It is believed 1 in 7 new mums will experience some form of perinatal mental illness. Its important to know the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression, the sooner you get help the sooner you can start to get better, and you WILL get better.
These are the symptoms as described by the NCT charity :
You can visit the NCT website for more information
There are other forms of perinatal mental illness which women can experience. These are just a few but if you feel you are struggling it is important to speak to your health care provider.
Antenatal Depression - This is becoming more recognised now, pregnancy isn't always the happiest time of some mums lives, don't feel ashamed, speak to your midwife about how you feel, she will be able to help.
Perinatal OCD - Another condition which has been receiving more attention, and again is more common than people realise. While most parents will worry about their baby, this condition causes parents to feel an intense and very real fear that their baby will come to significant harm, caused by accident, illness or by deliberate means. This can cause intrusive thoughts (obsession) which leads to the mother becoming anxious, and having repeated thoughts or actions that they believe will 'protect' the baby or reduce the anxiety. This is a treatable condition often CBT and sometimes medication are helpful. Visit the Maternal OCD website for more information.
Postpartum Psychosis - This is a rare, severe butt treatable mental illness which can affect women after childbirth. It can happen anywhere between a few days to a few weeks after childbirth and women can become very ill, very quick. It is important to treat this as an emergency and ensure women receive help quickly. To find out more information visit the Action on Postpartum Psychosis website.
If you think you could be experiencing postnatal depression or other perinatal illness, its important that you reach out for help. Speaking to a loved one will help give you support but its vital you speak to your health care professional too. Take along someone you trust for support, and be honest about your feelings. They may be able to refer you for counselling, talking therapies or prescribe medication if its what you and your doctor feel is best. They may also have information about local services which can help you.
You can see your GP, speak to your health visitor, midwife or reach out to the local children centre.
It can be a difficult thing to talk about but the stigma attached to mental illness is disappearing and the condition is widely recognised. 1 in 7 mums will experience some form of postnatal depression, so you aren't alone. Most importantly remember it is something which you can recover from.