Pregnancy is considered a joyous occasion in a woman’s lifecycle. A much wanted baby is a life-changing event for most of us, even under the most ideal of circumstances. Women experience exhaustion from breast feeding, constant night feeds, the birth itself, coupled with hormonal shifts. It is now widely recognised by mental health professionals that maternal distress is not exclusive to the postpartum period. It can start antenatally in 10% of women, or continue beyond the first 6 weeks for others. Many women describe ante and postnatal depression as a distressing experience that occurs on top of an already vulnerable time.
Many women articulate that ante or postnatal depression is different or distinct to depression at other times in their life. For some it will be like a minor disturbance that disappears after a few months but for others it feels, frightening or shocking, eliciting the question “am I losing my mind?”
Postnatal or postpartum depression is not a uniform experience and that fits neatly into a single clinical diagnosis. In fact, many women describe a wide range of symptoms that they attribute to postnatal depression. While it is common to be concerned about your baby, excessive worry or anxiety can be the main presenting problem, rather than low mood state. Women can suffer from obsessional thoughts concerning the health of their and their baby’s health. On top of this women may have experienced a traumatic birth or a near death experience that leaves them reeling with doubt and insecurity.
At LifeChange we are not so much interested in the labels of ‘postnatal depression’, ‘antenatal anxiety’, ‘antenatal depression’, ‘baby blues’, ‘postpartum psychosis’, as in the subjective experience of the woman herself. We want to provide a safe place to make meaning of this distress and contain your anxiety. Early intervention is vital to health and recovery; so that you can continue to enjoy your baby.