Up to one in ten women experience postnatal depression (also known as postpartum depression) following the birth of a baby. It is normal for women to experience mood swings, tearfulness and anxieties after giving birth. This experience is often called the “baby blues” and tends to resolve over a couple of days or weeks.
Postnatal depression is considered when a mother is reporting symptoms that continue to become more distressing as time goes on after the birth of the baby. Some of these symptoms include feeling hopeless, sad, tearful, and anxious, feeling unable to cope or to care for the baby, a lack of enjoyment in the baby, feeling guilty, having difficulty connecting to the baby.
Many women feel guilty or ashamed that they are experiencing these feelings after the birth of their baby and find it difficult to share their feelings with another person. However, it is important to talk to your maternal health nurse or GP if you are experiencing any of these symptoms in order to gain support and a referral for counselling during this time.
A psychologist can assist you to address these painful feelings, anxieties and concerns. In conjunction with a GP or maternal health nurse, a psychologist can help you to develop strategies and supports to build your confidence as a mother and to make a positive bond with your baby.