Understanding post natal depression
Postnatal Depression (PND) is still an illness that is not widely understood by mums who experience it, or by their family and friends, yet a number of recent surveys have shown that around one in three mothers will suffer. Nevertheless, it is often viewed with shame and guilt by the sufferer,almost as if having postnatal depression makes you a "bad mother".
Do you feel that something just isn't right...that you just don't feel yourself? Could post-natal depression be a possibility?
If you are suffering from 2 or 3 of the following you may have post-natal depression
- Constantly feeling tired.
- No energy
- Sleeping problems - can't get to sleep or waking in the early hours and not being able to get back to sleep
- Crying a lot, often over the smallest things or for no reason at all
- Can't eat or over-eating
- Feeling emotionally disconnected from or even rejected by the baby or
- Overly anxious and over protective of the baby
- Lack of motivation to get up and do anything
- A constant underlying sense of anxiety maybe escalating into panic attacks
- Easily "set off" and difficult to calm down
- Difficulty concentrating, say on a book or film or even on a conversation
- Putting on a front
- Feeling like you are playing out a role rather than just living the moment
- Strange, frightening thoughts or visions popping into your head about harming yourself or the baby or awful things happening
- Feeling lonely and isolated
- Perhaps feeling rejected by friends, family, even your partner and your baby or children
- Sense of feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
- No interest in sex
- Feeling guilty about everything - especially about being a such bad mother
- Physical aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach pains or blurred vision and worrying that it is something terminal or serious.
What causes PND?
We don't know enough to be sure who will or won't get it. There is probably no single reason, but a number of different stresses may add up to cause it. You are more likely to have PND if you:
- have had depression (especially PND) before
- do not have a supportive partner
- have a premature or sick baby
- lost your own mother when you were a child
- have had several recent life stresses - bereavement, unemployment, housing or money problems
Even so, PND can start for no obvious reason, without any of these stresses, and having these problems does not mean that you will definitely have PND.
FINALLY, even if you have been depressed for a while, support, counselling and medication can all help you to get better. It's never too late.