It may sound strange but lot of moms, especially first-time moms, fail to understand they are suffering exactly from postnatal depression. They fail to recognize correctly its symptoms and blame themselves for being "bad mothers", consider their babies to be just "difficult", or suspect a case of marital crisis. After years of a relative control of their lives, it is dificult for women to confess they experience a serious depressive mood.
Getting to know you have PND is the first step to overcome it. It`s not a question to feel shame, or guilt for having it- it is just there and this is fact. PND`s symptoms are similar to general depression`s signs and can be easy detected through an honest self-examination. A depressed mom is most likely to experience some or all of the following:
- Sluggishness, fatigue, exhaustion
- Sadness, depression, hopelessness
- Appetite and sleep disturbances
- Poor concentration, confusion
- Memory loss
- Overconcern for the baby
- Uncontrollable crying, irritability
- Guilt, inadequacy, worthlessness
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Fear of harming the baby or yourself
- Fear of losing control or "going crazy"
- Exaggerated highs and/or lows
- Lack of interest in sex
- Intrusive thoughts
PND can appear within few days after delivery, during the first month, or gradually during the first year. Some symptoms may be prevalent and strong, other- mild; some symptoms may be absent but in any case when a number of them is present we are facing a PND.
Having a PND is something that should not go on neglected. Although sometimes "baby blues" pass by themselves, professional help should be sought whenever a person feels she cannot cope and "low moments" become torturing, disturbing the family life. Professional help consists of medical and psychiatric evaluation, psychotherapy and preferably, participation in support postpartum group.With proper care, almost all cases of PND are curable and with excellent prognosis.
Official site of Depression after Delivery, Inc. (1-800-944- 4PPD (Information Request Line,USA)
List of PSI (Postpartum Social International) social network in different countries (adresses and websites)
Online Psych (locate a psychotherapist in your area-USA only)