I don’t know who to talk to. I feel I’m at breaking point inside although you would not tell from the outside because I look like a super mum – Do you think I’ve got post-natal depression?
You may find that the weeks and months after your baby is born are not the happy time you expected. Post natal depression is a possibility for everyone who has had a baby. I’m not sure when you delivered or if this is your first child. Current medical opinion suggests that postnatal depression (PND) occurs in 1 in 10 new mothers, with different degrees of severity. You must speak to your GP or Health Visitor as soon as you can.
Being a ‘super-mum’ can be exhausting, but some women are naturally like that. If you can take time out to rest then do so. But only if this helps you. If the thought of washing not done, cleaning not up to date aswell as a baby to care for is too much. You must find the balance in life which is right for you.
True PND is indicated by a number of symptoms - the mix will vary between individuals, but usually includes some or all of the following. A general feeling of lowness over a prolonged period of time; perhaps crying over the smallest things; lethargy and exhaustion; being unable to bond with your baby ; Anxiety and panic attacks; a sense of isolation from your partner, family and friends. There are many. These can appear up to a year after the birth, but more usually appear within the early months. Recognising the signs of postnatal depression is a crucial first step to dealing with it.
You could also seek social support by contacting the Association for Postnatal Illness www.apni.org, an organisation specifically run to help women with postnatal depression. As well as offering advice, sympathy and information covering all aspects of PND, it can also arrange one-to-one support from its network of volunteer counsellors across the UK.
MIND* (National Association for Mental Health) provides a means of building social contacts - the organisation has over 200 branches across England and Wales, most of which offer counselling services for individuals suffering from depression and other mental health problems. Some areas will also have specific support for postnatal depression. MIND’s helpline offers advice and information (including a booklet called Understanding Postnatal Depression) www.mind.org.uk.