If you're a new parent, congratulations on the arrival of your gorgeous baby! Becoming a new parent and learning the needs and behaviours of your newborn can be difficult. It's important to know that help is available if you or a loved one are struggling.
In support of Perinatal Mental Health Week, we are raising awareness to ensure that parents in need know that they are not alone. 1 in 5 new Mums and 1 in 10 new Dads experience perinatal depression and anxiety. As part of our giving charity for the month of November, we are donating $5 from every DockATot sold to support PANDA who supports women, men and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood..
If you are struggling to understand your thoughts or feelings and it is affecting your day-to-day activities it is important to seek support.
Understanding Postnatal Anxiety and Depression.
When anxiety or depression begins within the year after birth it is referred to as postnatal anxiety or postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression is more common than you think with over 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads experience it. Postnatal anxiety is just as common, with many parents experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
Postnatal anxiety and depression can be a frightening and isolating experience as parents try to deal with their symptoms while needing to care for a new baby, sometimes with other children as well. It's important to know that there are treatments, supports and services available to help you through this experience. It is important to know the signs and symptoms and to seek help early.
Symptoms of Postnatal Anxiety and Depression.
Postnatal anxiety and depression can be mild, moderate or severe and symptoms can begin after birth or appear gradually in the weeks or months during the first year after birth.
The severity of postnatal anxiety and depression depends on the number of symptoms, their intensity and the extent to which they interfere with getting on with day-to-day life.
The combination and severity of symptoms will be different for every parent but some might include:
- Panic attacks
- Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health, wellbeing or safety of the baby
- The development of obsessive or compulsive thoughts and/or behaviours
- Abrupt mood swings
- Feeling constantly sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason
- Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky
- Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
- Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy
- Sleeping too much or not sleeping very well at all
- Losing interest in intimacy
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Don't forget Dad.
Some are surprised to know that around 1 in 20 men experience depression during their partner’s pregnancy (antenatal) and up to 1 in 10 new dads struggle with depression following the birth of their baby (postnatal).
Anxiety is thought to be as common and many men experience anxiety and depression at the same time.
For more information visit www.howisdadgoing.org.au.
Everyone’s experience is different.
Everyone experiences postnatal anxiety and depression differently. The way it can affect you depends on a range of factors, from your own physical, emotional and mental make up to external factors that might be having an impact.
Chezzi Denyer, one of PANDA's Ambassadors, has shared her experiences with with postnatal anxiety and depression here.
If you are struggling at all, or know of someone who might be, please reach out to PANDA on 1300 726 306 or visit their website for helpful resources.