Postnatal depression awareness

This week is Postnatal depression awareness week (in Australia) and its such an important issue to be aware of. A new mother can develop postnatal depression (PND) within a few days or weeks of giving birth. Around one in seven to ten mothers develop postnatal depression — that is a lot of women that we need to take special care of. According to experts, they do not know the exact causes of PND, but the enormous physical, emotional and social changes involved in becoming a parent seem to play a significant role. And something many are not aware of, new dads can also develop PND, particularly if their partner or wife is depressed.

Whilst many women have a wonderful post birth experience, as I did, as we can see from the statistics, not all women do and we need to make sure we do all we can to help. Both by understand post-natal depression but also reaching out with a helping hand. 

Symptoms of postnatal depression (PND):
The range of symptoms experienced depends on the severity of the depression, and may include:
  • Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  • Feelings of inadequacy and guilt
  • Negative thoughts
  • Feeling that life is meaningless
  • Feeling unable to cope
  • Tearfulness and irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or changes in sleeping patterns
  • Low sex drive
  • Anxiety, panic attacks or heart palpitations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.

Suggestions for family and friends:
Ways you can help a loved one who has PND include:
  • Find out as much information as you can about PND
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Ask the couple how you can help
  • Offer to cook meals, do the washing, grocery shopping 
  • Offer to babysit
  • Offer to help around the house
  • Let the mother know you are there for her, even if she doesn’t feel like talking
  • Appreciate that the father may also be emotionally affected by the demands and challenges of new parenthood

Help from a partner during postnatal depression:
If you are the partner of a woman with postnatal depression, suggestions include:
  • Be patient
  • Encourage your partner to talk about her feelings
  • Accept that her feelings are genuine and don’t trivialise them by telling her to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’
  • Try to understand her point of view
  • Don’t take her negative feelings or criticisms personally
  • Tactfully limit visitors if she doesn’t feel like socialising
  • Enlist the aid of other family members to help around the house, if and when they can, including with babysitting
  • Tell her often that you love her
  • Show her you love her with cuddles, baby care and housework
  • Don’t criticise her post-pregnancy body or demand she lose weight, as she may already feel low about her appearance
  • Telephone her from work, or drop in for lunch occasionally if you work close to home
  • Care for the baby after work to promote your parent–child relationship, while giving your partner a much-needed break
  • If you are worried, encourage her to see a doctor
  • Go to the doctor yourself for information and advice, if your partner initially refuses to go



  1. Your information could be just the advice someone is in need of.
    Thank you for sharing your valuable information.
    As a grandma of six, (seventh one on it's way), I am aware of a potential problem.

    1. It something that most people who have had a good experience thinks about, but who know if they have a friend that might need some help :) Very important topic.

  2. This is a really difficult thing to experience, I am sure - most women look forward to the arrival of their baby with great excitement... It must feel terrible to be depressed instead after the baby is born. It's also a hard one to help someone with as some people don't like to acknowledge their problem - or aren't aware of it and so deny it even when it's pointed out to them. :(

    1. I can't imagine what it would be like and grateful I never suffered post natal depression . It must be just horrible.


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