Postpartum depression is a type of depression that affects new mothers after giving birth. Symptoms can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and difficulty bonding with their baby. It's important for women experiencing postnatal sadness to seek support from healthcare professionals and loved ones. That (as I know all too well) is easier said than done!!
After the birth of my third child at age 40, I hit a big slump! When my daughter was born it was all joy and happiness, known as the 'baby bubble'. Then, unfortunately, due to other life circumstances, my husband had to start working two weeks away and only one week home. This combination hit me very hard. The realisation that this new bundle of joy was all my responsibility and mine alone! I was 40 - the age in life when typically you'd be enjoying quiet times, travel, and the joy of freedom. But no, I quit my job to raise our little bear in the most attached, baby-led, and Montessori way we could. It was hard! It was a very challenging time for me and my relationship with my husband.
However, I was extremely blessed to have an absolutely beautiful friend who gave me some guidance in a service that has changed my life forever. This public service saved me! I sought help and that is what I got.
One part of this service was to see a psychiatrist. Something I'd wanted to do for years but just never did. After seeing various psychiatrists, I was diagnosed and treated for ADHD. This was a huge shock! I had no idea I had ADHD, and I even worked as an ADHD support specialist with children, which is a little embarrassing. It's important to seek the help of a mental health professional if you're experiencing postnatal sadness, as therapy can be an effective treatment option. A therapist can help you work through your emotions and develop coping strategies to manage your symptoms.
All of this gave me a further appreciation of how important it is to ask for help when you feel something might not be quite right. It may be a very mild feeling but it's still worth recognising, and doing things that make you feel good. Take care of yourself: Self-care is crucial when coping with postnatal sadness. Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as exercise, reading, or spending time with friends and family. Getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet can also help improve your mood. If this doesn't work, then maybe it's time to get help.
Another helpful way to cope is to connect with other new mothers. Joining a support group or participating in online forums can help you connect with other new mothers who may be going through similar experiences. This can provide you with a sense of community and help you feel less isolated. I found a new mums group through Facebook and through a friend. Support groups are a great way to find friends and an opportunity for your baby to play and interact with other babies.
Tell the people that love you - your network is there to support you. Talk to your partner! It's important to communicate with your partner about how you're feeling. They may be able to provide you with additional support and help you manage your symptoms.
It's okay to not be okay! Postnatal sadness/depression is real and it's nothing to be ashamed of!! Remember, postnatal sadness is a treatable condition. By seeking professional help, connecting with others, taking care of yourself, considering therapy, and talking to your partner, you can improve your mood and begin to feel like yourself again.
Please get help, it's there for you. You're not alone.
Global Service: https://www.postpartum.net/ Western Australia Service: https://www.sjog.org.au/our-services/community-and-youth-services/st-john-of-god-raphael-services Australia-Wide Services: https://panda.org.au/ and https://www.beyondblue.org.au/