Postnatal depression is often confused with baby blues but they are totally different. Postnatal depression is an illness for which you need to seek help.
Symptoms of postnatal depression include:
- Feeling unable to cope.
- Feeling unable to care for your baby.
- Crying frequently.
- Either over eating or losing your appetite.
- Constantly feeling tired and lacking energy and motivation.
- Unable to sleep.
In this country postnatal depression is widely misunderstood and as a result many women are too ashamed to admit to feeling this way. If you think you may be suffering from postnatal depression please speak to someone; it could be your partner, a friend or family member, or your health visitor or GP. It can be very hard to take that first step and confide in someone, having personal experience of postnatal depression I can honestly say getting help makes a huge difference and leaves you free to enjoy your precious time with your baby. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother or that you don’t love your baby. It is a condition that affects over 10% of mum’s, so remember you are not alone.
GP’s are able to offer very effective treatments for postnatal depression:
- Antidepressants can be given to balance chemicals in the brain. They can take up to 4 weeks to take affect so persevere with them. There are some antidepressants that can be taken whilst breastfeeding.
- Counselling can be offered alone or combined with antidepressants.
I found the following very helpful when suffering with depression:
- Exercise was probably the thing that made the biggest difference. It leaves you feeling great as it increases the production of serotonin.
- Get your baby in the pram and go out for a walk. The combination of getting exercise and daylight will boost your mood. Getting out of the house also gives you a sense of freedom. A crying baby doesn’t seem so bad when you are in an out in the open!
- Go out and visit friends and family or go to a mother and baby group. Company makes the time pass quicker and makes you feel a bit more like you not just a mummy.
- Eat healthily.
- Don’t try to be superwoman, accept all offers of help gratefully.
- I know that all of the above seem almost impossible if you feel depressed, but take one step at a time. I remember how hard it was just getting out of bed but with help you can get better.
For help and advice contact Association for Postnatal Depression: 020 7386 0868