What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal Depression – Recognising the Symptoms

Babies take some adjusting to and they need to adjust to being in the world. Some mothers find it harder to cope or may have trouble bonding with their baby. Postnatal depression (PND) comes in many different forms; everyone suffers a different combination of symptoms. Some feel better just by admitting they’re not coping and talking, some need a lot more support.

Some symptoms of PND:

  • Feeling tired or lethargic, having little interest in the outside world
  • A sense of not being able to cope, or feeling inadequate
  • Feeling guilty or bad about not coping or not loving your baby enough
  • Feeling like you want to run away from your life or just disappear
  • Being unusually or extra irritable
  • Wanting to cry all the time, for no reason or at the slightest thing
  • Losing your appetite or overeating
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • Being uninterested in your baby
  • Losing interest in sex
  • Having panic attacks
  • Overwhelming anxiety about things that wouldn’t normally bother you
  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
  • Physical symptoms such as stomach pains, headaches and blurred vision
  • Obsessive fears and thoughts about the baby, yourself or others
  • Thoughts about harming yourself or the baby

It is unlikely you will suffer from all of them, but if you can identify with more than a few it’s likely you may need some support. Remember – you aren’t a failure, don’t measure yourself against anyone else. Up to 1 in 4 women suffer, most in silence.

Causes of Postnatal Depression

Most importantly, you MUST believe that you are NOT a failure. Don’t measure yourself against anyone else – you and your baby are unique. PND is not personal, you didn’t deserve to get ill and you haven’t brought this on yourself. However, knowing the causes of PND may help you understand the illness better and will help you on your road to recovery.

Causes include:

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Previous history of mental health issues
  • Depression during pregnancy
  • Unrealistic expectations of parenthood
  • Being a perfectionist – babies aren’t born to an agenda or timetable
  • Disruptive home life/relationship issues
  • Traumatic birth
  • Unwell baby or mother

Celebrities who have experienced PND include:

  • Brooke Shields
  • Suzanne Shaw
  • Sadie Frost
  • Elle Macpherson
  • Fern Britton
  • Zoë Ball
  • Ruby Wax
  • Melinda Messenger
  • Danielle Lloyd

And these are only the ones who have chosen to be open and honest about their experiences.

 

 

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