Having a baby is usually thought of as a happy time. However, new parents may not feel like this straight away. It is very common for parents and especially mothers to struggle with their emotions during this time and it is often referred to as the “Baby Blues”. If however this persists beyond a few weeks, you may be showing signs of postnatal depression and may need support.
Symptoms of Postnatal depression may include feeling:
- sad and low
- tearful for no apparent reason
- hopeless about the future
- unable to cope
- irritable and angry
- hostile or indifferent to your husband or partner
- hostile or indifferent to your baby
You may also find that you also lose your appetite, struggle to concentrate and have difficulty sleeping even when you have the opportunity. With severe postnatal depression, some women may start to have suicidal thoughts or have thoughts about seriously harming their child.
Postnatal depression can develop within the first six weeks of giving birth, but is often not apparent until around six months. Postnatal depression is more common than many people realise and is thought to affect 1 in 10 women after having a baby. Women of all ages and from all ethnic groups can be affected.
Postnatal depression can sometimes go unnoticed and many women are unaware they have it, even though they don’t feel quite right. Some women choose to ignore their symptoms because they’re afraid of being seen as a bad mother. They may also fear being separated from their child.
Counselling and psychotherapy can offer a safe and supportive space to talk about these feelings with a clinical professional.