When I had my first child I was totally overwhelmed. She often cried through the night and I was constantly worried that she was not getting enough milk. As a result I spent hours on end breastfeeding, which was mentally and physically exhausting. Then one day a very close friend came over and insisted that I needed to get help. She said she was seriously concerned about me. Initially I resisted, but she finally talked me into seeing a therapist, who diagnosed me with postnatal depression and prescribed meds. A few weeks later the dark cloud lifted and I finally got to enjoy motherhood and my child.
If you are a new mother, it is important to be aware of the signs of postnatal depression. This condition can affect both your mental and physical health and you should never take it lightly.
Common symptoms to look out for
One of the most common signs of postnatal depression is feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Every new parent is exhausted in the first weeks of their baby’s life. This can be caused by things such as lack of sleep, adjusting to motherhood, or financial worries. However, if you still feel overwhelmed a month or two after the baby has come home, then you need to consider the possibility that you are struggling with postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression can also lead to a mother feeling disconnected from her baby. This can manifest itself in different ways, such as not wanting to hold or feed the baby, or feeling like you are not bonded with your child. This can be extremely distressing for new mothers and is often one of the first signs that something is wrong.
Another sign is when new mothers feel hopeless or like they can’t do anything right. This is what happened to me. I was convinced that I was a bad mother and that my life would never go back to normal. If you are experiencing any of these feelings, please do not ignore them.
It is also very common for mothers who are depressed to feel low or sad most of the time. This may be accompanied by a loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy, such as hobbies or social activities.
There are a number of other symptoms that can be associated with postnatal depression, but the ones mentioned above are the most common.
How to deal with postnatal depression
If you are concerned that you might be suffering from postnatal depression, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Speak to your partner, family members or close friends and ask for help. If you are not coping with the pressures of motherhood, they could pitch in by cooking dinner, or doing the laundry, or any one of the million and one chores that mothers face while caring for their child.
In some cases this social support will be enough to improve the situation. However if this does not happen in your case, please seek help from your GP or a qualified mental health professional.
Postnatal depression is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on your life if left untreated. There are a number of treatments available, such as counselling and medication, which can help you get better. With the right support, it is possible to recover and enjoy your new role as a mother.
Remember, you are not alone and there is support available.