The Baby Blues and Post Natal Depression

If you think your partner, relative or friend is experiencing the baby blues then here's how you can help:
  • Reassure her that she is doing a great job
  • Help around the house by putting some washing on, cooking some meals etc.
  • Give her a cuddle if you think she needs one
  • Let her cry and listen to her
If your mood hasn’t lifted after a month or so of giving birth you should go and see your doctor or speak to your Health Visitor as you may have Postnatal Depression (PND). PND is a form of depression that can develop within the first 6 weeks of giving birth, but many women don’t realise they have it and it can therefore go untreated even though they don’t feel right in themselves. Postnatal depression is more common than most people think and effects approx. one in 10 people (this figure is higher in teenage mums) and many mums that have PND don’t admit it as they see it as a weakness and think that it makes them a bad mother. The symptoms of PND can vary but are mostly linked to anxiety, and the feeling that they can’t cope with the baby and life in general. Below is a list of the main symptoms: Below is a list of the main symptoms:
  • Constant feeling of sadness
  • Lack of energy and extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Despondent to the world around you and lack of enjoyment towards anything
Some other symptoms may include:
  • Difficulty in sleeping, even when the baby is asleep
  • Aches and pains
  • Unable to stop crying
  • Sense of feeling guilty and blaming yourself
  • Lack of concentration and difficulty in making decisions
  • Memory loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Low self confidence
  • Anxious and agitated
  • Difficulties bonding with the baby
  • Feeling that you can’t cope
  • Thoughts about suicide or self-harm
  • Frightening thoughts about harming the baby
Postnatal depression can be debilitating and can affect your day to day life, so the earlier you’re diagnosed the easier it will be to treat. The extent of the depression determines the treatment that will be offered, from; self-help advice, talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to antidepressant medication. So if you think you, your partner or a friend is suffering from postnatal depression try and talk/get them to talk to someone about it. Visit your GP or talk to someone close that will understand how you’re feeling, PND is a temporary illness but it still needs treating as it’s not something that you will just snap out of. And remember no-one will judge you for having this illness – it’s more common than you think.