LIFE SKILLS FOR POSTNATAL DEPRESSION (POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION.)
Over the years, I have worked with mothers who have had postnatal depression (PND) and the effects of having this, has caused ‘challenges’ in many areas of their lives.
It can affect the relationship with their new-born baby as well as with their husband or partner for various reasons. Some causes for developing postnatal depression are:
* Physical changes because of the birth, some of which could be changes in the level of hormones as well as changes with the thyroid, blood volume and pressure, and the immune system. All these can contribute to tiredness and mood swings.
* Emotional reasons due to very little sleep, feeling overwhelmed and anxious, very little control in one’s life – all leading to feeling depressed.
* Everyday life – things such as lack of support from family and partner, financial worries, a ‘difficult’ baby and/or siblings who need attention and who could be demanding.
At the bottom end of the spectrum are ‘the Baby Blues’ which can affect certain mothers some three to ten days after the actual birth and cause mood changes, tearfulness, irritability and anxiety. These will pass quite quickly with help and understanding.
At the top end of the scale is Postnatal Psychosis which requires treatment in hospital and in many cases the mother is not aware she has this condition. Mood disturbances will be severe from elation to depression, thinking will be affected and seem weird and there can be a risk to both mother and child.
In the middle range of both of these conditions is Post Natal Depression. A few of the symptoms are:
* Not feeling connected to the newborn baby.
* Feeling overly anxious about things.
* Negative thoughts are very dominant.
* Worrying about everything including hurting the baby.
* Blaming oneself for everything.
* Not feeling any joy in things one would normally.
* Not wanting to see family or friends.
* Extremely tearful and irritable.
PND can occur with mild, moderate or severe symptoms and begin during pregnancy (antenatal depression) straight after the birth, or gradually in the weeks or months after delivery.
As with anything such as depression and anxiety, PND requires medical attention.
P.S. It is known that males can experience this condition as well.