Having a child is a particularly difficult period of time, both emotionally and physically, for a woman. Postnatal depression or the ‘baby blues’ is a very common condition, with 1 in 10 women suffering from it. It is most apparent at around six months after giving birth to a baby, although it can be identified as early as ten weeks after birth. It is natural for women to struggle with the enormous changes a baby brings, but postnatal depression is distinct both in its severity and duration.
Signs and symptoms
- Feeling constantly sad
- Hopeless or helpless
- Tired all the time
- Irritable or angry
- Indifferent or hostile towards partner
- Indifferent or hostile towards baby
The last of these symptoms is extremely distressing for women who have just given birth, but it must be stressed that these feeling are as a result of a clearly defined illness and not a lack of love for the baby or a sign that they are unable to cope.
A new mother may be more susceptible to postnatal depression if she has suffered from postnatal depression before, has suffered depression during pregnancy or has a history of depression or other mental illness.
Postnatal depression is caused by a combination of factors these could include:
- Hormonal changes following birth.
- Lack of sleep
- Emotional and physical demands
- Home and social difficulties
- Financial concerns
- Relationship changes or difficulties
- Lack of support
Impact on the Family
Postnatal depression is a very misunderstood illness. Many people, particularly suffers, do not understand why what should be a very happy time is a not as positive as it should be. Every parent, especially the mother struggles with the demands of a new-born baby, yet postnatal depression is a clearly defined illness, that cannot be controlled by the sufferer. New mothers often feel guilty that they are not happy or that they do not feel as attached or attentive to their child as they assume they should. Partners and other family members often fail to identify this as an issue and can unknowingly place further pressure on the already struggling mother.
Traditional family roles can often mean that the man returns to work at a time when symptoms are just beginning or intensifying. This can lead to the mother, who is already struggling to cope, further isolated and overwhelmed. The partner may fail to see that there is something wrong and be confused and frustrated by the situation, which can lead to a great deal of conflict within the family.
How can we help?
The Practice MK offers Counselling and Psychotherapy, often called Talking Therapies to help individuals and their families to make sense of what is often a confusing and frightening experience. Therapy sessions are delivered by trained and experienced practitioners who will provide the opportunity to discuss issues in a safe, understanding and supportive environment.
Individuals and therapists may wish to discuss current or past issue affecting them, feelings they have around these issues and how these issues affect them and those around them. During sessions, individuals and therapists will look at coping strategies and methods to ensure positive outcomes for all concerned.
All our counsellors and therapists are accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
If you or someone you know may have depression, drop us an email or telephone call and we can talk to you more about the services we provide.