Postnatal depression

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