The baby blues are a normal part of having a baby for many, if not most, women. They usually arrive on day three after giving birth when the post labour endorphins take leave, leaving you in a sobbing mess. They don’t usually last more than a few days/couple of weeks. But what if you’re still feeling low several weeks in? How do you know the difference between normal baby blues and post natal depression? Amy Ransom gives some insight…
The truth is that feeling low occasionally is a natural part of motherhood. Sleep deprivation, settling hormones and the demands of a new baby are enough to make even the brightest star fade every now and then. But if those lows become commonplace, if you feel constantly overwhelmed with an underlying sense of doom, it’s time to ask for help.
PND is different for everyone. But a common symptom is the feeling that you just can’t cope, with things that never fathomed you before. The simplest of tasks can be impossible. Getting dressed. Getting in the car. Getting out of bed. Health anxiety, frequent tearfulness and panic attacks are unpleasant symptoms. PND can also manifest itself very physically with headaches, fogginess, blurred vision and a general sense of feeling unwell, which often feeds the health anxiety, convincing a new mum that there is something very wrong.
PND can be treated very effectively with CBT and, in some cases, medication too. The sooner it’s diagnosed, the better. So if you’re ever concerned about yourself (or another mum), check in with someone who knows you well. They will likely have noticed some changes in your behaviour too. Then go to your doctors or health visitor and ask to see someone who has experience in PND. Someone who won’t tell you, ‘it’s just a bad day’ but will instead help you start walking the path to recovery.
Finally, never feel ashamed or at fault. It was nothing you did. One in seven women suffer from PND. One in seven! Sometimes the hormones are a bit wonky and we need a little help. You will get better. And you’ll be all the better for it.