You may find that the weeks and months after your baby is born are not the happy time you expected. If you are feeling tired, confused and unable to cope, you may be suffering from postnatal depression. Current medical opinion suggests that postnatal depression (PND) occurs in 1 in 10, with different degrees of severity.
If your feelings do not begin to stabilise, you may be suffering from postnatal depression. Postnatal depression has many symptoms - the mix will vary between individuals, but usually includes some or all of the following;
- Lethargy and exhaustion
- Being unable to bond with your baby
- Feeling unmotivated and unable to perform everyday tasks; even looking after yourself and the baby may seem an impossible chore
- A sense of isolation from your partner, family and friends
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Feeling that your life is drained of pleasure
- Thoughts of self-blame and insecurity
- Feeling at risk of harming yourself or your baby
Postnatal depression is an illness, so, professional intervention is necessary if the sufferer is to regain her health and peace of mind. If you think that you may be suffering from PND, it is extremely important that you seek help as soon as possible. Talk first to your GP or health visitor.
Anti-depressants often form a part of the initial treatment. Some women feel unhappy at the prospect of taking pills, but these can play an essential role, helping to lift your mood while the causes of the depression are tackled. Most anti-depressants are non-addictive, and some can be taken safely if you are breastfeeding (advise your doctor if this is the case).
Your GP may also refer you for counselling sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist. This treatment can help you to unravel the causes of the depression, allowing you to come to terms with your problems in a safe and controlled environment.
The Association for Postnatal Illness (www.apni.org) is an organisation run to help women with postnatal depression. http://apni.org/Post-Natal-Deperession-Leaflet.html may be a helpful link.
http://www.home-start.org.uk/needsupport/ is an organisation which may be able to assist with practical support.