Post Natal Depression is not a sign of weakness
Many mothers out there will relate to the term “baby blues”. It almost goes hand in hand with the words “day three”. I remember laying in the hospital bed absolutely sobbing my heart away and the nurses reassuring me that it was part and parcel of the experience. They assured me that “the baby blues” affected most women on about day three following the birth of her baby. A lovely midwife assured me that everything I was experiencing was completely normal and connected to a change in hormones following the big event. She was right. A couple of days later I felt like myself again.
But what if that feeling does not go away? What if for days, weeks and months you feel as though you cannot cope with an overwhelming feeling of sadness or anxiety? The baby blues are supposed to come and go but you feel as though you simply cannot cope. Perhaps you are one of the many many women who is experiencing Post Natal Depression or Post Natal Anxiety. You are normal, you have done nothing wrong and there are people who can help you.
Post Natal Depression is NOT a sign of weakness. You have not made a mistake. You do not love your child any less than the “other mothers” and you certainly do not deserve to suffer. PND is a very real illness and like many illnesses there is a plethora of help, support and advice to help you come out the other end. According to the HSE website Post Natal Depression affects one in seven women. It “may start off as baby blues and then get worse”. Your Public Health Nurse plays a vital role is monitoring some of these symptoms. If you feel as though you are struggling it is very important to speak to your PHN or a close friend or family member.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in identifying PND is the fact that a new baby comes with so many changes and struggles for many people. In general it is a time of huge change, sleep deprivation and a massive life adjustment in every single respect. There are few families who will not struggle in some way during this time. Sleep deprivation can make the world seem like a very dark place. There is no manual as to how to perfectly care for your baby and sometimes you do not realise how much help you actually need.
For this reason it is important that we keep an eye on our friends, sisters and work colleagues. As a husband or partner it is also important to keep a check on the woman in your life. If you feel as though she may be struggling in a way that points towards PND or PNA it may be time to suggest speaking to the family GP. Your GP will be very familiar with the symptoms and struggles associated with this very common illness. It is important to remember that it does not just affect first time mothers. A woman can experience PND for the very first time on her second, third or fourth baby. It can appear at any time.
Talk to someone. A friend, sister, parent or your GP. You are not alone and there will be better times.
Written by Tracey, mummy blogger and staff with www.familyfriendlyhq.ie
Check out her own blog at love-of-living.blogspot.ie