When it's more than just the baby blues
Elation. Guilt. Love. Worry. Admiration. Tiredness. Anxiety. Joy. Jealousy. Fear. Paranoia. So much love. So much guilt.
Baby blues? Maybe. But what about when it’s more than that?
We all know that our bodies go through major changes during pregnancy, this is recognised by being offered priority seating and being complimented on your ‘pregnancy glow.’ It’s accepted that childbirth can be hard work and sometimes a traumatic experience.
But what about postpartum recovery? When the grazes have healed and the stitches are removed, what about the problems you can’t see? Everybody coos over your new bundle of joy but overlooks the mother who birthed them into this crazy world after carrying them for 9 months.
Birth preparation classes such as ‘Hypnobirthing’ and ‘Confident Birthing’ talk about the power of the mind and controlling physical discomfort through breathing exercises, but what about when the pain isn’t physically identifiable?
After birth, your hormones go through major changes which can be a potential trigger to women at risk of postnatal depression (PND). The speed at which your hormones change in such a short space of time is tough for anybody, let alone a new mother. Not only are you trying to look after a newborn and recover from birth, you’ve got internal struggles too.
Signs of PND include:
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- difficulty bonding with your baby
- withdrawing from contact with other people
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby
If you’re feeling the ‘baby blues’ for longer than 2 weeks after giving birth, speak to somebody. You’re not alone and there is so much help out there. Postnatal depression affects more than 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth, it’s much more common than you might realise. It’s also worth noting that it can also affect fathers and partners!
I want you to remember that mental health problems are just as real and just as valid as a broken arm. But it can be harder to fix, harder but not impossible. If you’re looking for help, take a look at this website and get the support you need. You’ve got this Mama.