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November 10, 2023 3 min read

If you’re a new parent, congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful baby! Bringing new life into the world is a transformative experience. We feel love and joy but fear too and potentially experiencing postnatal anxiety and depression.

If you or a loved one is struggling, it is important to know help is available for you. PANDA supports mums, dads and new families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood.

Postnatal Anxiety and Depression as a New Parent with PANDA

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 1 in 5 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads experience it. Postnatal anxiety is just as common, with many parents experiencing coinciding of feelings and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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.

Postnatal anxiety and depression are real and they can affect anyone.

Remember that it's okay to ask for help and it's okay not to be okay.

You are not alone. Your feelings are real. You will get through this.

Postnatal Anxiety and Depression as a New Parent with PANDA

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 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

Postnatal Anxiety and Depression as a New Parent with PANDA

Don't Forget Dad

Some are surprised to know that around 1 in 20 men experience depression during their partner’s pregnancy (antenatal) and 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 and support visit www.howisdadgoing.org.au.

Postnatal Anxiety and Depression as a New Parent with PANDA

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.

An Anxious Mind with Chezzi Denyer

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.


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