It is important to seek help as soon as you start to recognise that you are struggling – the quicker you get help, the sooner you will get better and start to enjoy parenting.
Help comes in many forms but the most important are:
- Be Open and Honest
It can be very hard to ask for help but please ask for it from people you trust – be that family, friends or other mums. Tell at least one person you can trust so that the road to recovery can start. Come to our support group, Parents Supporting Parents, and find comfort in a confidential group where you can share your experiences and feel inspired by mums who have suffered and are now well again.
- Talk to your Health Visitor
People fear that by telling a Health Visitor you are having difficulties you will be judged or even have your baby taken away from you. Many people feel unable to be truthful about their feelings when completing the Edinburgh scale – the test about how you are feeling. No such thing will happen; the Health Visitor will help make plans for your care and recovery.
- Talk to your GP
If you have spoken with your Health Visitor he/she will probably already have asked you to make an appointment with your GP. If not, do so. Make a list of your symptoms or what is bothering you and take a trusted person with you. The doctor may offer you medication and/or counselling. Counselling and anti-depressants are effective treatments for PND.
In addition to medication and counselling, there are lots of self-help techniques to help you get through this journey. Whether you’re feeling any of the symptoms on the symptom checklist, one or all of the following may help you:
- Talk, share, talk and talk some more
Talking is the most valuable tool you can use to help you recover. Talk to friends, family, health visitors, and mums.
Get help with daily chores so you have less to worry about. Keep life as simple as possible and only do the necessary. If certain situations fill you with anxiety avoid them so at least some of the stress disappears.
- You’re good enough just as you are
Comparing yourself to others can leave you feeling inadequate. If you don’t feel like going to all the baby classes then you’re good enough, if you don’t want to get dressed then you’re good enough. ‘You are good enough’ – make this your motto!
- Something has to give
Nobody is a supermum. You can’t keep all the balls in the air, especially with a new baby to deal with it. It doesn’t matter if the dishes need doing – they can wait. Lower your expectations and you will remove stress immediately.
- Keeping Healthy
It’s important to eat as well as possible and if you can, try to do some form of exercise even if it’s just a short walk around the block.
- Me Time
Don’t waste your comfort time doing nothing or watching TV, try some different relaxing activities like reading a good book or magazine, have a hot bath, watch an uplifting film. Sleep is also vital. It’s not always possible to sleep when your baby is (we’re not machines after all) but equally don’t wear yourself out cleaning when you have half an hour to yourself.
- Take each hour as it comes
Looking ahead can be scary, anxieties can increase by worrying about the ‘what ifs’. Reduce your life into manageable chunks.
- This will pass
The biggest healer of PND is time, some days you will feel better but then you may wake one day feeling even lower than a few weeks before. It’s a curious illness and it’s important to remember this is a journey you were not planning on taking but you WILL feel like yourself again, just a stronger you with a life experience under your belt. It might not seem that way but PND is temporary, in your worst moments, repeat to yourself ‘this will pass’.
We are working with local Holistic Therapist Serisa Belle to offer our members relaxing therapies to help them unwind and relax. We are also hoping to offer mobile holistic therapies in a private room during group time in the form of Reiki, Reflexology and Massage.
We are in talks with a local homeopathist to share the benefits of homeopathy with the group.
Baby Yoga is something that helps mums to unwind and bond with their baby. We will soon be offering Baby Yoga to our group members.
Further reading, websites and support groups
Surviving Postnatal Depression by Carla Aiken http://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Post-Natal-Depression-Hears-Scream/dp/1853028614
The Journey by Brandon Bays http://www.amazon.co.uk/Journey-Brandon-Bays/dp/0722538391
SMILE group, Hurdsfield nr Macclesfield http://www.thesmilegroup.org/contacts/
Time for me group, Oakenclough, nr Wilmslow http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/education_and_learning/children_and_families/childrens_centres/oakenclough_childrens_centre/activities_at_oakenclough.aspx
Pandas Foundation (pre and postnatal advice and support) http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/help-and-information/pre-ante-and-postnatal-illnesses/postnatal-depression.html#.UPQKzneiNEI