Dear The Secret Psychiatrist, are these feelings of disconnectedness, exhaustion, and sadness normal after giving birth?
Most women are worried about being a perfect mother after having a child and it can be a stressful time. It is very common to feel tearful, worried, or sad after giving birth. This is called baby blues. Baby Blues is experienced in the first week of having a new born, and usually resolves in about 2 weeks. If these feelings last longer up to a year after having a baby, then it is likely you are suffering from post natal depression.
1 in 10 woman can experience post natal depression. Partners can also suffer, with 1 in 25 men suffering also.
You could be more likely to experience post natal depression is you have experienced post natal blues, already suffer from mental health, have lack of support around you, or having suffered from stressful life events. However, you can also suffer post natal depression without any obvious causes, as having a baby is a life changing stressful event in itself.
You can feel stressed, tired, thoughts of wanting to harm your baby, lack of energy to do things, not enjoying activities you would normally enjoy, have difficulty bonding with your baby, as well as difficulty in concentrating.
The first thing is to tell someone how you are feeling, whether it be your partner, your friend, or even your midwife or doctor.
Most woman are scared that their baby will
be taken away if they say anything, but this is rarely the case and only would happen in exceptional circumstances.
There is lots of self help you can do first on your own, these would include making sure you are eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, as well as having someone to speak to and support you.
Psychological therapies can help some women such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), that you can do online or with a professional.
For more severe symptoms, medications (antidepressants) can be given with the support of a doctor.
You are never alone, post natal depression is commoner then you think. Being a parent is hard, but if your ever feel you are suffering with post natal depression then don’t be afraid to get some help.
The Secret Psychiatrist is a female doctor and psychiatrist working currently in London. She has a degree in medicine and philosophy, and has founded her own charity based in Romania helping children with learning disabilities. She enjoys sharing her tales of her journey throughout medicine into the land of asylums across the world. When not working, you will find The Secret Psychiatrist traveling through the jungles of Peru or surviving earthquakes in Nepal. Being published internationally for her work in medicine and psychiatry, The Secret Psychiatrist is a keen writer, currently working on her children's books. The Secret Psychiatrist welcomes readers to contact her with any questions relating to health, lifestyle and diet questions to help you live a more positive fulfilled life.