Post Natal Depression (PND)

Post Natal Depression (PND) has for some time been another of the more silent yet insidious illnesses which strikes women - sometimes with fatal consequences.

Until the last decade women's health issues and birth traumas including - miscarriage, still-births, PND or breast cancer and menopause were delegated to women's problems with a scarcity of solutions and extremely little, if any support.

Thanks to a great many passionate and intelligent women (and more recently men), these serious health issues which have or will affect someone in your world are now receiving more attention, funds, solutions and support.

The real VIP issue today is also about providing information to us, the general public to not just help with any of these issues in our own lives, but in particular to be supportive to a member of your family or a friend who may really need you - during a time of great difficulty when challenged by a serious health issue or birth related trauma.

PND is a mood disorder with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. They can begin suddenly or gradually during the first year after giving birth. Essentially the chemistry of the brain is not on your team - it is in fact working against the very thing you would like to feel…the joy of being a mum arriving home with a new member to the family.

According to Anne Paton of Tresilian Family Care centres women are most vulnerable in the first six months after birth.  If you are pregnant or have a new-born, here are some of the symptoms to watch out for within yourself or perhaps someone in your mums group.

Symptoms to watch out for:

  • feelings of inadequacy, an inability to cope
  • anxiety, panic, fear of being alone
  • sadness - tearfulness for 'no reason'
  • mood swings
  • sleep disturbance unrelated to the babys needs (bad dreams, sudden waking)
  • appetite changes
  • chronic exhaustion
  • obsessional thoughts
  • loss of confidence

You may have a friend or relative who is suffering with PND and presents in the following manner:

  • well groomed but with a fixed smile and dull eyes
  • very concerned about something being wrong with the baby
  • struggling to cope with a colicky baby
  • agitated
  • increasingly ambivalent about breastfeeding
  • unresponsive to her baby who is sending her clear signals to be picked up
  • complaining about marital relationship

Post Natal Depression is treatable at places like Tresillian. Treatment involves counselling, medication and group therapy, where mums have regular contact with other mums going through a similar phase with their babies.

For help:  Tresillian's 24-hour Parents Help Line on (02) 9787 0855 or FREECALL for country callers, 1800 637 357.
For more information on PND and other types of depression, visit www.beyondblue.org.au


 
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