Post-natal mental health and how to start to talk about it

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Published on: 12th April 2019

On Sunday 31st March many families will have celebrated Mothering Sunday together – a time to pamper mums and thank them for all their hard work! However, for the 10-15% of new mums who have post-natal depression, the day may have felt more difficult. For these mums, every day will be a battle against thoughts like “I’m useless” or “I’m a terrible mum” whilst coping with symptoms like poor appetite, exhaustion, tearfulness and feeling sad, empty or numb. Often mums put pressure on themselves to be “perfect” - below is one person’s experience of a not-so-perfect day that is probably shared by many people.

If you feel that you have symptoms of post-natal depression, help is available through steps2change – as part of Better Births Lincolnshire we prioritise people who are pregnant and for up to a year after birth.

 

Post-natal mental health and how to start to talk about it
by Angela Campbell 

I’ve written my opening paragraph 10 times! 10 times I have typed this, read and had it instantly deleted by little fingers due to my attention not fully being on the stacker cups and plastic eggs that’s being thrown across the floor as we speak or the wooden monkey that’s just got its head smashed into the telly screen! Effie my daughter likes to be the centre of my attention so didn’t think twice about crawling over and hitting the keyboard with full force to show me she is there!

Why don’t I do this while she is napping I imagine you’re thinking, well the explanation for that is she doesn’t sleep!! Ever!

Ok that may be an exaggeration today because we have had a rough night, one of many, sleep deprivation is a funny thing! Something which I had never experienced on a scale like this, my first child slept really well.  So my experience of the new born zombie stage was short but he soon settled down into a sleep pattern quite quickly.

Effie, nope! No way sleep is not for her she would much rather be playing and when I say playing I mean turning the telly on and off, pulling all the shoes off the shoe rack, swiping her brother round the face so his glasses fall off, pulling at the stair gate until it comes off the wall and other things that don’t include playing with the mountains of toys she has.

Sometimes I find these things a breeze to deal with - I just laugh and find it amazing watching the little character in her grow and her personality shine through. Other days I’m so tired and overwhelmed I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day, I find with sleep deprivation moods can be all over the place, sometimes it can leave you feeling like you’re not doing well, like you don’t recognise yourself or you can probably experience more negative thinking especially about yourself and what kind of mother you are! But do you know what I’ve learned when speaking to my friends with children and other people more and more at baby groups were all going through this!

These thoughts are normal, for others however these can feel much worse and these overwhelming feelings and emotions may take over and you notice a daily struggle. I would urge you to speak to your loved ones, friends, family or GP. With all the amazing services available there will always be someone who can relate to those feelings or professionals there to help.

Remember sleep will return, things will become easier and you can still be yourself and a mum you don’t have to forget the person you were before. There is no rule book, we all just do what’s best for our children and our families. Don’t compare yourself to others and always be kind to yourself.

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