Did you know that over 1000 new parents each week in Australia are diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND)? It’s a devastating statistic, and a debilitating illness. PND is not culturally, age or gender bias; and both men and women can suffer from it mildly, moderately or severely, immediately after birth or gradually in the weeks, months and year after birth. It can rear its ugly head after miscarriage, stillbirth, normal births, traumatic births and caesarean sections.
It is normal and common for women around day 3 post birth to feel teary, irritable, overly sensitive and moody. This is due to a woman’s hormone levels yo-yoing all over the place…around the same time as the milk is coming in…(convenient, right?!). It is okay to feel like this on and off for a few days, but if it persists, seek support and help is a must.
In light of September bringing awareness to depression and suicide through R U OK Day and it being Suicide Prevention Month, we thought this was apt timing to bring awareness to this commonly fought illness.
It is important to remember that this is an illness and not a reflection on you personally or as a mother or father. There are ways through postnatal depression, and we’ve provided a list of some of the support avenues out there at the bottom of this post. It is imperative that you seek professional help – speak to your GP.
Signs and Symptoms
According to PANDA, The Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia organisation, a combination of the following symptoms for someone suffering from PND is not uncommon:
- Sleep disturbance unrelated to baby’s sleep needs
- Appetite disturbance
- Crying or not being able to cry
- Inability to cope
- Negative, morbid or obsessive thoughts
- Fear of being alone or fear of being with others
- Memory difficulties and loss of concentration
- Feeling guilty and inadequate
- Loss of confidence and self-esteem
- Thoughts of harm to self, baby or suicide
– Beyond Blue and their support service: 1300 22 4636
– Black Dog Institute and a self-test
– Contact your GP
Articles about PND:
– Men just as likely to suffer PND
– Postnatal Depression treatment at home a huge success