The Reality of Mental Health for New Mothers
In 2016, 40% of areas in England had no dedicated maternal mental health services. The NHS is now setting up new mental health ‘hubs’ in regions across England to help support around 6,000 new parents in the first year. But is this enough? Over 1 in 10 new mothers experience postpartum depression in the UK. Women facing severe mental health issues like depression need easier access to mental health support without excessive waiting lists.
Counselling for postpartum depression can help new mothers cope with a mental health issue that destroys their health and happiness. They can make sense of depressive feelings that affect their everyday life and taint these essential first weeks and months of contact and caring for a newborn baby.
Please keep reading to learn more about postpartum depression, what it is and the symptoms, and how therapy can support new mothers struggling with this mental health issue.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs in mothers after having a baby. While it is a common problem in women, postnatal depression (6 weeks after giving birth) can also affect many fathers and partners.
When a baby is born, it can trigger overwhelming and powerful emotions, from joy and happiness to fear and anxiety. Because these feelings are so intense, they can often lead to something unexpected – depression.
What sets postpartum depression from ‘baby blues’ is that it can last longer than a few days or a couple of weeks. Baby blues typically start within the first couple of days after delivery, with mood swings, anxiety, and sleeping difficulties, but these tend to stop after two weeks. However, postpartum depression is a severe, long-lasting form of depression that can cause symptoms like those above – and worse – to last for weeks or months after delivery.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Many women experience the baby blues after giving birth with some tears and anxiety in those first few days and weeks. However, if these symptoms last much longer than two weeks, it could be a sign of postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression can start at any point in the first year after giving birth. And some of the signs of this serious mental health issue include:
- Feeling persistently sad or down.
- Lacking enjoyment or interest in the wider world.
- Avoiding contact with other people.
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
- Feeling tired all the time.
- Having trouble sleeping at night and/or sleeping during the day.
- Trouble bonding with your baby.
- Scary thoughts, e.g. hurting your baby.
Many women don’t realise they have postpartum depression because these symptoms can develop very gradually over time, and they may not experience more than a couple of them. However, if you notice you (or someone close to you) are suffering from one or more of these symptoms, then you should seek support.
Therapy for Postpartum Depression
It can be difficult to seek support when facing postpartum depression because we often don’t truly understand what we are experiencing. However, if you feel like you are facing emotions and thoughts you didn’t expect after delivery, or you are worried about your mental health, then seeking the support of a therapist would be beneficial.
Therapy for depression can help new mothers understand what postpartum depression is and how it affects their happiness and mental health. Through increased understanding comes knowledge of what to do to tackle these unwanted thoughts and feelings and find ways to bond with your child and enjoy this new experience as a mother.
Often, people don’t want to go to therapy for postpartum depression because they are ashamed that they don’t have the motherly feelings and instincts they are expected to have. However, these feelings are unnecessary as therapy is a judgement-free space where clients can speak openly and honestly about their emotions. In return, they get expert advice and ongoing support from experienced therapists – like myself!
If you want to learn more about my services as a therapist, please look at my website today. I can support your ongoing mental health journey with a bespoke treatment plan with your happiness and health at the heart of everything.