The postnatal period (period after childbirth) is a crucial period when a new mother undergoes the transition into motherhood while infants develop and adapt to their new environment.
A postnatal mother is likely to undergo some physical, emotional, social, psychological or hormonal changes. Postnatal depression affects 10−15% of mothers and can lead to cognitive, and emotional disturbance in the baby alongside the negative effects on the mother. The negative impact of postnatal depression can affect the mother’s ability to cope with the care of herself, family, infant, and particularly low parenting functioning. Many women don't realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually.
The symptoms of Postnatal Depression can be tricky for doctors to diagnose as it is very common to feel out of your depth and alone after having a baby. As many as one in three mums can however go on to develop postnatal depression. Thus, VIDEO below will help new mums, their family and friends recognise the signs or symptoms of Postnatal Depression.
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- Decrease energy
It feels as if you have a log of wood sitting in your head and all you want to do is curl up in bed. You are hiding in bed all day and then blame yourself for being a bad mum. Panic attack sets in
- Anger, Irritability, and moodiness
Everyone makes you angry. Your baby, husband or older children are irritating you at a level that you have never felt before. Sometimes you might want to throw things and yell at everyone. You know that you should not be mad or get angry but you can’t help it. You are worried about how rough you are being with people you love. For those that live in shared house you complain about everything your neighbour does.
- Frequent crying for no obvious reasons
You cry about anything and everything. You cry your eyeball out and you think you are going crazy. Sometimes you feel bad that your baby see you cry all the time. Then you think of yourself as a wicked creature and you cry more.
- Withdrawing or limit contact with people
You always do not want to speak to anyone, you want to close the line of communication as soon as you can. For example think of your your husband or partner as business partner on project raising daughter or son. You push him away when he gets close to you and instead of recognising your illness you blame him
- Difficulty bonding with baby
You might find you're unable to bond well with your baby, you interact less with baby and you are less likely to respond quickly to baby needs such as breastfeeding or even you don't play with your children. Sometimes you react negatively or do not even respond at all to infant needs
One of the biggest challenge of postnatal depression is stigma, our society tends to hold negative attitude and belief about mental illness. It can be very difficult to acknowledge that you are struggling and seek treatment. Stigma adds more pressure on new mums to be perfect caregivers. Sometimes you feel as if the world is watching you a little more closer and may have negative assumption. Be brave and take the first step to to seek help in order to avoid bigger problems in future.
If you think you may have developed postnatal depression, speak to your doctor, family or friends such as friends that can help you find important things when you have lost them, things like your smile, your hope….you don’t have to be alone with postnatal depression. If you think someone you know someone who is depressed, encourage them to talk about their feelings to you, a friend and their doctor.
The more women shout and scream and tell people about their conditions and the injustices they face because of postnatal depression, the more we have to sit up and listen and, more importantly, actually do something about them.
One in four women will experience mental illness at some point in their lives – but that means four in four of us know someone who will. So if you are struggling right now – if it feels like the light has been extinguished and all hope is lost – please, this week, tell someone. Because only by telling someone can things start to get better. They can get better, and they will.
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Use #abovePND to raise awareness of postnatal depression in Nigeria. #endstigma