Understanding Postnatal Depression: How can you overcome it?
Having a baby is a life changing experience. Whether you’re having your first child or have had a recent addition to the family, being a new parent can cause us to experience a whole range of emotions. From feeling sad, irritable and anxious to sometimes feeling nothing at all, the overwhelming pressure of your new parental responsibilities can be a shock to the system. It’s common for new mothers to feel a bit down and tearful for up to a week or two after giving birth, but it’s when low mood persists past this point or appears further down the line, that it might be considered postnatal depression.
Being a new parent can carry many expectations as you imagine what life will be like with your new baby but when the time comes the reality doesn’t always live up to the expectation. Seeing images on social media making parenthood look a lot more manageable than it is in reality or perhaps you were expecting it to be tough but you’re finding it harder to manage than you originally thought.
What are the symptoms?
Postnatal depression is thought to affect around 1 in 10 women and the symptoms can vary from person to person. You can become excessively anxious about the baby and it’s well-being, constantly worrying about the child becoming ill or getting injured. Conversely, the opposite can take effect and you can lose interest in the baby. Thoughts about not being able to cope can become overwhelming and can lead to panic attacks and not being able to stop crying. Babies sleep routines are often sporadic and unsettled, so it’s not uncommon for new parents to suffer from exhaustion, but postnatal depression can exacerbate the tiredness and cause you to become irritable, lose your appetite and struggle with memory loss.
How do I overcome postnatal depression?
The low mood that comes with postnatal depression can be difficult to manage and there is no one way to switch it off, but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help introduce tools and techniques to tackle the symptoms by changing your ‘Behaviour’ [the way you act] and ‘Thoughts’ [the way you think] which in turn alters the way you feel. We understand that having a new baby means that you may not have the time to attend therapy sessions, so we have created free online video treatments centred around CBT. If you feel as though our online service could work for you, simply head to www.therapyforyou.co.uk/courses/online.
If at any point you feel as though you’re not making progress, or you are having any thoughts about yourself or your baby that are concerning you, please speak to your GP.