Post natal depression can range from the baby blues to dangerous thoughts of self harm or harm to your child so if you feel like you or someone you know may be suffering from PND it’s important to seek professional help.
While PND does go away eventually it’s extremely difficult and upsetting, and anyone dealing with it should know that they have people and facilities to aid them through this difficult time.
Signs to watch out for
While the symptoms of PND effect different women in different ways here are some of the usual symptoms.
- low mood for long periods of time (a week or more)
- feeling irritable for a lot of the time
- panic attacks or feeling trapped in your life
- difficulty concentrating
- lack of motivation
- lack of interest in yourself and your new baby
- feeling lonely
- feeling guilty, rejected or inadequate
- feeling overwhelmed
- feeling unable to cope
- difficulty sleeping and feeling constantly tired
- physical signs of tension, such as headaches, stomach pains or blurred vision
What causes PND?
The cause of PND is not completely clear as it does not usually have a single cause, but is the result of a combination of factors.
Generally, depression is caused by emotional and stressful events, such as moving house, the break-up of a relationship, the death of a relative or having a baby.
Stressful events around the birth of your child can increase your risk of getting PND including a difficult delivery, money worries, previous mental health problems and health issues.
What to do
The support and understanding of your partner, family and friends can play a big part in your recovery.
However, to benefit from this, it is important for you to talk to those who are close to you and explain how you feel and not bottle up your feelings.
The support and advice from social workers or counsellors can be very helpful if you have PND. Self-help groups can also provide you with good advice about how to cope with the effects of PND, and you may find it reassuring to meet other women who feel the same as you.
Ask your health visitor about the services in your area. In some cases, medication may be advised.
Getting back to yourself
Remember if you’re suffering from PND that it is only a temporary feeling and you will not feel this way forever.
It can be very difficult and upsetting when you’ve been looking forward to having your baby for so long and can’t feel happy after they’re born – but it will pass and you will be able to enjoy motherhood and family life again.
If you feel like you would benefit from meeting with women who’ve also experienced PND visit www.pnd.ie for more information and details on their meet up coffee mornings.