isn’t your fault.
You’re not failing.
Postnatal depression is a terrible illness and Charlotte’s death is a tragic reminder of just how important it is to keep our mental health in check, especially after having a baby.
More Common than We Think
For one in seven mums, pregnancy and new motherhood bring a whole slew of unwanted feelings and unexplained anxiety, fear, guilt, anger and sadness. These feelings can make you feel like you’re not cut out for this, like you’re failing, like you don’t deserve to be a mum.
And, in some rare cases, women can feel that the only way to make the pain stop is to leave it all behind.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Postnatal Depression
The best chance you have to keep postnatal depression away is to know the signs and to seek help as soon as possible. Below are a few things to be aware of:
Where to Get Help
If you are concerned about post-natal depression or anxiety, or about someone you love, then speak with your GP or health professional. You can also call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or your local community or emergency mental health service for advice.
Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) has a Mental Health Checklist online tool that allows expectant and new parents to assess their emotional wellbeing.
Additionally, the websites below may be helpful.
Please, know that if you are struggling, you are not alone. You are not failing and you are not unworthy of support. For the sake of your baby, your family and yourself, speak up and seek help.