GP, Dr Martine Walker, provides an insight into who is susceptible to Postnatal Depression, how to recognise the signs and how to find help. Take the opportunity to find out more about Postnatal Depression here on the Huggies site.
What a great friend you are! Excessive worry and ‘everything seeming to be a big deal’ are common symptoms of post natal depression particularly if this is different to what your friend was previously like. If she is a good friend, I think it is very unlikely she will hate you for gently asking her if she is OK and telling her you have noticed that she seems really stressed. In fact, she might be desperate for someone to notice how bad she feels. You might be a life saver! If you decide to ask her how she is feeling, it really important to be aware of the resources in your area you could suggest she be in contact with – her GP or early childhood sister are great first starts!
You are a mother! What more can I say? Every day mothers give, give, give! That your family needed to look after you during that hard time is more than made up for every day by the commitment and love you shower on your family. I suppose my only concern is that you may still be a bit depressed. Guilt is a very definite symptom of persisting depression. Do you think it may be worth a catch up with your GP, therapist or early childhood sister?
A good way of thinking about PND is using an analogy of weather. If you feel that your mood is generally summer with a few rainy days, that’s not PND. We al have rainy days sometimes! If you feel, though, that your mood is winter all the time with only occasional sunny days, then I would be more concerned. You don’t need to have thoughts of harming your baby to have PND. I would strongly suggest you have a chat with your favourite GP or early childhood sister who are skilled in making this assessment. PND is so “fixable”!
Bravo to you and your friend! To your friend for being a great friend and recognizing that you were in trouble and to you for doing the hard work required to overcome this now so common problem. That year will always be a painful memory – but you made it out and are the stronger for it, I’m sure.
If you feel there is something wrong then there is something wrong – your instincts are very powerful. Unfortunately, there are some doctors who for all sorts of complicated reasons may not be on the ball as regards PND so I agree it’s important to seek another opinion. Is there another GP in your practice who may be more attuned to these issues (dare I say a female?). The sister at the early childhood centre ( – Baby health centre in your state) is very experienced in detecting and picking up PND and will have people she can refer you to that deal with this problem every day. The Beyond Blue website also has a list of GPs who specialize in depression in your area – www.BeyondBlue.org.au. This is a very useful website.
Good on you for being in contact and admitting there is a problems – this is the first step in getting better. It sounds like life is very hard for you at the moment. Your GP will not think badly of you – in fact they will appreciate your bravery in coming forward – I would! If you wanted to approach someone else, the sister at the early childhood centre (? Baby health centre in your state) is very experienced in detecting and picking up PND and will have people she can refer you to that deal with this problem every day. The Beyond Blue website also has a list of GPs who specialize in depression in your area – www.BeyondBlue.org.au. This is a very useful website.
Don’t despair – this problem WILL be fixed and you will look back on this time as a bad dream . Take the first step today!
It sounds like life is pretty tough for you at the moment! Yes, a lot of the symptoms you mention can be signs of PND. As we said in the show, often PND is a funny sort of depression where people get really agitated and worry about things they would not have worried about in the past. It sounds like your worries are having a big impact on your life and relationships. I think it is worthwhile talking to a health professional – your GP or the sister at the early childhood centre ( – Baby health centre in your state) are very experienced in detecting and picking up PND and will have people they can refer you to that deal with this problem every day. The Beyond Blue website also has a list of GPs who specialize in depression in your area – www.BeyondBlue.org.au. This is a very useful website. Good luck – life is to be enjoyed. Do something about this today!
Dear Penny, Yours is a really common fear! I think I can reassure you on a couple of points.
Firstly, the fact that you have had PND in the past will mean that you and your family and health professionals will be very attuned to the possibility of it happening again – no long months wondering and suffering if it were to recur. Secondly, we have really good evidence about the safety of medications like Zoloft in pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about your concerns and about where you are at the moment with your made and make a plan? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
This is a tough and really common problem that we as doctors see all the time. I think PND is more difficult for men than they care to admit (they’re so tough!) and I often think men can have PND – usually after their partner has started to get better. But as they are not the ‘patient’ and don’t want to admit that anything is wrong they do what men always do – retreat to their cave and become non- communicative. Has he talked about how he felt and feels about your PND." Has he acknowledged how tough it was/is for him? Have you acknowledged that too? Has he had a chance to have a session with your counsellor alone and just for him?
Recovering from depression is a slow process – he needs to recover too. Keep with him and give yourself both time.
You must be exhausted – 13 weeks pregnant and a 17 month old! Yes PND can occur this late and perhaps your tiredness and the anticipation of another baby has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Can I encourage you to talk to your GP or baby health sister – if you are suffering from PND it would be great to nip it in the bud and be ready and busting to parent your soon to be 2 little babies with all the energy and fun you would hope for. PND is SO fixable.
Dear Nat, The best way to “let him in” is to tell him how you felt then and how you feel now – only in that way will he understand. He can’t argue with your feelings and its quite possible there are times in his life he has felt the same. It is so helpful to you if you can feel he understands and hat you are both working together.
Dear Dorothy, Feeling that things are “not right” and having difficulty coping are very common symptoms of PND and PND is so fixable! Make a time today to discuss you feelings with your GP or baby health sister or have a look at the beyond Blue website for the names of health professional in your area who have a special interest in this area. Health professional see this this problem EVERY day – much more commonly that you could ever imagine – and will know how to help you feel a whole lot better!