Kate Miller-Heidke’s Battle With Postnatal Depression

February 15, 2019

Photo: Cole Bennetts

Brisbane singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke’s stellar career has been a mostly joyous journey to the top from humble beginnings as a student at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School where she graduated 20 years ago.

How ironic then that what is shaping to be her greatest musical achievement to date, representing Australia in Eurovision 2019, was born from gut wrenching despair.

The birth of her son Ernie Edward Miller Nuttall in mid-2016 plunged the then 35 year old Miller-Heidke into deep postnatal depression.

Her pain and how she overcame it was to lay the foundation for the spectacular winning performance in the first ever Eurovision – Australia Decides live TV competition, broadcast on SBS last weekend.

In addition to her powerful, entrancing voice and the spectacular cake-like set, the Australia-wide audience was captured by the words of her specially written song Zero Gravity about her struggle to triumph over the dark forces that were out to claim her after Ernie’s birth.

“Zero Gravity is about emerging from depression into balance again” the now Melbourne based performer shared with her Facebook followers.

“It tries to capture the sensation of colour returning to your life, of feeling strong, joyful and relieved.”

The singer explains that it wasn’t until after her son had his second birthday that she finally felt herself again, saying “it was a feeling of transcendence”.

The mum-of-one shared that in a scheduled performance eight weeks after the birth of Ernie,  she “couldn’t remember who I was”.

“I was also grieving for the loss of my old identity, and this came with a powerful layer of guilt for my own selfishness,” she said.

“Zero Gravity is about leaving seriousness behind, something I feel resonates with the essence of the Eurovision Song Contest!”

Zero Gravity’s lyrics begin with:

“Hey you

Stone in my shoe

I’ve been aching, feeling low

You’re so heavy

I have got to let you go”

“I’m totally overwhelmed!” the 37-year-old singer said after winning the right to represent Australia in Eurovision 2019.

“This has been a peak experience already, and I’m dying with excitement at what’s to come.” she said.

“Thanks to everyone who voted, and to all the other artists who provided such a brilliant, eclectic and stiff competition. I’ve had a ball, and I’m so grateful and thrilled that I get to represent Australia at Eurovision in 2019.”

Although classically trained, Miller-Heidke has followed a career in alternative pop music. She was signed to Sony Australia, Epic in the US and RCA in the UK, but is now an independent artist.

In many cases, depression during the perinatal period (pregnancy and the year following birth) isn’t recognised and may get worse. This can interfere with your pregnancy or becoming a parent. Depression doesn’t just affect you – it can affect those around you, including your relationships and your baby’s development. That’s why it’s important to speak to someone if you’re finding it hard to cope. The sooner you get support, the sooner you can get on with enjoying your family. Phone Beyond Blue on1300 224 636