One of the biggest aims of The Motherhood Project is to raise the topic of PND for discussion.
I believe if we can remove the stigma from this subject, then mums would be able to talk about it more freely, enabling them to access the support and information they need without feeling judged.
Postnatal Depression (PND) has other parts to it, including antenatal depression, post-natal distress and postnatal psychosis.
The Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Trust (PMHNZ) defines it as:
Postnatal distress is a broad term that encompasses a variety of issues that can arise with the arrival of children. What used to be thought of as simply ‘postnatal depression’ has now become the more inclusive ‘postnatal distress’, as our understanding and knowledge around the issue increases. Some will undoubtedly experience depression; others will be affected by post-traumatic stress, postnatal anxiety, obsessive compulsions and more rarely, postnatal psychosis. For many the changes in mood can begin antenatally and go relatively unnoticed.
Postnatal distress affects around one in five mothers and one in six fathers. Parents need a lot of support – and sadly we live in a society that tends towards leaving others to ‘get on with it’. Extended family can be overseas or not available and new parents are left woefully short of support and bombarded with information on how they ‘should’ be doing things.”
Those experiencing PND may be:
*feeling low, sad, numb
*angry, hostile, irritable or anxious
*feeling a sense of loss
*not sleeping or sleeping too much
*experiencing changes in eating habits (eating constantly or not eating at all)
*thoughts of harm towards self or baby
*experiencing panic attacks
*finding daily tasks or decisions difficult
*feeling unable to cope
*confused about how they feel
Given the huge changes that a new baby can bring, it is understandable to feel these things. However if they last longer than a few days then most of these symptoms will greatly impact on your life and it is important to seek help.
Help can be sought from:
*a family member – a mother, sister, cousin, aunty
*Plunket or other Wellchild Provider
*your midwife or other LMC
*your doctor, GP, or other medical practitioner
*a maternal mental health counsellor
You can find support and information online:
*Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Trust – http://www.pmhnz.org.nz/
*Mothers Matter Postnatal Depression Family/Whanau New Zealand Trust – http://mothersmatter.co.nz
*Post & Ante-natal Distress Support Group (Wellington) – http://pnd.org.nz/
*Breastmates – http://www.breastmates.co.nz/advice–tips/mums-chat.aspx?tag=22393
Seeking help and support is important to get back onto the road to recovery, and to enjoy the parenting journey you are on!
PND is not an admission of failure. It is an illness that affects day to day activities and can interfere with relationships between mother and baby, mother and other children, mother and father…
Support might include home help, a friends listening ear, reading other stories on PND, talking with a counsellor, using homeopathy or Bach Flower or other natural therapy, using kinesiology, or taking medication (antidepressants).
We can talk about PND, by asking new mums how they are (and when they answer ‘fine’, we can ask again – just to be sure they know we really care!).
Buy this tee from Breastmates and talk about PND at coffee group, in the bank/supermarket/post office.