Becoming a parent involves a roller coaster of emotions such as excitement, apprehension, stress, anxiety and joy. Emotional exhaustion is common during the first few days after giving birth and new parents may feel overly sensitive, overwhelmed, teary and moody. This experience is a normal part of the process and most of the time, these feelings subside within a few days.
If these feelings have not lifted after a few weeks or your day-to-day functioning is affected, it is worth seeking support.
Postnatal depression (PND) affects up to one in seven women in Australia. It can be difficult to identify the symptoms of PND, as new parents naturally feel exhausted and emotional. Furthermore, some of the changes we go through as new parents are similar to symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of PND can begin during pregnancy, straight after birth, or gradually in the weeks and months after birth. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and may include:
- Frequent negative thoughts, such as “I’m a failure” or “I shouldn’t be a parent”
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Prolonged and intense feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Irritability, restlessness or anger
- Loss of interest in and joy from activities that were once enjoyable
- Physical pain, such as headaches
- Suicidal thoughts
Support for Dads
Becoming a parent can be a huge adjustment as it can add stress and pressure for both parents. One in ten men experience depression after the birth of their baby. Whilst it can be uncomfortable for men to come to terms with and talk about these feelings, seeking support is one of the most important steps that a new dad can take to support his own wellbeing and the wellbeing of his family.
It is important to remember that whether you are a mum or dad experiencing PND, you are not alone and there is nothing “wrong” with you. PND is temporary and, with the right support, it is able to be overcome.
Seeking help from a Psychologist
Seeking support early is important because postnatal depression and anxiety can affect our mental wellbeing and our relationship with our partner and baby. PND can be an overwhelming and isolating experience as we try to cope with our own symptoms as well as adjust to and care for a new baby (and sometimes other children).
Our psychologists offer empathetic, non-judgemental and caring support in a warm and welcoming environment. We can help you implement a tailored treatment plan that helps you identify and overcome unhelpful thought processes or behaviours and implement skills to cope with stress and adapt to being a new parent.
These strategies can lead to recovery and enable you to feel and function at your best and enjoy the journey of parenthood.
We would be humbled to help you. You do not need a referral from your doctor to book an appointment with us, however, doing so may attract a medicare rebate. Please contact us for more information about this.