Depression & Anxiety in Maternity

 

The difference between depression & the baby blues

Depression some thoughts & feelings:

  • Lack of energy and motivation ....this is normal to a degree just after having a baby but should not persist longer than a couple of weeks.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
  • Changes in appetite or weight....Expect a certain degree of this obviously in pregnancy (nausea may make this a porr measure in pregnancy) and postnatally having just had a baby and especially if you are breastfeeding.
  • Sleeping more or less than usual (Difficult to assess with a new baby & sleep pattern changes)
  • Unable to sleep or stay asleep even though you may be really tired.
  • Obsessive cleaning or other behaviour.... Everything must be perfect
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or self harm
  • Recurrent negative self thoughts
  • Lack of interest in your baby
  • Negative feelings towards your baby and/or partner and/or family
  • Worrying or thoughts about hurting your baby or yourself
  • Lack of concern for yourself. Not attending to your own needs and/or personal care
  • Loss of pleasure, especially in things that you used to enjoy
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family
  • You can’t see anything positive in the future
  • Things seem too hard or insolvable
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Can’t stop crying
  • Feeling of inadequacy or that you aren’t good enough
  • People tell you what a good job you are doing but you don’t believe them
  • You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You don’t feel “in love” with your baby.
  • You don’t want baby on you, or you don’t have the urge to cuddle baby.
  • Irrational anger or frustration
  • Changes in character/personality – you feel like a different person
  • Irrational worrying, about small things or you worry all the time
  • You just want it all to end
  • A feeling of bottomless sadness
  • You feel resentful of your baby and how it has negatively changed your life – things used to be so much better/easier before the baby arrived.
  • Jealousy of your baby, other people seem to pay more attention to baby than you. Baby gets all the kisses and love, has all its needs met, gets all the presents
  • You are frightened, but may not know what of or about
  • You don’t know how you are going to cope, and this can lead to despair or increased anxiety
  • You feel very alone and/or lonely

You may feel some or most, or all of these things. Some of these symptoms may also be signs of postnatal psychosis.

The main thing is these feelings don’t “lift” but persist. If these feelings and thoughts persist for longer than a few weeks you should seek help.

 

 

The baby blues, typical thoughts & feelings :

  • Tears rather than crying. Often you are not even sure what or why
  • You may feel over whelmed and that you do not know what you are supposed to do or how to be a mother
  • You feel sad perhaps for some unknown reason but this feeling does go away
  • You wanted everything to be perfect, but it is not.
  • You are frightened, but your fear has some basis. e.g it is natural as a first time mother to feel unsure about how you are going to fill this role.
  • You can still love and be loved
  • You are looking forward to.. going home , your family meeting your baby..being a mum...getting your own routine or pattern at home
  • Your feelings of sadness are not bottomless and they go away within a week or 2 and usually within a few days
  • Usually it is some little thing not always something that makes sense , that makes you cry.
  • You can see a solution to your problems or feel you will find a solution
  • You know you have people that love and can/will support you
  • You love and want to hold your baby close to you

Baby blues are thought to be caused by the sudden and huge hormonal changes and physical changes in your body after the birth of your baby.... some women miss the feeling of baby movements.

 

ANXIETY

Some behaviours and/or thoughts typical of anxiety issues

  • Obsessively worrying. Can be about anything and/or every little thing
  • Worrying about things that other people consider small things.
  • Worry a lot about other people’s opinions
  • Secretly think people are judging or making judgements about you or your family or your mothering
  • Little things escalate into big worries
  • Worry is disproportionate to the issue
  • Difficulty getting to sleep because your mind is so busy – usually with worry
  • Self doubt
  • Nothing is good enough
  • Often think things could be better or done better
  • Your mind seldom feels “quiet” or calm
  • You seem to have so many problems and things to worry about
  • A need to keep things under control .....it may become with every little thing
  • Conversely things can often feel out of your control. Powerlessness
  • Only you can do something properly or the right way
  • Panic attacks – racing heart, shortness of breath, “missed beats”
  • Often think/worry something is wrong with you, your baby or family member ...manifests into more frequent visits to doctor or with m/w even despite constant reassurance from health professionals.
  • Need for constant reassurance
  • Often feel frightened
  • Unable to relax or "switch off" and do nothing. Even feel guilty about not doing something
  • An inability to enjoy the moment.

 

Remember we can all feel some of these things some of the time, but they should not persist and they should definitely not hamper your life nor determine the way you live your life.