4 mins

Winning the Postnatal Depression Battle

The pressures after having a baby can be intense. While we tend to think of the stress of sleepless nights, often that’s the least of the worries for new mothers. Changes in hormones, lack of sleep, and other stresses can take a huge toll on new mums. The important thing is to realise that, while postnatal depression is a serious issue, effective treatments are available. Too often women suffer needlessly because they delay seeking help. This may be due to societal conditioning and the expectation that new mothers should be happy. In fact, postnatal depression is a common issue that people often don’t recognise.

New Mother Down

Pregnancy makes significant demands on a woman’s body. Changing hormone levels during and after birth can cause fatigue, depression, anxiety, memory issues, moodiness, and other symptoms. Add in sleepless nights up with the new baby and you have a recipe for postnatal depression and anxiety. In addition to the physical challenges, often a new baby brings other areas of stress into the lives of new parents. Contrary to expectations, breastfeeding and caring for a fussy baby are rarely skills that magically appear after giving birth. Women often feel pressured to be “great” mothers to their newborn without being given the time to understand and grow into their new role.

The birth of a child can also present new areas of disagreement with family and friends. Different styles of parenting, expectations regarding childrearing duties, and commentary by the new grandparents and well-meaning friends and family can bring friction. Ideally, couples will discuss parenting styles, duties and expectations long before the birth of the child, but even those conversations may be very different from living with a baby day-to-day.

The pressure of a new mouth to feed and, perhaps, a parent taking extended leave from work can create enormous stress and anxiety. These are all factors that can contribute to postnatal depression.

Is It Postnatal Depression?

Know the signs – postnatal depression is often misunderstood. While it is associated with new mothers, postnatal depression can develop anytime within a year following the birth of a baby. This can cause women to miss the symptoms of postnatal depression or attribute them to fatigue from caring for the new baby. It is important to be able to recognise the symptoms in order to quickly get help and to prevent the problem from becoming worse. Here are common concerns associated with postnatal depression:

  • Feeling sad or moody
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping at night and/or being sleepy during the day
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Feeling unable to care properly for your baby
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling irritable
  • Lacking interest in other people or usual activities
  • Difficulty developing a bond with your baby
  • Negative thoughts – like hurting yourself or your baby

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help. Even if these specific symptoms don’t sound like you but you feel “off” or otherwise unable to cope following the birth of a baby, you should still seek assistance. The more quickly you go for help, the faster you can be feeling better.

Steps to a New You

Once you’ve realised you may have postnatal depression the next step is getting help. If you are experiencing any medical issues following your pregnancy, it is important to discuss those with your doctor. Women may become so caught up in caring for their baby that they neglect to talk to their doctor about problems they may be having.

If you are feeling depressed, stressed or moody, it may be time to reach out to a psychologist for an evaluation and treatment plan. There are many psychological approaches that are effective in dealing with postnatal depression. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help with managing the symptoms of the disorder, whilst schema therapy can address the underlying roots, which can often go back to childhood experiences.

If you aren’t sure if you have postnatal depression, it is important to find out. At The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we can discuss your concerns and provide an evaluation along with a treatment plan that we agree on together. That way you can receive the care you need. Contact us today to schedule a confidential appointment.

Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni

22 August 2017

"Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector."

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Athena Lazaridou

Athena is a Pilates instructor with 8 years’ experience in the field. After completing a Power Pilates Mat Certification in Athens, she went on to complete the Full Comprehensive Classical Pilates Certification with Equinox in Kensington.  She has been teaching Pilates at Equinox for the past 6 years in addition to her own private clients who she trains both face to face and virtually.

Athena has a passion for helping people get stronger and fitter as well as helping those recovering from injury regain their strength and mobility.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes to incorporate Pilates into their training and improve performance. Athena has also worked with prenatal and postnatal women who may be experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties and used Pilates to facilitate a positive impact on their mental health.

Athena is very passionate about improving physical and mental well-being and has recently incorporated Sound Healing into her work, as she believes it to be one of the best ways of ‘letting go’ and releasing stale energy whilst increasing greater self-awareness.