What Is Postnatal Depression

We asked our Bedfordshire charity’s Postnatal Depression Support Groups: What is postnatal depression to you? There are many resources available for postnatal depression. Often, some of the best advice and information can be found from other individuals who have directly experienced postnatal depression.

What Is Postnatal Depression

With this in mind, we spoke to our postnatal depression support group attendees, asking the question “What is postnatal depression to you?”

Postnatal depression is…

  • Just like any other depression I’ve had in the past – struggling to see the point in each day, being unable to follow a basic TV show or remember a conversation; an overwhelming sense of doom and despair. Only this time it is happening at a time when you are told you should be having the time of your life, and when other mums seem to be having the time of their lives.
  • Like living outside of reality. I feel like I’m watching life take place in front of me but I’m on the other side of the glass. I keep banging to get in but nobody can hear me.
  • Waking up every morning and wishing it was bedtime, but then not wanting to go to bed at night because you know that brings you closer to yet another day. Basically it amounts to not feeling able to take part in life.
  • Never bothering to plan anything nice, because you’re unable to feel excitement or pleasure anyway.
  • Feeling I should be able to do everything, but in reality achieving nothing.
  • Wondering why everybody keeps saying ‘you must be so proud’, and then finally it dawns on you that actually you’re the weird one.
  • Turning down invites because you don’t feel able to return the favour. It’s very isolating.
  • Having bare cupboards and dirty carpets and piles of dishes as a norm, and never knowing where to start.
  • Looking at my wonderful baby and feeling guilty that she isn’t enough to get me through the day.
  • Hearing others talk about the ‘high’ they felt after having their babies, and asking myself why I never felt anything close to this.
  • Feeling entirely alone with my thoughts that life will never get better. It’s hard to admit that you hate being a mother.
  • Feeling personally responsible for things that other people probably wouldn’t blame themselves for.
  • The unshakable belief that you are doing a rubbish job and the crippling guilt that comes with this.
  • For me it is not the same as feeling unable to bond with my baby. I feel an overwhelming need to protect and nurture my baby that interferes with my ability to enjoy a single moment of parenthood.

What is postnatal depression?

Postnatal depression (PND) is typically described as a depressive illness, with a range of signs and symptoms, which can develop within the first six weeks of giving birth or sometimes doesn’t happen until about six months after having a baby. It is similar to other forms of depression in it’s symptoms, and in the emotions and feelings experienced by sufferers. New or repeat mothers may experience postnatal depression, and fathers may also be affected.

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