Myth: I just have to wait for it to go away
Whilst your PND may lessen as your baby grows you shouldn’t have to feel this way; with help, you can reduce the symptoms and make it more bearable.
Leaving it without seeking help can make things worse in the long run.
Myth: I’ll have to take anti-depressants
As you’ll see later in this article, taking anti-depressants is only one option for tackling PND. It may prove to be a good solution for you but there are other choices to consider too before deciding on taking the pills.
Myth: I can’t look after my baby
It is only very extreme situations when a baby will be taken away, and extremely rare in cases of PND. The aim is to support you so that you can care for both yourself and your baby and bond together.
Myth: PND makes me a bad parent
You haven’t done anything wrong to get PND and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Seeking help for PND symptoms makes you a responsible parent.
When you seek support you’ll hopefully discover that you aren’t being judged and aren’t failing as a parent.
How to Treat Postnatal Depression
How long can postnatal depression last? Postnatal depression can last between two weeks and several months. For some women it goes on to be a long-term depression requiring management, but for the majority of women it will pass by the time you’re blowing out the candle on your baby’s first birthday cake.
If you think you or someone you know is suffering from PND, there are three main areas of help you can consider:
2. Psychological Therapy
3. Drug treatment (anti-depressants)
We recommend that if you are feeling down after having baby then you speak to either your Health Visitor or GP. They can help signpost you to the right help in your circumstances.
Self-help strategies include things such as talking to others, joining PND support forums and groups, spending time with other new parents, friends and family, as well as implementing good self-care including a healthy diet and exercise.
If these strategies are not working, or your PND is more severe, you should be able to access some psychological therapy. This may be available online or over the phone in your area if you are concerned about juggling childcare.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an appropriate treatment. Talking therapies can also be useful.
Anti-depressants are another option available if you wish, in discussion with your doctor. Your doctor will also be able to discuss with you which anti-depressants are suitable if you are breastfeeding.
Going on anti-depressants does not mean you are weak or are giving in, sometimes it is the springboard you need to become well again and are only needed for a short while. The decision to use anti-depressants as a solution should not be taken lightly.
Taking Steps to Prevent PND
If you’re feeling down after having a baby and are concerned it may turn into postnatal depression, don’t despair. There are some early interventions you can take to try and head PND off at the pass.
Don’t try to be superhuman. Parenthood is hard, as can be the postpartum after birth time – physically and mentally. Now is the time to lower the standards and expectations you have of yourself and focus on the basics only.
When you have more energy, you can pick other things back up again.
Try to spread your wings and make friendships with other new parents who are going through the same stage as you. Sharing tales of sleepless nights or colicky-wailing can be immensely supportive and reassuring.
If you’re finding it hard to make local friends, then try contacting the Pandas Foundation.
Keep the lines of communication with your Health Visitor and GP open. Be honest and realise that acknowledging how you feel to professionals will help you. Similarly, ask friends and family for help, and accept any offers that are given.
Postnatal Depression – What to do now
Having a break can really help. Book a vetted and trustworthy babysitter who will spend some time, day or evening, entertaining and looking after your little one so that you can sleep, socialise, or simply have some time away to gather your thoughts or do other tasks.
It’s vital to remember that PND is not a reflection of you or who you are as an individual or a parent. You aren’t failing. It will pass.
We believe your little ones deserve the very best care. That's why our local network of babysitters are personally checked and picked by our family for your family www.sitters.co.uk.