It is perfectly normal to feel weepy and even sad for a few hours or days after giving birth and this is known as the baby blues. After all, it is a big lifestyle change especially if it is your first baby. The realization dawns on you that life will never be the same again, yes everyone said that when they found out you were expecting, but it still doesn’t prepare you that you now have a little person relying on you for their every need. It takes time to adjust to the new routine with sleepless nights and a constant round of changing nappies, feeding and waking.
New mums can feel anxious, tired and even lonely and isolated if they don’t have a good support group to help. It is hardly surprising therefore that 1 in 10 new mothers will suffer from PND and it affects everyone differently with varying symptoms coming on gradually and lasting from 1-3 months and in some cases longer if help isn’t received. The following are symptoms that can be experienced:-
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- feeling that you’re unable to look after your baby
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- loss of appetite or an increased appetite (comfort eating)
- feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic (you “can’t be bothered”)
- feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame
- difficulty bonding with your baby with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in his or her company
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby; these can be scary, but they’re very rarely acted upon
- thinking about suicide and self harm.
If you feel you might be suffering from PND it is important that you get help either by discussing your feelings with your partner, midwife, health visitor, homeopath or GP. Thankfully, PND is now no longer a taboo subject and it is a recognised illness, especially since famous people have also shared their stories it . There are also many support groups available such as National Child Trust or PANDAS Foundation to name just a few. Please don’t suffer in silence and reach out to someone.
If you feel you may be suffering from PND or know someone who is and would like a free 15 minute consultation please contact me.