Everyone pictures that having a baby should be one of the most happiest moments in your life but that can be so far from the truth for a lot of us mums. Giving birth and being so new to the world of motherhood can be tough!
You’re given this new, fragile and helpless human to look after. They’re dependant on you and are learning everything from you. Of course parenting doesn’t come with a manual and every child is different so this is a huge learning curve to all parents too. On top of this you have to deal with turbulent hormones, sleepless nights and society expectations of you having to have this instant love and bond with your child. In fact there is so much pressure put on parents. Your choices on feeding method, sleep arrangements etc.
It is no wonder why more than 1 in every 10 women a year is affected by postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can also affect fathers and partners too.
So here’s what to look out for:
Baby blues lasting “too long”
Baby blues is very common and completely normal after having a baby, however it should last no longer then 2 weeks after giving birth.
Feelings of sadness or feeling numb
Frequently crying for no reason
Losing interest in things you once enjoyed
Loss of appetite or comfort eating
Distancing yourself from others
Difficulty bonding with baby
Low moods, Feeling hopeless and guilty
Frightening thoughts such as causing harm to baby
Thoughts of suicide and Self -harm
Hallucinations (postpartum psychosis)
Where and how to get help
There is loads of services available to help you if you think you may have PND. Speak to your GP, health visitor or midwife. They will assess your moods and put you in the right direction for treatment.
This could be Therapy route using 1-to-1 service, in groups or online sessions. These sessions can last anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks depending on area.
Self-help guide for low moods:
- Talk! talking is so important and it helps lift weight off your shoulders. This could be a partner or friends or a complete stranger. Whoever you feel comfortable with talk it out with them and make it a regular thing. I recommend 7cups.com if you feel like talking online is best for you.
- Make time for yourself! – Yes this can seem so daunting at first but you are still your own person not just a mum. Make time for yourself to do things you enjoy be it a bath in peace, getting your hair done or reading a book. Put some time aside and relax.
- Rest when you can – Having a newborn baby is tiring and lack of sleep can seriously affect your moods. In them early days don’t worry about housework focus on getting rest.
- Eat well – Try not to go long periods without food.
- Exercise – This doesn’t have to be anything major but just get out for a walk. Exercise is a great mood booster.
- Don’t be “supermum” – You are only human and you can no do everything, if you need help don’t refuse it and don’t be afraid to ask for help either. If someone wants to come around and do the dishes for you let them and make the most out of it.
PANDAS (Pre and postnatal depression and advice service) – 0843 28 98 401 (UK)
Mind (Mental health charity) – 0300 123 3393 – firstname.lastname@example.org (UK)
Netmums (Online parenting forum worldwide) – netmums.com
Crisis Text Line – 741741 (UK & USA)
7cups (free online therapy) – 7cups.com