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Having a baby is a time of immense change in your life. Being pregnant, preparing to be a parent and actually becoming a parent are new and unknown. It’s a time that can be very stressful and difficult to navigate.

When you become a new parent it can be hard to talk openly about having negative feelings because you can feel pressured that everything should be perfectly under control and you should be constantly happy and excited about life with the new baby.

It is not always easy to admit that things are far from perfect, but be aware that lots of new moms are worried, emotional and not happy all the time – what’s important is to ask for help if you feel that you’re not coping well or think that you need support.

Baby Blues

Being pregnant and giving birth are times of enormous hormonal and chemical changes in your body. It can sometimes feel like your hormones are taking you on a rollercoaster ride and in the first week after giving birth these changes can cause what’s known as the ‘baby blues’.

Many women experience this. You might find you feel extra sensitive and emotional. You might burst into tears more easily than normal. You could also feel irritable, overwhelmed, depressed or worried.

Try to remember that these symptoms are normal and will usually last only a week or two.

Signs of postnatal depression

Whilst it is normal to go through periods of feeling worried and stressed when you have a new baby, if the feelings don’t go away this could be a sign of developing postnatal depression.

Around 1 in 10 women are affected by postnatal depression and it usually starts two to eight weeks after birth. It can also develop later and up to a year after giving birth.

If you have postnatal depression you may become increasingly anxious and depressed; it can feel like looking after your baby is just too much.

Some of the typical signs include:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • difficulty coping
  • losing interest in the baby and difficulty bonding
  • frequently bursting into tears and being unable to stop crying
  • feeling unhappy and unable to enjoy anything
  • difficulty concentrating
  • frightening thoughts such as about hurting your baby or yourself

You might also struggle with sleeping well, and so feel extremely tired and generally unwell. Some women can also experience panic attacks and a loss of appetite.

What can you do?

Remember that a depression is an illness and it is not your fault. Taking the first step in talking to someone to give you support and get the help you need is really important.

Talk to someone – your partner, a friend, another mom with a baby or a health professional.

There are people out there who can help you and you do not need to struggle and feel alone.

Please have a look at the resources and organizations below if you’d like to find out more about postnatal depression and learn from other moms’ stories.

Sources

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/feeling-depressed-after-birth.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/postnataldepression/pages/introduction.aspx

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/#.WNz62RLytp8

https://www.rcog.org.uk/maternalmentalhealth?

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/mental-wellbeing/how-stressed-or-anxious-should-i-be-i-get-help

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/

https://apni.org/

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