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Surviving Post-Natal Depression

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 10 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Post Natal Depression; Birth; Delivery;

Post natal depression is a condition that affects a vast number of women in the UK and has only recently been identified as a legitimate condition that requires often urgent, medical attention.

What Is Post Natal Depression?

Post natal depression is an illness that affects up to 10% of mothers in the UK. It can develop immediately after the birth, but can also present much later.It can present a general lowness of mood, negative thoughts, disturbed sleep, a lack of motivation, negative thoughts and moods and even irrational fears, anxieties, thoughts and actions can develop.

Many new mothers feel unable to cope and look after the baby, feel inadequate, are tearful for no reason or are overcome with guilt. There are many symptoms and each woman will have her own experience of the condition.

When To Get Help

It is important to admit that you are struggling with your new life and the changes that it has brought. As post natal depression is now a recognised illness, you can seek help with the knowledge that something can be done. Seeking help is not a sign of failure or an inability to parent a child, it merely shows that your hormones and chemicals in your body have become a little unbalanced and need some help to become more settled.

If you feel down in the days following the birth and are a little overwhelmed by being a parent, this does not mean you have post natal depression, this is the ‘baby blues’ and occurs in many women but resolves itself after a few days.Post natal depression is a much more serious condition that must be treated. If you feel negative towards yourself, lack motivation to care for either yourself or the new baby, or have had thoughts of harming yourself or your child, you must seek help immediately.

Self-Help Methods

Not only is it important to try and receive some medical or psychological help with your condition, but there are also a great number of ways that you can try and help yourself when you feel able.Try and identify any issues that can trigger off a low period or negative thoughts then implement avoidance techniques or strategies.

Do not be afraid to ask those around you for help, most friends and family will be all too willing to help you during this time and would like a chance to help with the baby or spend some time with the others members of your family.

Try and find an hour during the day at least twice a week when you can spend some time on your own. Use this time to have a long bath, massage, go out with the girls or something that you used to do before you had the baby.

Do not panic about housework, cooking or washing. No harm ever came to anyone from eating sandwiches for a few days, wearing the same trousers for a week or not washing a cup. You will have plenty of time to catch up on these chores when you have settled into your new life, have caught up on your sleep and established a routine that you are happy with.

Try and eat little and often incorporating lots of carbohydrate rich foods to keep blood sugars stable, especially if you are breastfeeding. Remember to take plenty of fluids as well.Fresh air can help both you and your baby. Not only does it provide an activity that you can do together (or with other members of the family) it will help to clear your thoughts, increase oxygen levels in the body, increase appetite and help soothe a restless baby.

Keep a diary of your thoughts and moods, overtime you will be able to see patterns of behaviours, triggers and eventually some improvement in your mood overall.Never compare yourself to others; you body and mind, your child and your circumstances are unique to you and not something that can be comparable to others. There is no such thing as ‘superwoman’ these people are simply better at hiding their issues and prioritising differently.

Post natal depression is a potentially very dangerous condition that can put at risk the new mother, the new baby or other members of the family. It must be identified and treated early in order to prevent the development of the depression deepening into a worse depression.

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