What are the signs of antenatal and postnatal depression?
Depression is real and can hit so many of us, largely when we are least expecting it. Coping with antenatal and postnatal depression can be debilitating and very tricky to deal with, not only for the person enduring it but also for their friends, family, and wider circle.
- feeling sad, a low mood, or tearful a lot of the time
- feeling irritable, or getting angry easily
- losing interest in other people and the world around you
- not wanting to eat or eating more than usual
- negative thoughts, such as worrying you will not be able to look after your baby
- feeling guilty, hopeless or blaming yourself for your problems
- having problems concentrating or making decisions
- lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- finding it difficult to look after yourself and your baby
- withdrawing from contact with other people
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby
If you are worried about your symptoms, please seek medical help from your midwife or doctor
Talking small steps
When we feel low, it is often a natural reaction to put up walls and retreat into ourselves. Exposing the pain you’re experiencing inside may feel unbearable, so hiding it away and keeping others from coming in could seem like the best option. However, talking to your midwife, doctor, partner, friend, or relative could be the bravest but most positive step you ever take, no matter how small. Take your time and work slowly. Opening up just a fraction and letting some light shine through the cracks may just be the stepping stone you need to move forward and begin the healing process.
It takes a village
Becoming a parent is life changing and whilst it will also be an incredible journey, it’s ok to be scared witless. Finding an antenatal class or group of new mums or mums to be where you can share your thoughts and feelings is often a huge relief for many women. It is comforting to know that that weird thing you keep feeling or that anxious thought that keeps rattling around your head is completely normal. Talking, laughing, and crying with others that are in the same boat as you will help shift your mindset and help you find peace and comfort along the way. We love the Peanut App, which is a bit like tinder but for finding other women in the same stages of fertility, pregnancy and parenthood as yourself.
Self care starts at home
Eating a balanced diet of proteins, carbs and good fats will keep your body and growing baby healthy. Make sure that you eat at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid your blood sugars dropping and feeling the symptoms of fatigue.
Just 30 minutes a day to clear your mind and raise your mood
Did you know that when we exercise, we release three hormones: dopamine, which makes us feel more alert; noradrenaline, which has been shown to help us cope with stress; and serotonin, the happy hormone that boosts our satisfaction, happiness, and optimism. Simply put, exercise is the key to keeping your body and mind in tip top health. We are not suggesting that you start training for a marathon, unless you already were, but just including 30 minutes a day of walking, swimming or working out will do you the world of good.