Updated: Jan 20, 2020
Having had Postnatal Depression after the birth of each of my three children, supporting new parents & raising awareness is something close to my heart.
It is estimated that over 35,000 new mothers in England & Wales suffer PND (Postnatal Depression) in silence! 10-15 in every100 women each year will have PND & 1 in 10 new dads will also suffer with PND.
Be aware new parents do not suffer with PND because they have or haven't done something.
Baby Blues or Postnatal Depression?
8 out of 10 mothers will be affected by the Baby Blues & is considered normal, taking effect in the first few days following childbirth & lasting on average 10 days to 2 weeks.
The causes of the 'blues' are physical, emotional as well as hormonal & the feelings will generally fade.
Hormones are plummeting & rising, birth trauma, difficulty breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, wanting to be the perfect mother & family history of depression can all contribute to the Baby Blues.
Symptoms of Baby Blues include:
Crying for no apparent reason
Inability to control emotions
Inability to sleep & fatigue
How to Treat Baby Blues ~
Talk to friends & family: Don't feel guilty about your feelings, people want to help so let them.
Take some time for you: Let friends & family help with baby so you can take a bath or have a nap. As for those jobs around the house ~ you spent weeks nesting so give yourself a break, those jobs will wait or ask for help with some of them.
Get out: It can seem daunting getting you & your newborn all dressed up to go out, but you'll feel better getting some fresh air & seeing people.
Eat: It's easy to forget about yourself when caring for a newborn, but you need to stay healthy & eating well will help your recovery & energy levels.
Don't feel guilty: You may have expected to be a bright, bubbly ready for anything new mum; however the reality may be a little different to begin with. Remeber your body has been through some major changes & may take a while to adjust! You are also adjusting to new routines.
If these feelings don't go away after 2-3 weeks you may be suffering with Postnatal Depression.
This normally occurs in the first three months following birth, although can set in after three months; but not generally. Postnatal Depression is not always picked up straight away if you have any of the following symptoms have a chat with your health professional about how you feel.
Loss of energy
Loss of interest in activities
Feelings of guilt
Feelings of loss
Obvious change to appetite
Difficulty bonding with baby
Acknowledgment is the first step to recovery. You will get better!
Try to talk to your partner, family member or close friend. Let them know how you feel, you don't need to go into detail. You may not understand your feelings at this point and that is ok!
Seek medical advice from your Health Visitor or GP. If you feel able take someone close to you along. This is a positive step and nothing but good will come from it. You may feel apprehensive, but the GP, Midwife & Health Visitor will support you to feeling better.
Treatment may involve talking to a Specialist or/and medication, neither are to be feared!
Repeat ~ "I am a mother, not a robot".
Life as a new can be exhausting & overwhelming! Give yourself a break. It takes time to get used to the huge changes in your life.
It's ok to ask for help.
It's ok to ask those close to you to watch baby so you can take a shower or a nap.
It's ok need to need some alone time.
Rest ~ easier said than done, but you can watch daytime tv, you are allowed to nap.
Make plans ~ meet up with friends. Do you have friends with babies? If not look at small numbered baby groups to join where you won't feel uneasy.
Do something you enjoy.
Exercise ~ always a positive, even if it's a walk around the block.
Diet ~ a healthy diet can help with well-being, although there is nothing wrong with indulging occasionally in our favourite foods!