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    Default Postnatal Depression Awareness Week 2011 - The Baby Blues

    This week as part of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week, Bubhub and our Ambassadors will be providing information and resources on a different type of depression each day. On Monday we are looking at the Baby Blues, on Tuesday - Postnatal Depression; Wednesday - Antenatal Depression; Thursday - Postpartum Psychosis and on Friday - Depression in Men. We invite you to read through the information provided and join in the discussions. There are women and men out there who have been through, and are going through depression, and you are not alone. If you recognise any of the symptoms we encourage you to ask for help.

    The Baby Blues

    The term ‘baby blues’ refers to a brief episode of mood swings, tearfulness, anxiety and difficulty in sleeping that is very common in the first week after the birth of a baby. Some 50-80% of women have such an experience. This episode is thought to be linked with the stresses associated with late pregnancy, labour and delivery, along with the rapid hormonal changes that accompany the birth. Symptoms generally settle during the first week after birth and require no special treatment other than adequate rest and support. (Factsheet; Depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period, The Blackdog Institute)

    Although for most women the blues are short-lived, evidence suggests that women who experience them have an increased risk for Postnatal Depression later in the postpartum period, especially if the blues symptoms were severe. Of women who met criteria for PND six weeks after delivery, two thirds were found to have had the baby blues. (Epperson, American Academy of Family Physicians, April, 15, 1999)

    Only when symptoms are severe or do not clear spontaneously within the first two weeks is it important to seek medical assessment to find out if another condition is present. (Factsheet; Depression during pregnancy and the postnatal period, The Blackdog Institute)

    Advice for new mums
    There are many ways of preparing for and managing pregnancy, birth and early parenthood so that you can minimise stress and make the most of it.

    Getting organised
    Planning to have additional support in the first few months by asking your partner or a family member to be on hand to help can make the transition to motherhood less stressful. It’s also a good idea to try not to make major life changes like moving house or changing jobs late in pregnancy or in the first few months after you have your baby.

    Getting support
    Develop a support system of friends, family and/or health professionals, including parent groups, that give you the opportunity to share stories and experiences and meet new people who are in a similar situation. While you may be independent and find it hard to accept help, it’s also a good idea to make the most of help when it’s offered. Involve your friends, parents, other family members and your partner in the day-to-day care of your baby from the beginning.

    Staying healthy
    Try to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly and avoid drugs and alcohol. Having a good night’s sleep is also important for maintaining good health, but can be almost impossible with a new baby. Taking every available opportunity to nap can not only help you stay physically fit, but also mentally healthy. Do this when the baby is asleep or when partners, family members and friends are able to look after the baby. This may not seem like a good idea when there is so much else to do, but it’s important to make the effort to get enough rest. It can also be helpful to try to get the baby into a good sleeping pattern as early as possible.

    Learning to manage stress
    Keep a diary of feelings and every now and then take time to look through it and note any progress made. This can help you understand what makes you feel stressed.
    Doing breathing and muscle-relaxation exercises, as well as learning to let people know how you’re feeling, can help you get through the tough times.

    Taking time out
    Organise your routine so you get some time for yourself. Arrange for a childcare service, friends or family members to look after the child/ren occasionally. Use the time to do what you enjoy – this may be time spent alone, reading a book, having a bath, watching your favourite TV show or spending time with your partner or a friend.

    Considering your own needs
    Well-meaning friends and family may want to visit you more often than usual and give you advice. Don’t feel that you need to entertain endlessly or that you should always take their advice. Follow your own instincts and discuss any problems with a health professional, such as your doctor or Maternal and Child Health Nurse. There is no right or wrong way to parent. It’s all about working out what is right for you.

    Being good to yourself
    It can take time to adjust to becoming a parent. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Acknowledge the many things you have achieved and are doing well. Don’t just focus on the areas where you feel you ‘should’ be doing better. (Beyond Blue, Emotional Health During Pregnancy and Early Parenthood booklet)

    For further information, please see separate thread/post on Resources and Further Reading.

    (With many thanks to MuminMind for researching and compiling this information)
    Last edited by BH-community; 14-11-2011 at 11:58.

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    Did you have the baby blues? What helped you through?

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    For me, it is slightly hard to say, as with my firstborn (DD),I felt that something was "off" right from the start; and was soon diagnosed with PND.

    With my second born, I had antenatal depression, so I was understandably very anxious in the weeks leading up to birth. Somewhat surprisingly, I felt quite good, but certainly felt more a more emotional around the third day mark, which is when my milk really came in!

    I ensured that I was open about my emotions with perinatal staff, family and friends, and accepted a lot more help this time around!

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    Gothel is offline Skip the drama, stay with Mama!
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    I don't remember any one 'episode' after either birth (I have 2 girls now 4 & 2.5yo). I was however very snappy, short tempered, stressed easily, anxious about everything, was a bit OCD about being organised etc. And it just never passed, just got worse... my story doesn't fit in here so well. I'll talk more later in the week

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    I was diagnosed with severe PND when my DD1 was a few months old.

    When we found out we were pregnant, we we over the moon. But I don't think I ever really felt pregnant. When she was born, I felt nothing, to the point I was waiting for her real mum to come and get her. I was pretty much numb. I didn't feel bad towards her, I just didn't feel anything at. Our first night home was a nightmare. She refused the boob no matter how hard I tried and at 1am DH woke to me at one end of the bed and our 4 day old DD at the other, both screaming our lungs out. We had no bottles or anything, so we had to wait until the next morning, so DD went almost 24 hours without a feed. When she was about 3 weeks old, she got colic (but we didn't know it at the time). For a week she screamed and scream. I screamed and screamed. I finally snapped and held a pillow over her face. I realized what I was doing after a couple of seconds thankfully, and made DH get up while I went back to bed a complete mess. Things just got worse from there. I didn't want anything to do with her. I thought of killing myself, of killing her. But I never said anything to DH. Then one day when she was a few months old, I walked out. I went for a walk for a few hours and came home. DH realized something was wrong and took me to the GP the next day. I told her everything and she was so supportive. She wanted to admit me to hospital, just for a few days, so I could have a break. But I couldn't do it. I'd been through that before when I was in high school and had a mental breakdown at 16. So she organized a psychologist to visit me at home every day and started me on meds. After about a month, the visits were able to be cut down to once a week, twice if I needed it. I was starting to feel better but I hated being on medication. I felt like more of a failure because of it. So I took myself off it. I found a wonderful young mums group and having somewhere to go with people in the same situation as me helped. But at home was a different story. We were broke. We were abusive to each other. Most weeks we couldn't even afford formula and nappies. Then one day a police man turned up on our doorstep. We had a week to get out of the unit where we lived. We had no money to find somewhere else, so we moved in with a guy DH knew. He was a dealer, and while everything was done downstairs- nowhere near DD, I was terrified the whole time because I knew that if they were raided, DD would be taken away.

    DH managed to get a job working with my dad. So at least we had an income. But the relationship was getting worse. DD wasn't sleeping, and cried all the time. One day, after trying for over an hour to get her to sleep, I did the unthinkable. I put her in her cot, covered her face with the pillow and kept it there. She screamed and tried to pull it off. After a bit she went quiet. I realized what I had done. Here was my daughter, blue and limp, and it was me that did it. I grabbed her, and tried everything to wake her up. After about 30 seconds, which felt like a lifetime, the colour came back to her cheeks, and she started opening her eyes. I have never been so relieved in my life. To think that I nearly took my daughters life still terrifies me. She was pretty groggy, so I sat on the couch with her on my chest for the rest of the day. Thankfully, she was fine after a sleep. But I wasn't and nearly 5 years on, I still have nightmares. It was then I knew I needed serious help. So I went back to my gp, we worked out a plan and this time I stuck to it. DH and I separated and things started looking brighter. I eventually stopped taking my medication again, and haven't been on it since. It was a long andnpainful journey to realize that I wasn't a bad mother. I wasn't a weak person. I was depressed, and it was out of my control.

    DD is now 4.5 and I still struggle with bonding with her. But we have made a lot of progress. DH and reunited after 12 months- and a lot of growing up- and we welcomed our 2nd DD into the world in July 2010. My experience with her was completely opposite. As soon as I saw her I loved her so much it hurt. Yes I felt, and still feel, guilt that I don't have that with DD1, but i think it's made make more of an effort with DD1 to have a relationship.

    One thing mothers need to understand is admitting something is wrong doesn't make you weak. Admitting you need help and seeking that help makes you stronger then you could ever know. It takes a lot of courage and strength to admit that there is a problem and you need help. And the same goes for fathers who are suffering PND.

    I urge every single mother and father... Please, please talk to someone if you feel something is not right. Whether it's a parent, friend, doctor, or even a forum like BubHub. Please talk to someone. And don't ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's asking someone to help with the cleaning, or watching baby for 10 minutes while you have a shower.

    ITS OK TO ASK FOR HELP AND ADMIT THAT YOU AREN'T PERFECT xxoo


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    I had the baby blues but I always knew it was a lot more. I was teary, felt empty inside & alone, overwhelmed and I found it difficult to bond with my little man..
    What helped? Not having so many visitors. When you're in your own little world, the last thing you want to do us have everyone around your baby (this made me very anxious) and have to entertain people.
    I was diagnosed with PND when he was 10 weeks old

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    Wow, thanks for sharing your story! I think that is incredibly brave of you, and I hope it inspired other women to come forward and share their stories as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by lil miss View Post
    I It was a long andnpainful journey to realize that I wasn't a bad mother. I wasn't a weak person. I was depressed, and it was out of my control.
    Although this might be a very confronting and provocative statement for many (particularly those who have not suffered from this illness) I want to say "very well said".

    Quote Originally Posted by lil miss View Post
    One thing mothers need to understand is admitting something is wrong doesn't make you weak. Admitting you need help and seeking that help makes you stronger then you could ever know. It takes a lot of courage and strength to admit that there is a problem and you need help. And the same goes for fathers who are suffering PND.

    I urge every single mother and father... Please, please talk to someone if you feel something is not right. Whether it's a parent, friend, doctor, or even a forum like BubHub. Please talk to someone. And don't ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's asking someone to help with the cleaning, or watching baby for 10 minutes while you have a shower.

    ITS OK TO ASK FOR HELP AND ADMIT THAT YOU AREN'T PERFECT xxoo

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    Bump for the night crowd!

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    Lil Miss, thank you so much for sharing your journey. What you said is so true - it isn't the person doing these things, it is the illness.

    Quote Originally Posted by lil miss View Post
    One thing mothers need to understand is admitting something is wrong doesn't make you weak. Admitting you need help and seeking that help makes you stronger then you could ever know. It takes a lot of courage and strength to admit that there is a problem and you need help. And the same goes for fathers who are suffering PND.

    I urge every single mother and father... Please, please talk to someone if you feel something is not right. Whether it's a parent, friend, doctor, or even a forum like BubHub. Please talk to someone. And don't ever be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's asking someone to help with the cleaning, or watching baby for 10 minutes while you have a shower.

    ITS OK TO ASK FOR HELP AND ADMIT THAT YOU AREN'T PERFECT xxoo
    Couldn't have said this better.

    As for me - I don't really know where the baby blues ended and the PND started really. I think they got progressively worse but I was in major denial that anything was wrong, so I didn't seek help.

    ETA- Lil Miss - congrats on the upcoming wedding! How exciting

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