Postnatal Depression [PND] affects more than one in seven new mothers and one in twenty new fathers every year with more than 100,000 total cases recorded in 2013. PND Awareness Week is an initiative aimed at creating greater community awareness of antenatal and postnatal depression and anxiety.
Postnatal depression almost seems like an oxymoron. How can what is expected to be the happiest time of your life, often become the saddest?
Mild depression and mood swings are common in new mothers – so common, in fact, that it has its own name: the baby blues.
The vast majority of new mothers experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues including moodiness, sadness difficulty sleeping, irritability, appetite changes and concentration problems. Symptoms of the baby blues typically show up within a few days of giving birth and last from several days to a couple of weeks.
Many women experience mood swings after the birth of a baby. However PND describes the more severe or prolonged symptoms of depression [clinical depression] that last more than a week or two and interfere with the ability to function on a daily basis.
Recently we announced the launch of the Centre Of Perinatal Excellence [COPE] which has been established specifically to support parents-to-be and new parents through the many challenges they face. Spearheaded by former Deputy CEO of Beyond Blue, Nicole Highet, the launch is just in time for PND Awareness Week but many existing organisations also have campaigns targeted at raising awareness and providing much needed profile and resources to the growing numbers of new parents facing postnatal depression and anxiety.
PANDA have a great campaign that you can become involved in using Instagram and their unique hashtag #bepndaware. Find out more at www.panda.org.au
Beyondblue has enlisted the help of our mate Em Rusciano as ambassador for their Just Speak Up campaign. Head to www.beyondblue.org.au to find out how you can become involved.
Black Dog Institute has a library of resources including personal stories from mothers AND fathers plus a self-test for postnatal depression. www.blackdoginstitute.org.au is only a click away.
We also have a series of incredible contributions to Mum Central that can help you.
1. Watch The Deafening Silence here and take a look at someone suffering from postnatal depression – without the baby.
3. Seventies Baby has written a very thought provoking piece on what it’s like love someone who is suffering from depression.
Remember, motherhood can be rough and though it may seem like it, you are not alone. If you need help, please reach out to your friends, family or any of the organisations we’ve listed here.
Be kind to yourself x