Pre natal depression is a form of depression affecting pregnant women.
Post natal depression occurs after giving birth and is caused due to a multitude of factors including tiredness, hormonal changes and the huge adjustment of becoming a mother with the changes and losses this inevitably brings.
Having a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, however 1 in 10 women are depressed during pregnancy and 1 in 30 women will be depressed both during and after birth. Most untreated depression lasts from a few weeks to a few months however a third can continue up to a year.
Unfortunately many women can feel guilty, alone or ashamed of having feelings of sadness during or after pregnancy. They may judge themselves negatively of what a ‘good’ mother should be and therefore find it difficult to share their experience with others and therefore don’t reach out for support leaving them even more isolated and despairing.
It may be that your bodily changes of pregnancy and gaining weight has led to restricted movement, lack of energy and you may have worries that your partner no longer finds you attractive.
Perhaps there is a harsh contrast between the busy work and social life you once led and the current day-to-day routine of childcare and sleep deprivation. Perhaps you are single parenting or without family nearby, or with an unavailable or unsupportive partner.
Having or preparing to have a child may cause anxiety about the huge change in your life that having a child will cause and whether you are able to cope with it. Negative feelings from your own childhood and feelings towards your own mother may bring up challenging emotions such as anger, grief or fear.
It is very normal to feel doubtful about your abilities as you begin a new life phase as a mother. Just how monumental this life change is can often go unrecognised as people assume you are happy to be a new mother. It can be common among new or expectant mothers to have invasive thoughts and to feel fearful, resentful, and angry or even desiring to harm their baby. They then experience shame, guilt and loathing towards themselves.
The good news is that both pre and post-natal depression are entirely treatable and we at Dr Julian are here to help with our specialists in this area.
A course of 6-8 sessions of CBT can really help if you are looking for ways to manage your feelings better. Psychotherapy is extremely effective at getting to the heart of the issue and is best suited when your life is slightly more settled. Counselling is very effective in both the run up to having a baby to prepare you for the changes as a pre-emptive measure to reduce the chances of becoming depressed and also if you are experiencing these issues. Our therapists can talk you through your fears and insecurities of motherhood as well as your hopes.