How to cope with post-natal depression 

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Health Assured team

06 January 2022

Post-natal depression is a common problem that affects more than one in ten women—and some men too. It’s a kind of depression that affects many parents, and it can occur at any time in the first year after birth. 

If you think you or your partner might be experiencing post-natal depression, it’s important you reach out for help as quickly as you can. The symptoms sometimes become worse when left unaddressed, which could cause further problems for you, your partner or your baby. 

Post-natal depression is an extremely difficult experience for any new parent. So we've put together some advice on navigating these challenging times.

Spotting the signs 

It’s sometimes hard to know when a bad mood is just a bad mood or when it's something a little more serious. It’s common for women to experience the baby blues in the first few weeks after pregnancy. The baby blues may leave you feeling upset, worried and nervous following the birth of your baby, but they shouldn’t last any longer than two weeks. 

Some women don’t realise they have post-natal depression because it can develop gradually. If these negative feelings continue, look out for the signs below that could indicate it’s post-natal depression you’re dealing with. 

  • Problems connecting with your baby
  • Extended low mood or feelings of sadness 
  • Difficulty sleeping at night and tiredness during the day 
  • Negative intrusive thoughts about you or the baby
  • Distancing yourself from others close to you 
  • Persistent lack of joy and loss of interest in things you usually enjoy 

Coping with post-natal depression 

Navigating the world of post-natal depression is extremely difficult. It can feel vulnerable, isolating and confusing at times. This period can also be difficult for your partner, family or support network. So try your best to talk openly about how you’re feeling during this time. Support is available, and things will get better—know that these feelings won’t last forever. 

Talk to your GP or midwife 

Make sure you reach out to your GP or midwife as soon as you notice any of the signs above. The sooner you speak up, the better. They can guide you in the right direction and discuss the different treatment options available. 

Self care 

The first year of parenthood involves new challenges and stresses. It’s a demanding role to take on. And this can be even more of a struggle for those experiencing post-natal depression. Every day can feel exhausting, which can take its toll over time. Self care can help take the pressure off any intense emotions you might be feeling. 

Your self-care routine will look unique to you—but try to incorporate things that make you feel good, calm or content, even if only for a moment. By interspersing moments of ‘you time’ throughout the day, you break up the baby routine, which can help you regain your sense of self. Whether it’s a phone call with a friend, light exercise, cooking healthy meals or listening to music—finding time for these small moments can help. 

Seek support 

You’re currently going through a period of drastic change and confusing emotions that you shouldn't experience alone. If you’ve been struggling after the birth of your baby, make sure you talk to your partner, family and friends. It can help you piece together your thoughts and get the support you need.

If you don’t have much of a support network, or you’d prefer to talk to someone outside of your daily life, then many charities can help. The charities below offer helplines, support groups and information on dealing with post-natal depression: 

 

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