Motherhood is an incredible experience, but becoming a new mum is also challenging and full of uncertainties. It is OK to not feel 100% all of the time when you welcome a new member to your family.
However, while finding motherhood difficult is normal, feeling consistently low can be a sign of something more. Current research shows that up to 1 in every 5 women may experience symptoms of anxiety, depression or both during pregnancy and/or following birth (1), so it is something that should be taken seriously.
What are the signs of postpartum depression?
- Feeling consistently low
- Feeling inadequate or not good enough
- Feeling hopeless
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling unmotivated
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Anxiety and excessive worry
- Struggling to sleep
These feelings are very normal and are completely justified. You may feel ashamed of feeling this way, but it is important to remember that it doesn’t mean you are a bad mother. Pregnancy can trigger hormonal changes that trigger these feelings. It is not a reflection of you or your intentions.
What to do if you feel this way?
If you are feeling like this over the course of a few weeks, book in to speak with your doctor or another medical professional. It is not normal to consistently feel depressed or out of touch with your child. Your doctor will be able to recommend a treatment which may include:
Postpartum depression is a genuine illness that can require professional treatment. Your doctor can assist you with finding a specialised counselling service that will help guide you through this.
2. Support groups
You are not alone in this. There are many mothers who feel the same way. Support groups offer the opportunity for new mums that are suffering to help each other and reduce any guilt they may have about their feelings.
There are multiple types of medicines that can be prescribed. In consultation with your doctor, a suitable treatment plan can be organised.
It is important to remember that you are deserving of support no matter how big or small your struggle is. Motherhood, as rewarding as it is, can be hard! It is OK to lean on your partner, friends and family when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help.
If you need to speak with someone, you can call the 24-hour Lifeline hotline on 13 11 14.
Jacqui runs Canberra Fitness Centre in Mitchell in the ACT. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.
(1) Research cited by Panda.org