It is sometimes hard for a new mother to know if what she is feeling is what she is ‘supposed’ to be feeling. However, there are no right and wrong responses. Motherhood is a time of great change and as with any great change in life it will be challenging and can stretch your resources. It also takes time to make sense of your new experience and your feelings about it. Therefore, mothers need supporting at this time of great change. Some mothers may need more emotional support than others, but this doesn’t mean that they are somehow failing or lacking in their abilities to be a mother. In fact NICE suggest that 15-20% of all mothers in the first year will experience depression. The Royal College of Psychiatrists have produced a really good leaflet about Postnatal Depression (PND). Recognising when things are getting difficult is a way of being aware of when you may need to seek out some more support. These are some of those signs:
Signs of PND
- Feeling depressed, low, unhappy or tearful most of the time
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling utterly exhausted and lacking in energy
- Sleeplessness, unable to fall asleep or waking early and worrying about things
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling unable to enjoy anything
- Having negative or guilty thoughts
- Feelings anxious
- Avoiding other people
- Feeling hopeless
The important thing is not to suffer alone. Most of the mothers I have worked with wished they had sought help earlier. It is not only in the postnatal period that women might experience depression and it is common in pregnancy too.
If you are feeling any of the above signs you can contact me to arrange an appointment.
Otherwise talk to your health visitor or GP and they will be able to refer you to talking therapies, where you can access therapeutic support through the NHS.