Dealing with postnatal depression
You’ve been anticipating the arrival of your little one for months now. And finally, he’s right here in your arms. Yet, you’re miserable. Voices in your head tell you that this is the best period of your life and yet, you cannot stop weeping. If this sounds like something that you’re experiencing, the first thing to do is to stop feeling guilty. You may be suffering from a condition known as postnatal depression.
What is postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression (PND) is a common condition. Research has shown that one in nine new mothers suffer from PND, but the numbers could be much higher as a number of cases remain undiagnosed. It is important to differentiate PND from ‘baby blues’, which occurs right after the baby’s birth. Due to a hormonal imbalance, moms may feel extremely bewildered and experience several emotions at the same time. This generally goes away in a few days. PND starts once the initial joy of having a baby has passed, and the reality has hit home. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Melancholy or feeling miserable all day
- Becoming more and more irritable with your baby, friends and family
- Feeling anxious
- Unable to enjoy yourself
- Feeling guilty about ‘letting everyone down’
Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, you could also suffer from a low sex drive and feel lethargic at all times.
What can you do?
The most important thing to do is to talk to a healthcare professional about what you’ve been experiencing. PND is a treatable condition and can be treated with antidepressants. Contrary to popular belief, antidepressants are not addictive when taken in moderation. But, here’s what you can do if you’re feeling blue:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Rest as much as your baby!
- Exercise whenever you get the time
- Ask your family and friends for help with your baby
- Read up on the condition and prepare a coping mechanism beforehand