This week is Post Natal Depression Awareness Week.
Let me state up front, that I have not had Post Natal Depression; however I was told that I was borderline post natal depressed at my local Early Childhood Health Centre.
This diagnosis was given after I completed a short computer survey at my first appointment post the birth of my daughter.
I am ashamed to say that my first reaction was complete fear at having it and my second reaction was- well, really, who wouldn’t be a little off after not having slept for 3 weeks whilst trying to keep a small helpless human alive?
When I told my husband, he was angry and said they must have just caught me on a bad day.
When I told my GP, he was horrified and demanded to know who it was so that he could complain.
The whole experience was entirely unhelpful and I never went back to the Early Childhood Health Centre again.
Was it a wise move to cut myself off from local community support? Perhaps not. But it was necessary to have the confidence to keep raising my child.
According to the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA), the symptoms of Post Natal Depression are:
- Sleep disturbance unrelated to baby’s sleep needs
- Appetite disturbance
- Inability to cope
- Negative obsessive thoughts
- Fear of being alone
- Loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Personally, I have experienced most of these to some degree since becoming a mother. Not all of them, all the time; but some of them some of the time.
Maybe that’s the difference between having post natal depression and the normal stress levels associated with being a mum? Am I the only one who feels this way? Or am I just a little bit too honest?
Everyone’s experience of parenthood is different and I won’t pretend to have all the answers. But I do have a healthy, happy, affectionate little girl who is always laughing, smiling and continually exploring.
And that makes me smile too.