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  • Writer's pictureGeorgina Sturmer

How to spot the signs of Postnatal Depression

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

This week, Britney Spears' memoir has been in the press, and has highlighted the topic of Postnatal Depression. I was asked to offer some advice for the readers of the Huffington Post. We looked at how to spot the signs of Postnatal Depression, and how to get help. Click here for the full article, my comments are below. And if you do read the full article, the eagle-eyed among you might spot that my name has been quoted incorrectly ... I promise that the comments really are mine!

How to spot the signs of Postnatal Depression

After we have given birth, we are told to keep an eye out for the ‘baby blues’. This is a common response to the physical and emotional toll of pregnancy and childbirth. But the ‘baby blues’ usually disappear within the first two weeks of the postpartum period. Postnatal depression is noticeably different. There isn’t one specific sign or indicator, but it’s often recognised as a feeling of sadness, depression or low mood that simply doesn’t go away. It can be accompanied by feeling helpless, or anxious, or frightened about looking after your baby. And it doesn’t always appear straight after birth, in fact the NHS definition of postnatal depression suggests that it can start at any point in the first year after giving birth.

There’s no set timeframe for postnatal depression. Sometimes it can lift quickly, and other times it can last for a long time. Support networks are key. If we are able to lean on other people for practical and emotional support, then this can be really helpful. But part of the challenge is that sometimes postnatal depression is accompanied by embarrassment or shame. In the past, postnatal depression was barely spoken of, and there is a legacy of stigma. Like so many things in women’s lives - miscarriage, periods, menopause - it’s often spoken about in hushed tones. But it’s so common, and it’s so important to be able to open up.

Seeking help for Postnatal Depression As with anything that relates to our emotional or physical wellbeing, it’s always best to seek help as soon as you can. If you’re still under the care of your perinatal mental health team, then they are a great first port of call. If not, please visit your GP to speak to them about options for support via the NHS. You can also seek out a counsellor with experience in this area, who can help you to understand and manage your feelings. There’s also great advice and support available from PANDAS (PND Awareness and Support) and Mind.

Keen to explore more?

I love working with people to help them to understand themselves and what they have been through. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. Click here to contact me or click here to book a free 30-minute introductory chat.

How to spot the signs of Postnatal Depression

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