Therapy for Postnatal Depression and Coping with the Baby Blues
Almost 85% of women feel what has been called the ‘Baby Blues’ after birth. They feel weepy, tired, anxious and moody. This is normal and passes within a few days. It is often connected to the shock and hormonal changes related to giving birth.
However, many women suffer from postnatal depression after having a baby. This is different to the normal first week of ‘baby blues’. If you are experiencing postnatal depression, then take comfort from the fact that this is a very common response after the birth of your child. Therapy for Postnatal Depression can help you to cope with your emotions at this challenging time.
What is Postnatal Depression?
Different from the baby blues, postnatal depression (PND) is something that won’t just ‘go away’ after a few days and it is important to get help and support. Around 1 in 8 mothers will experience postnatal depression so it is common.
Postnatal Depression is also different for every mother who experiences it, so there is no one thing that you will experience. However, these are some common symptoms of Postnatal Depression that frequently come up. You may be experiencing one, some or all of these things:
- Feeling sad or low
- Feeling detached / a sense of numbness
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms
- Suffering anxiety and / or experiencing panic attacks
- Feeling tearful / bursting into tears frequently and seemingly for no reason
- Constant tiredness and exhaustion
- Being overwhelmed by life at the moment
- Feelings of anger and rage
- A sense of hopelessness
- No desire to eat
- Finding yourself withdrawing from your partner or feeling unable to bond with or connect with your baby
- Having suicidal thoughts or making plans to kill yourself
The most important thing to know is that there are a range of symptoms associated with PND. You may not be experiencing the same symptoms as another woman who is also experiencing PND.
This video from the NHS describes well the range of symptoms associated with PND. Each of the women in this video experienced different and overlapping emotions. For example, one woman experienced extreme rage whereas another did not. One woman’s levels of anxiety and feelings of panic were so intense that at their peak she felt like ‘jumping in front of a bus’, however she describes not realising that she was experiencing PND because she thought that postnatal depression was only to do with “not bonding with your baby”.
When does PND happen?
Again, there is no set time. It could be that you were feeling this way when pregnant, and the feelings have increased since your baby was born. It could be that you felt fine after you gave birth then suddenly these feelings came on days, weeks or even months following the birth. It could be that these feelings began immediately after the birth.
In the same way that you may experience some aspects of PND more than another woman e.g. your anger feels intense whereas another woman feels predominantly anxious, the time at which you both began to experience PND could also be different.
Getting Help for Postnatal Depression
As a result of experiencing postnatal depression, you can then feel:
- Like you are a ‘bad mother’
- Unable to cope
You are not a bad mother and you are not unable to cope.
Feeling this way, and not telling anyone about it can cause you to feel alone and isolated, which in turn intensifies feelings of shame, anxiety and guilt.
Postnatal depression is an illness, and it is important to treat it in the same way you would any other illness such as breaking your arm or having a cold.
Speak to a friend, your partner, a family member or your health visitor. Book an appointment with your GP and if this feels too difficult at present, get someone else to do it for you.
Therapy for Depression after birth or Therapy for Depression after having a baby
It is important to speak to someone about how you are feeling.
Speaking to friends and family can help, and you GP can point you in the direction of the right support for you.
Alongside these things, talking therapy can often help. Counselling provides a safe and confidential space away from your loved ones to describe what you have been feeling and what has been going on for you. It’s a space to explore your relationships and other aspects of your life to understand your depression.
Counselling for post-natal depression can also provide you with coping strategies and ways to looks after yourself through this experience. Take the first step to coping with your PND and contact Rachel Buchan to discuss Postnatal Therapy.
Some Helpful Articles & Resources on Postnatal Depression & Coping with the Baby Blues
The Baby Centre
Offer this advice on Postnatal Depression
Cocoon Family Support
Annie Meier discusses her experiences of Postnatal Depression