Tips on how to deal with feeling low after the birth of your baby
It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit sad or a bit low after the birth of your baby. Remember, your body has been through a lot of changes and your hormones are all over the place. You are likely to be exhausted physically and emotionally.
A new baby is a challenge for a woman of any age, so ask for help when you need it. If the ‘feeling low’ goes on a bit long – for more than two weeks – contact your GP or the Public Health Nurse, as you may be suffering from postnatal depression and need some professional treatment. Remember, this is a very common condition that lots of mums (and even dads) get and help is available.
There is a more extreme form of post-natal depression which is fairly rare, affecting 1 in 500 new mothers. If you feel extreme restlessness, mild confusion, inability to sleep, and generally out of it, medical intervention is vital. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What is postnatal depression (PND)?
PND is a type of depression some women experience after they have had a baby. It usually develops in the first four to six weeks after childbirth, although in some cases it may not develop for several months. There is often no reason for the depression. There are many symptoms of PND, such as low mood, feeling unable to cope and difficulty sleeping, but many women are not aware that they have the condition. It is important for partners, family, friends and healthcare professionals to recognise the signs of PND as early as possible so that appropriate treatment can be given.
It is very important to understand that having PND does not mean you do not love or care for your baby.
Finding support for postnatal deperession
Talk to your family and friends and accept their offers of help – time off from the baby, help with shopping, a cup of coffee, a chat. Chatting to other parents who have had similar experiences sometimes helps. There may be a postnatal support group in some areas.
Speak to the public health nurse or your GP about how you've been feeling and where you can get support.
Nurture are an organisation who offer professional counselling and supports surrounding pregnancy and childbirth maternal mental health illnesses to women, partners and their families.
You can also contact Aware, an organisation who helps those suffering with depression and bi-polar, on 1800 80 48 48 for support and advice about postnatal depression.