Once upon a time, Post Natal Depression (PND) wasn’t talked about.
Thankfully times have changed, and the stigma has eased.
This may well be due to the willingness of famous folk such as Adele, Brooke Shields, Alanis Morissette, Drew Barrymore and Courtney Cox, to speak out about their own struggles with PND.
In addition to helping reduce the stigma associated with PND, it seems to be helpful for all of us to realise that this is a condition which affects women from all walks of life – even if they do “have it all” – money, fame, nannies, etc.
Up to one in five women will have PND, however the number could be a lot higher as many women simply don’t realise what they are experiencing. Even if they do, they are often reluctant to seek help.
Becoming a mother, whether first time or fifth time around, changes a woman’s life forever. Add that to the fluctuating hormones, sleep deprivation, and the usual responsibilities of life and is it any wonder women are vulnerable?
The Signs of PND
Here are some signs to look for if you are concerned that you (or your friend or family member) might be suffering from post natal depression:
- You no longer enjoy activities you used to love, such as reading or shopping or going out.
- You’ve lost your confidence and suffer from feelings of failure.
- You’ve noticed a lack of appetite, and have lost weight without trying.
- Even when the baby is asleep or somebody else is looking after him/her, you still can’t sleep.
- You feel a sense of hopelessness.
- You are no longer as enthusiastic about social situations, when once you would have been in your element.
- You feel anxious or panicky.
- You’ve lost interest in your partner and may even dislike them!
- You have fears for your baby’s or partner’s safety or wellbeing.
- You have trouble concentrating.
There are many, many symptoms, so if in doubt seek professional help. It is never a waste of time!
Tips to Aid Recovery from PND
If you suspect that you may be suffering from PND, there are some things you can try:
- Seeking support and talking to family, friends and other mums who’ve had PND.
- Getting childcare.
- Journalling your feelings.
- Spending quality time with your partner.
- Eating well and exercising.
- Practising breathing and relaxation techniques.
If things don’t seem to be improving, a trip to the GP should be your next step to get you on the way to recovery from PND. Treatment options include therapy with a psychologist, and/or antidepressant medication.
It may feel like you are going through this alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The sooner you reach out for professional help, the sooner you can achieve recovery from PND – and enjoy life again!
In the meantime, some of the real life stories on this website may help: https://www.panda.org.au/info-support/after-birth/postnatal-recovery-stories/personal-stories-postnatal-depression.
Author: M1 Psychology
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- Postpartum Depression (PPD) Sara Thurgood et al. American Journal of Clinical Medicine, Spring 2009, Volume six, Number two.