I have had some lovely feedback from people since writing my blog, but one common reaction I get is that they never knew I had postnatal depression as I seemed fine? So many people said they could never have guessed as I was still up and dressed to take my daughter to preschool and I still smiled and said hello. That’s the thing with PND as it’s not something that necessarily shows on the outside, unless you take a closer look. My husband was even surprised when I told him that I needed to get help, but now looking back he says that he wishes he had known more and was able to pick up on it.
I know I am guilty of painting a picture that I am doing fine when inside I am completely consumed and at breaking point. I was even in denial with myself over my illness and refused to accept it until it was nearly too late. I think it is so important for partners, parents and friends to recognize the symptoms and step in when needed. I know my husband now feels guilty that he couldn’t have done something sooner to have helped me.
My Health visitor came to see me at around 6 weeks and did the Edinburgh Scale (EPDS) which is a great resource for getting an idea if you have PND, but for me I wasn’t truthful and lied as I didn’t want her to think badly of me. When I finally admitted I needed help it was EPDS that I found online that helped me realise how bad it was, this led me to finally calling the GP and seeing my Health visitor and asking for help. If I had only been honest at six weeks postpartum with myself my PND journey might not have been so difficult.
Some days I would feel like I was getting a handle on things and stuff wouldn’t be as bad, which dragged me into a false sense of security that I didn’t have PND and I was in fact fine. PND hits 1 in 7 mothers and is far more common than I ever thought. I was also under the illusion as I hadn’t had it with my oldest then why should I get it this time around?
Some symptoms of PND are below, but you may not have them all:
- Feeling sad or low mood.
- Little interest of doing things you once enjoyed.
- Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time.
- Trouble switching off and sleeping at night.
- Feeling overwhelmed and unable to look after your baby.
- Problems concentrating and making decisions.
- Loss of appetite or comfort eating.
- Feeling agitated and irritable.
- Feelings of guilt and blaming yourself.
- Feeling unable to bond with your baby.
- Thoughts of self-harm or hurting your baby.
The main signs you may notice in someone are:
- Crying for no obvious reason.
- Withdrawing contact from people.
- Only taking care of my baby’s basic needs.
- Loss of sense of humor.
- Speaking very negatively about themselves.
- Loss of confidence.
If you are or you know someone struggling please urge them to see the GP or Heath visitor.
Below is the link to the Edinburgh Scale Questionnaire: