For many people, the birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. The birth of a baby is an amazing time that brings on a confusing mixture of powerful emotions from excitement and joy one minute to fear and anxiety the next.
Many new moms experience the ‘baby blues’, which lasts from a couple of days after delivery for up to two weeks. However, a more serious condition can develop which is longer lasting and features much more severe symptoms, and is known as post natal depression.
If you are suffering from post natal depression, recognising the symptoms and getting prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy your new baby.Often, moms suffering from post natal depression cannot see it in themselves, or may not reach out for help, this is why it is very important that partners, and family members or even friends remain vigilant and never ignore the signs of post natal depression.
Recognising post natal depression
Post natal depression is often labeled at baby blues when the symptoms first appear. However, the signs and symptoms of post natal depression are more intense, last longer, and often interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks.
While the symptoms normally develop in the first few weeks of giving birth, they can take up to six months after birth to begin.
Post natal depression Symptoms
Symptoms of post natal depression can include:
– Depressed mood or severe mood swings
– Excessive crying
– Withdrawing from your family and friends
– Difficulty bonding with your baby
– Severe changes in appetite
– Overwhelming fatigue
– Intense irritability
– Feelings of being worthless
– Inability to make decisions
– Anxiety and panic attacks
– Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
– Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, post natal depression can last for months or years.
It is important to see your doctor if your feelings aren’t getting any better after two weeks, are getting worse, or are impairing your ability to care for yourself or your baby.
If at any time you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, you need to get help immediately. Tell your partner or a loved one, or call 999 for immediate help.
What Causes post natal depression
While there hasn’t been a single cause identified as being the cause of post natal depression, the physical and emotional issues are thought to play a role in the development of post natal depression.
Physical Changes – After a woman gives birth to a baby, there is an immediate drop in hormones, which is thought to contribute to post natal depression.
Emotional Challenges – When you have a baby, you are often left feeling overwhelmed and sleep deprived. This can lead to you feeling anxious, and feel as though you have lost control of your life. These feelings can contribute to post natal depression.
Even if you didn’t experience post natal depression after the birth of your first child, you could still experience it after the birth of other children.
The risk of developing post natal depression increases when:
– You have a history of depression
– Your baby has health problems
– You experience other stressful life events
– You have a lack of a support system in place
– Your pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
– Overwhelm and isolation in taking care of a new baby can also cause undue stress to the new mother.
Post Natal Depression And Dads
While many people believe that post natal depression is something that only affects new moms, it can also affect dads, even if their partner is unaffected. In dad’s post natal depression is called Paternal Postnatal Depression and can affect up to one in every four new dads.
Depression, anxiety and other mood problems can occur at any point in the first year of your baby’s life. It is just as important for dad’s to get help as it is for moms.
Suffering from post natal depression isn’t a character flaw or weakness. There is no need to suffer alone and admitting that you need help doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent, in fact, reaching out for help shows that you are a good parent and want the best for you and your family.
Post natal depression is temporary and treatable with professional help.
At Citizen Counselling and Coaching a number of our counsellors and coaches can provide support around depression and low mood. This can include identifying the obstacles overcoming depression, creating practical plans and advice through sharing techniques and models that have worked for others.
Our ‘My Depression Coach’ online programme and Coaching were designed for time poor busy people looking to increase their confidence and make a positive change in their lives.
Our Overcoming Depression page can explain more.