CATCHING PRE-AND POST-NATAL DEPRESSION EARLY SAVES MORE THAN ONE LIFE
The minute that tiny baby lands in your arms you are only supposed to feel joy, or so you’re told.
Having a baby can be difficult and challenging. It’s hard to admit to feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and afraid. These feelings are common — so why is there a code of silence?
We don’t talk about it because depression makes us uncomfortable. There is a stigma around being a struggling mum. Yet women, especially first-time mothers, brave a gauntlet of life-changing events when they have a baby. A new mum loses her old identity and has to come to terms with a new one, relationships with friends and family change overnight and all this happens alongside other psychological and physical changes. It is a profound shift.
It’s essential for us to know and recognize the warning signs of pre- and post-natal depression. These might include apprehension about giving birth, feelings of guilt, fear of abandonment, incessant crying, a lack of energy, and worrying about being a good mother. Don’t dismiss these signs as being part of the normal hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, or the result of sleepless nights.
If you are a new mother or expecting a baby, it’s important for you to ignore notions of perfection; let things go, do more pleasurable activities, surround yourself with caring people. Talking to other pregnant women or mums of similar-age babies can beat back feelings of isolation and anxiety. Treat yourself as you would treat another new mum: with compassion, patience, generosity and a sense of humour. Above all, be honest with yourself, and seek help if you are struggling.
Dr. Quratulain Zaidi (BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD) is a mother and a member of the British Psychological Society and British Association Counselling & Psychotherapy and abides by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychology. She has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 12 years. She specialises in assisting families with issues including parenting, teen issues, Cybersafety, marriage guidance, post natal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating disorders, OCD and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children, for example ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.