What are the symptoms of Postnatal Depression?

Women describe a number of symptoms, most of which are written below. These symptoms can feel quite overwhelming at a time when a new baby needs so much care and attention. These are some of the signs or symptoms that you may have if you are suffering from postnatal depression.

Emotions or Feelings

  • Feeling sad, upset, despairing
  • Crying a lot or feeling unable to cry
  • Feeling worthless
  • Mood going up and down
  • Feeling guilty
  • Loss of interest
  • Loss of pleasure/enjoyment
  • Feeling anxious or panicky and worrying
  • Feeling irritable and angry
  • Not feeling the way you want to about your baby

Physical or Bodily Signs

  • Lack of energy and feeling exhausted
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Slowed down, or
  • Speeded up, agitated and unable to relax
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Appetite change – eating too much, or not enough

Thoughts

When people are depressed, they become “experts” in thinking in a negative, gloomy way.

  • Criticising yourself –“I’m useless as a mother”, “I look a mess”
  • Worrying – “Baby isn’t feeding well enough”
  • Jumping to conclusions –“Its my fault”
  • Expecting the worst – “Everything is going to go wrong – things are never going to get any better”
  • Hopeless thoughts – “Things are hopeless. Sometimes I think everyone would be better off without me”
  • Thoughts about others – “Everyone else is coping. No-one cares about me”
  • And the world – “What a terrible place to bring a child into…”

Thinking is also affected by depression in other ways:

  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Confused, cluttered thoughts
  • Behaviour
  • Avoiding people and not going out
  • Not doing things you used to enjoy
  • Not doing everyday tasks – or trying to do too much
  • Putting off making decisions
  • More arguments, shouting, loss of control

If you can relate to a number of the above, and have felt like this for most of the time for the past two weeks or longer, it is likely that you are suffering from some form of depression. If this has occurred within a few weeks or months of having a baby, then it is quite likely that you have some form of postnatal depression.