Postnatal depression (PND) is the name given to depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood. It can occur immediately, within 1 month of giving birth, or it can occur up to one year later. PND affects almost 1 in every 5 women who give birth each year, in Australia alone.
All new mothers go through a period of change and adjustment, trying to handle the new lifestyle changes a baby brings. With this, many women experience emotional changes, also known as the ‘baby blues’, in the first few days after having a baby.
The baby blues, although you might feel teary, anxious and moody during that time, don’t usually last long. But if these uneasy feelings last beyond the early days of parenthood, and continue to get worse, it may something more serious.
The Signs of Postnatal Depression
There are many signs that someone may be struggling with postnatal depression. Some are more common than others. Some women suffer from one symptom, others may suffer from more. Some of the signs include:
- Feeling extremely sad, teary, fatigued and exhausted
- Feeling ashamed, worthless and guilty
- Feelings of ongoing anxiety
- Feeling inadequate as a parent
- Excessive worry
- Having trouble sleeping
PND symptoms can range in severity and duration. PND can be a mild feeling of sadness or full blown depression. Fathers can also suffer from PND.
*Disclaimer: It is recommended you see a doctor if any of these, or similar symptoms, occur.