I share a lot of my own journey on this blog but I also wanted to give some helpful information when it comes to postnatal depression. So I thought the best place to start was with the signs and symptoms to look out for. 1 in 7 mums will experience some form of maternal mental illness, so it’s important to be aware of what to look out for.
Knowledge is power and I feel making Mums aware of these signs before having a baby is so important. I was suffering for 6 months before even realising I had postnatal depression.
I’m sharing a list of symptoms for postnatal depression here that I’ve found, these are some examples from the NCT website. I was going to share just the main ones I see ladies suffering from, but to be honest I see such a wide variety of symptoms I decided to share the full list.
If you recognise any of these in yourself or a loved one then it’s important you speak to your doctor, midwife or health care provider. The sooner you get help the sooner you can start to get better.
- Feeling very low or despondent, like life is a long, grey tunnel, and that there is no hope. Feeling tired and very lethargic, or even quite numb. Not wanting to do anything or take an interest in the outside world.
- Feeling a sense of inadequacy or unable to cope.
- Feeling guilty about not coping or not loving their baby enough.
- Being unusually irritable, which makes the guilt worse.
- Wanting to cry/cry a lot or even constantly.
- Having obsessive and irrational thoughts which can be very scary.
- Loss of appetite which may go with feeling hungry all the time but being unable to eat.
- Comfort eating.
- Having difficulty sleeping: either not getting to sleep, waking early or having vivid nightmares.
- Being hostile or indifferent to their partner and/or baby.
- Having panic attacks, which struck at any time, causing rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms and feelings of sickness and faintness.
- Having an overpowering anxiety, often about things that wouldn’t normally bother them, such as being alone in the house.
- Having difficulty in concentrating or making decisions.
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches.
- Having obsessive fears about baby’s health or wellbeing, or about themselves and other members of the family.
- Having disturbing thoughts about harming themselves or their baby.
- Having thoughts about death and/or suicide.
Some women will experience a handful of these and some more, some will suffer severely and some mildly, each women’s experience is individual.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, especially if you have been feeling them for two weeks or more then please see your doctor.
Don’t leave it because you don’t want meds, there are many treatment options, or because you fear your baby will be taken away, I hear this a lot and it’s a myth that is still around. Even if you’re having disturbing thoughts about harm coming to your child, the health care professionals will do everything they can to help get you well again, with your baby.
There are other forms of perinatal mental illness, such as psychosis or maternal OCD, symptoms of which may not be included on this list. You can read more and find links to more information here.
**If you feel suicidal then please speak to someone – Samaritans have a FREE helpline, it’s open 24/7 every day – you can call them on 116 123 **
You can watch a video about some of the symptoms I struggled with here on my YouTube channel.