Postnatal depression affects more than 2 in every 10 women. This is no longer a taboo subject, it’s 2017 now, we can all read about the facts, so lets reach out and start supporting the women we think may need it.
Firstly, if you have Postnatal depression, please understand, it is not your fault and yes it can happen to anyone. Do not suffer in silence, as the right treatment will make you feel so much better. You are already stronger than you think, as every day you are battling with your own conscience.
Spot the signs
Here are some of the most common symptoms, if you feel unsure or perhaps want to help someone close to you.
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- feeling that you’re unable to look after your baby
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- loss of appetite or an increased appetite (comfort eating)
- feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic (you “can’t be bothered”)
- feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame
- difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in his or her company
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they’re very rarely acted upon
- thinking about suicide and self-harm.
A new study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has found that 81% of women surveyed had experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy and sadly only 7% of these women received the specialist care they needed.
Don’t fight it
As if being pregnant and labour isn’t hard enough, then for the next year of what should be the happiest time if your life, you are battling with this immense guilt for no apparent reason. There are so many women who go undiagnosed as they think they can just get through it and tomorrow will be a better day. Well let me tell you, you are not on the front line in the Middle East, so you do not need to be a soldier. It certainly does not make you less of a Mum for admitting you need help, it makes you a great Mum.
You’re not alone
I wish I had seeked help on my first child. Most days I tormented myself and cried and put on a brave face, when deep down couldn’t connect with being a Mum and just didn’t enjoy it. I just got through it and wiped away the tears, but boy didn’t it drag on. If I only knew how easy it would have been to get help, all of those months of feeling like I didn’t deserve my child would have been minimized. I feel like I threw what should have been some of his best baby months away, when I could have got help and felt happier. I pretty much went back to work full time as an escapism away from him, it makes me feel terrible looking back now. That little boy sure didn’t get the best of me.
If you do feel this way, it is completely normal and you are not alone. Reach out to anyway you feel you can talk to, whether it’s your family, friend, GP, midwife or a therapist. This can all go away and you can be the Mum you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you will never have a down day, as that is part of sleep deprived motherhood, however those days will be very few and far between.
If you would like to participate in group exercise with your baby and join other Mum’s who maybe feeling the same, please get in contact. Exercise is a great aid in lifting mood naturally and this class will help you bond with your precious baby.