Post Natal Expression & Depression

Well there’s no doubt about it Kate Middleton looked absolutely gorgeous a little over 24 hours after giving birth. She was praised world-wide for showing off her post baby bump. All power to her she made motherhood look glamorous. The reality for many of us is motherhood is rarely glamorous. Despite her life of enormous privilege I’m sure the Duchess of Cambridge experienced many of the same feelings that mothers all around the world experience.

Feelings like love, joy, happiness and at the same time also feeling overwhelmed and isolated. Wrap these varying emotions in sleep deprivation and is it any wonder that mothers experience the baby blues? These feelings really are quite normal and being able to express those feelings can be helpful. For some mothers some of the more negative feelings can persist beyond a few weeks. When this happens it may affect your ability to function on a daily basis with the normal routines involved in caring for a baby. This may be a sign of post natal depression (PND).

According to Post and Ante Natal Depression Association (PANDA) PND can be mild, moderate or severe and symptoms can begin suddenly after birth or appear gradually in the weeks or months during the first year after the birth.

Some of the symptoms and feelings of post natal depression are:

  • mother feeling a loss of joy in the things that used to make her happy
  • feeling sad
  • feeling like she doesn’t love her baby
  • feeling she is not in control and that she is not coping with her baby
  • mother unable to sleep despite being sleep deprived
  • experiencing loss of appetite
  • crying, irritable, anxious
  • fear of being alone or being with people
  • loss of concentration
  • feeling guilty or not good enough
  • loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • morbid obsessive thoughts of self-harm or suicide

It can be quite confusing as some of these symptoms would be what I would call normal post natal expression and not depression I think the key is to look at how long you have has these feelings for. Naturally if you have any doubt about it please seek medical advice. Pehaps your GP or local early childhood nurse would be a good place to start.

Some mothers report a sense of relief at being able to talk about their feelings. Not all women will need medication, but most will benefit from counselling. Although this can be a diffucult time for everyone remember to be kind and nurture yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. In the end your partner and baby will thank you for taking care of yourself.

Some other places you can go for help are:

www.panda.org.au

www.beatbabyblues.com.au

www.breastfeeding.asn.au

 

 

Written by

Jacqui has been a doula since 2003, a breastfeeding counsellor since 2010 and a Calmbirth practitioner since 2011. Jacqui is passionate about encouraging woman to have positive and empowered birth experiences.

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