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Postnatal depression

Coping with postnatal depression, symptoms you should be aware of, available help and treatment and advice on dealing with breastfeeding and the demands of a new baby.
Postnatal depression has many symptoms. Most mothers who have the illness find that they are less able to cope with the demands of the baby and of the home. Some mothers feel very despondent, they may feel sad, and cry frequently. Some mothers feel very anxious and fearful; they worry about their own health and that of the baby. They may suffer from panic attacks and feel tense and irritable all the time. Most depressed mothers feel tired and lack energy, often they feel unable to concentrate and they find even simple tasks are confusing and demand too much energy.

Some mothers experience pains for which there is no cause, other than tension and anxiety, many suffer difficulty in sleeping and poor appetite. Many depressed mothers lose interest in sex. A depressed mother may suffer from any or all of the symptoms mentioned. Most mothers who have this illness feel guilty that they are not 'coping' as they feel they should be.

If your depression lasts longer than a few days you should discuss your feelings with your doctor. If possible take your partner or a friend with you. Before you see the doctor write a list of all the symptoms you are suffering from. You should not go on suffering depression in the hope that it will go away. Postnatal depression is a real illness and it can be treated successfully with antidepressants, these drugs are not addictive, they make unpleasant symptoms fade until they go completely.

After you have seen the doctor, you may find it helpful to talk to an understanding and sympathetic member of your family or friend. If your friend understands that you will recover completely and be your 'old self again when you are better, then he or she can be a real source of comfort and reassurance to you.

Your midwife and health visitor can also give you reassurance advice and support. It is important to remember that all mothers recover from postnatal depression. As the recovery proceeds, the bad days get fewer and less upsetting and the good days become more numerous. Gradually the bad days disappear completely.

Although it may be difficult to rest when you have a demanding baby and perhaps other children to care for, it does help to rest as much as possible if you are suffering from depression. You will find that you feel worse if you are overtired. Ask a partner or a friend to care for the baby whilst you have a proper rest, preferably in the middle of the day. A rest in the day often improves sleeping at night for those with sleeping difficulties. Try also to eat a small meal or have a hot sweet drink at regular intervals, many depressed mothers forget to eat and this can make the depression symptoms feel worse.

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for anyone with any concern about feeling any symptom of depression - even if it's just feeling a tiny bit blue or a full on panic attack - call someone, your doctor, midwife, mother, partner, health visitor, friend - and talk. Talk about it, how you feel, ask them to come over, ask if you can visit them, book an appointment to see someone, whatever it takes to achieve piece of mind.

there is absolutely zero shame in admitting that you are scared or are feeling like you can't cope, having a baby is the biggest life change physically, mentally and emotionally and some of us need that extra help to adjust - and any friend or relative worth their own will be more than glad to help you - particularily if they understand or have gone through it themselves.

and I'll post it on here as I have done on other pages, but the best advice ive ever been given is this,
"your mother, any mother, midwife or health visitor might have the answers to your questions, but no one on this earth knows YOUR baby better than you" - this advice helped me overcome my fear of being unable to cope with my boy. But I will always be the one who knows my baby inside out, and what he needs - and what better reassurance can you get?
by ErinErinErin 13th Sep 2010, 9:56am
hello im harmony wilson and i gave birth to my daughter on the 1st of march xx
i love her to pieces but i just dont feel like her mum and i feel sad all the time x
i dont know if this is the signs of postnatal depression but im pretty scared rb xx
by harmonywilsonx 20th Apr 2009, 9:32am