Postnatal depression affects up to 1 in 7 Australian women who give birth, and is more than just the ‘baby blues’ which many women experience in the first few days after having a child. It develops between one month and up to one year after the birth of a baby and while the exact cause is unknown, it’s likely due to the combination of emotional, physical and social changes that occur following the birth of a child.
Common signs of postnatal depression include:
- Having a very low mood
- Feeling inadequate, guilty or a failure as a mother
- Having difficulties sleeping, or oversleeping
- Feeling anxious, panicky and/or unable to cope
- Being tearful and irritable
- Having a low self-esteem or lack of confidence
- Having negative thoughts
- Loss of appetite
- Low sex drive
- Difficulties concentrating and remembering things
- Worrying excessively about your baby
- Feeling that life is meaningless and having a sense of hopeless about the future
It’s normal to feel tired and irritable after the birth of a child, while dealing with new challenges and demands, changes in hormones and adjusting to new routines. But if you, or someone you know, have symptoms which are more severe or which have been going on for more than two weeks, it’s important to seek help. Your GP is the best place to start but the contacts below can also provide information and support. Postnatal depression can be treated through a combination of counselling, psychotherapy and medication, along with the support of friends and family.
For more information and support for post-natal depression: