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Postnatal Depression: You Are Normal

by Liz Braden (follow)
Motherhood - The most challenging and yet the most rewarding "job" you'll ever do...
Your Stories (100)      Postpartum (14)     
No matter what you are thinking and feeling at this time, you are normal.

I am currently battling postnatal depression, and it’s hell. I feel like such a failure and I don’t understand how I can be depressed when I have a beautiful son that means the world to me.

I may not understand why I feel the way I do, but I do know one thing;

I am normal.

This is a message for all the mothers out there who, like me, are going through hell at the happiest and most amazing time in their life. You may not understand why this is happening. You may feel like a failure. You may be obsessed with thoughts and feelings that make you feel awful or worried or anxious, and you may feel like everything you do is wrong.

You are normal.

Postnatal depression is not your fault. It is not because you did something wrong. It is not because you don’t love your child enough and it is certainly not a sign that your beautiful little baby would be better off without you, no matter how much this thought may enter your mind.

It is a physiological reaction and it happens to approximately 1 out of every 7 women.

You are normal.

So how can you (and I) fight back against these negative thoughts and feelings that are bombarding us and weighing us down?

1. Seek Support.

No man is an island, and no woman is either. You may be afraid to admit that you’re not coping, and you may feel like you have to put on a brave face and pretend everything is okay, but it is okay to speak up and say that you are struggling.

Talk to someone. Talk to your significant other. Talk to your community midwife. Talk to your doctor. Let somebody know how you feel and what is happening to you.

Nobody is going to judge you for it and nobody is going to take your child. What they are going to do is offer you support and advice, and connect you with people who can help.

Postnatal depression is a recognised condition and it is treatable, but you need to speak about it and seek the help you need. You may be offered anything from counselling or additional supports right through to short-term antidepressant medication, but the focus will be on helping you to cope so that you can continue to bond with the child you love.

You are normal.

2. Be kind to yourself.

Even if that little voice in your head is constantly criticising you, even if you feel like you’re a failure and that your baby would be better off without you, you are doing your best. You love your child and you deserve to be in your child’s life, and they certainly deserve to have you in theirs.

Take the time to do something nice for yourself, even if it’s just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself that this is just a tough time and it will pass. Have a hot bath if you can while baby is asleep. Ask somebody to take him or her for an hour or two so that you can do something enjoyable to relax. Have a nice cuppa while bub is asleep and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it.

All parents need a break sometimes and all parents feel overwhelmed sometimes.

You are normal.

3. Do some reality checking.

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up and tear ourselves down and tell ourselves we should be doing better, but it’s usually a lie. Let’s get real; the perfect mother does not exist. We all make mistakes and we all fall short of the standards we set for ourselves.

You are normal.

If you feel like you’re the worst mother ever, try grounding yourself with facts.
Is your baby gaining weight?
Is your baby happy?
Does your baby have something clean to wear?
Do you spend time with your baby, just to be with them?
Is your baby developing according to expectations?

If you answered yes to those questions, then you are doing well. You are a good mother. Whatever you may feel, your child is happy and healthy and you are good enough.

You are normal.

4. Remind yourself that isn’t forever and that things will get better.

Depression of any kind is debilitating, but it does get better. It always gets better. It just takes time and the right treatment and support. As black as things feel right now, it will get better.

You may be having thoughts of self-harm and suicide, but that is the depression speaking. Help is available and you can recover.

You are normal.

5. Be honest.

If you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you need to act now. You are unlikely to act on these thoughts, but you do need help to deal with them. Being honest about what is going on will allow professional supports to respond appropriately for the best outcome for you and your family.

No matter what you are thinking and feeling at this time, you are normal. You just need some support, that is all.

#Your Stories

Read The Truth About Postpartum Depression
Read Parenting And Mental Health
Read Putting Yourself First
Read To The Mum In The Bathroom: You Are Not Alone
Read I Don't Want To Be A Mum Today
Read 6 Things Nobody Tells You About Life With a Newborn
Read When The Parenting Plan Changes
Read What Makes It Worthwhile
Read Bringing Home Baby For The First Time

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