Are you a new or expecting parent? Have you had feelings of depression or anxiety? If so, you’re not alone.
What are the stats?
1 in 10 expecting mothers and 1 in 20 expecting dads struggle with antenatal (before child birth) depression. Additionally, 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads are diagnosed with postnatal (after child birth) depression each year.
And what about anxiety?
Unfortunately, even more new and expecting parents suffer from anxiety.
So what does this mean for me?
Adjusting to having a new baby is something that all parents should expect and prepare for. It’s usually a temporary adjustment, and might include some feelings of ‘baby blues’ for the first few days. So if you feel teary, anxious or moody during this time it’s not something to be overly alarmed by. But when these feelings last beyond the first few days and worsen, it could be time to reach out for help.
What should I be looking out for?
Keep an eye out for some of the common signs of postnatal depression such as:
- Feeling like you’ve failed or are inadequate as a parent
- Having a sense of hopelessness about the future
- Having a very low mood that continues for long periods of time
- Worrying excessively about your baby
- Feeling scared of being alone or scared of going out
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, worthless,
- Feeling exhausted, empty sad and teary
- Having trouble sleeping, sleeping for too long or having nightmares
What if I’m experiencing things that are scaring me?
In some situations you might experience thoughts that are confronting to you, such as leaving your family, or worrying that your partner will leave you. If you have these thoughts, or thoughts about self-harm or harming your baby or partner, please seek professional help right away.
Who can I reach out to?
Your family and friends.
Your GP – at HealthMint our GPs are particularly good at helping people through depression and anxiety. They take the time to listen and work through things with you to put you on a path to feeling better.
- PANDA – 1300 726 306
- beyondblue – 1300 224 636
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby – 1800 882 436
GLOW Clinic – a Perinatal Emotional Health and Wellbeing Clinic, which offers a combination of support.
What help is available?
Family and friends are the obvious go-to, but in some situations, just having a friendly face to speak to outside of your family can be a big help. So you may find that having regular visits with a good GP helps to alleviate your symptoms and make you feel relaxed and in control of your health. A GP can also keep an eye on your symptoms, and help you to determine whether what you’re experiencing needs further help. Together with your doctor you could explore things like:
- Group treatment
- Medications such as anti-depressants
- Developing support strategies
- Diet and exercise
- Yoga and mindfulness
So what’s the take home message?
You are absolutely not alone. There are people both within your immediate support network, as well as professionals that are ready and willing to help you. If this article encourages you to take the first step, then you are already a step closer to feeling better.