How to Identify Postnatal Depression, and How to Get Help  

Everyone has heard of postnatal depression, but it is often not given the proper focus and attention it should, sometimes referred to as ‘baby blues’, and those who are actually suffering from it feel unable to get help because they wrongly think it means they’re a bad mother for feeling this way. The truth of the matter is that postnatal depression is a very common condition, affecting around 1 in 10, and is entirely treatable and temporary.

This is no hard and fast rule to what causes postnatal depression, but a mixture of lack of sleep, not eating property, upheaval of a new baby, hormonal changes, and simply having gone through a major life experience, all contribute to the development of this illness. It is quite common to feel moody, irritable and tearful after having had a baby, but if this is prolonged and doesn’t go away, or gets worse, then it could be due to postnatal depression, and help should be sought.

What are the symptoms of postnatal depression?

Many women don’t realise they have postnatal depression, which is dangerous when left untreated. The condition can occur anytime in the first six weeks after giving birth, but the major symptoms don’t tend to become noticeable until up to six months. Because of this, moms suffering from the condition often feel unable to get help because they wrongly think it means they have failed as a mother – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The symptoms of postnatal depression differ from person to person, but the main symptoms are:

  • Constant tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Changes and mood swings
  • Finding no joy in anything that once made you happy
  • Low mood
  • Not wanting to interact with people
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling you have failed

The truth of the matter is that having a baby is a major event, and something that will change your life forever, so it stands to reason that there are effects on your health and wellbeing as a result in some cases.

If you feel you may have postnatal depression, the first step is to go to your doctor and tell them how you feel. They will diagnose by asking you questions and assessing your mood. If you are diagnosed, the good news is that there are treatment options available, and that the condition will pass.

Photo Credit: lady Hawke