What you should know about Postnatal Depression
It’s time to get real, be honest and talk about a serious condition affecting everyday men and women.
New babies usually bring joy and happiness to families, unfortunately this is not always the case. It can also be an extremely stressful time that requires a lot of adjustments for both mums and dads. For some, baby blues come and go, while others suffer from postnatal depression.
Symptoms of Postnatal Depression
It is important to know that postnatal depression (PND) does not always happen right after birth; for some women it can occur months later. Adjusting to life with a new baby can take time and as a result postnatal depression symptoms are often confused with the new ‘normal’ of living with a newborn. This can make it harder to diagnose which leaves new mothers (and fathers) waiting longer before seeking professional help.
There are several symptoms that alone are nothing to be concerned about, though when you begin to suffer from a number of these, it might be worth speaking to your doctor about. These include:
Struggling to connect with your baby – if you struggle to connect with your new baby but cannot understand why, this could be a sign of PND. For others it just takes time.
Inability to cope – struggling to cope is a very common sign of PND. A once very independent woman could find herself now struggling to do basic things like caring for her child, cleaning or even looking after herself. These tasks can seem overwhelming for mums and dads suffering from postnatal depression.
Feeling alone – some women have described this feeling as being in the dark and experiencing the sense of loneliness even though they are surrounded by loved ones.
Inadequacy – For some women, even months after their baby is born still doubt their abilities and worth as a mother. Negative thoughts and constant self-put downs only make it harder for them to believe they are a good mum.
Crying – After pregnancy, your hormones are all over the place and your body has to adjust. Often this can be show in the form of unexplainable tears and sadness. This could be put down to ‘baby blues’ however if it is still occurring after a couple of weeks post birth, you should discuss this with your GP.
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What you can do about PND
PND is a serious condition that if not diagnosed early enough can take its toll on not only the sufferer, but also their relationships. Recognise the symptoms and try and catch it early!
If you or someone you know exhibits some of these symptoms, it is OK to talk about it or ask for help. In fact it is advised and encouraged. Despite the stigma that postnatal depression comes with, you aren’t alone and it will get better. You don’t have to be that mum who is too embarrassed to discuss it out of fear of being judged or feeling less of a parent because you are struggling.
It is important to remember that postnatal depression does not discriminate. It could be your first baby or your tenth. You could be a stay at home mum or a serious career woman. It can happen to anyone!
If you want more information on postnatal depression or resources to help visit the PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) website TODAY!