Dealing with Postnatal Depression can be a very challenging experience. It can make life difficult at a time in which you are already dealing with the stressors arising from looking after a new baby. ‘Baby blues’ are not uncommon, with the majority of mothers noticing low mood, tearfulness, anxiety and more. For some parents, these issues may last for a long time, and become a more serious and debilitating condition. Nonetheless, Postnatal Depression Treatment is available with psychotherapy and at times medications. At Therapy Central, we use evidence-based interventions, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), to help individuals deal with the symptoms and causes of Postnatal depression and enable them to enjoy parenthood and live the life they want.
Continue reading to learn more about about Postnatal Depression, and what therapy can do to help.
What is Postnatal Depression?
Women commonly experience the “baby blues” from 3-4 days after giving birth for approximately ten days after which it generally subsides. Up to 80% of mothers experience this and it is characterised by low mood, feeling tearful, feeling overwhelmed, and anxiety. Although having a baby is considered to be a time of happiness, this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Being a new parent brings about large changes, shock, exhaustion, stress and intense emotions, as people readjust and come to terms with their new life.
Postnatal depression occurs when these feelings last for a longer period of time within one year after giving birth. It affects one in 10 women (1) and can also be experienced by fathers/partners. Women are considered more at risk than men due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and after birth, which can contribute to significant changes in mood.
What are the Common Features of Postnatal Depression?
There are significant differences between feeling emotional following the birth of your baby and postnatal depression, which can often be overlooked. The common signs generally seen in mothers or fathers suffering from postnatal depression are:
- Low mood, irritability and tearfulness
- Lack of energy and low motivation to do things and see people
- Poor concentration
- Self-critical thinking
- Low confidence
Feeling unable to cope and afraid to be alone with the baby.
- Disturbed sleep and changes to appetite
- Lack of enjoyment
- Anxious thoughts about adversely affecting your pregnancy
- Worrying about your baby’s health or whether something or someone will harm your baby.
- Difficulties bonding with the baby.
- Feelings of guilt, rejection, or not being good enough.
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
What Causes Postnatal Depression?
It is not known for certain what causes postnatal depression and in many cases, there may be no apparent cause. However, it is believed that biological (e.g. hormonal changes), physical (e.g. lack of sleep), social (e.g. becoming isolated) and emotional (e.g. worrying you’re not being a good mother) changes play a role.
There are various factors that are believed to contribute to an individual becoming vulnerable to developing postnatal depression (i.e. not guaranteed it will develop), including:
- Experiencing depression before or during your/partner’s pregnancy
- Relationship difficulties
- Being isolated and having little support around you
- Stressful life events or personal worries e.g. financial, housing
- Having a traumatic birth or difficult pregnancy
Physical and emotional stress (isolation, worry and responsibility) of looking after a newborn baby.
When should I get Help?
When feelings of low mood, irritability, exhaustion and other features linked to postnatal depression persist for weeks then it may be something more than the baby blues, and treatment for postnatal depression may be needed. This is the time to seek help and explore whether it could be postnatal depression. Even if you are not experiencing postnatal depression, you might find that having a few supportive sessions during your period of baby blues would be helpful.
What Therapy is Best for Postnatal Depression?
Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2) recommends psychological intervention such as CBT. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) enables you to understand the nature of depression and learn techniques to challenge negative thoughts (that may be resulting in you judging yourself) and behaviours in order to allow you to improve your mood and therefore feel confident about being a parent.
A combination of antidepressants alongside psychological therapy such as CBT may be more effective than either treatment alone, but this depends upon the severity and the individual and needs to be discussed with your GP and therapist if applicable. Other therapeutic models may be helpful in addressing postnatal depression with regards to understanding your relationships or previous life experiences.
What are the Benefits of Therapy for Postnatal Depression?
Many people experiencing postnatal depression worry that they are going mad and that they are a bad parent. However, evidence-based therapy can help you in the following ways:
- Understanding and making sense of your struggles
- Addressing cognitive issues (issues with the way thoughts maintain postnatal depression)
- Developing practical strategies to manage thoughts and emotions
- Learning coping skills and techniques to regain confidence
- Cultivating greater hopefulness and embrace your role as a parent
- Gaining greater enjoyment from your time as a family
- Offering emotional support tailored around your unique needs
Some people can be hesitant to reach out for support as they worry that if they were to tell another person, including a therapist, how they are feeling, they will be judged and their child(ren) will be taken into care. As described above, postnatal depression is a very common experience and with good support it is something that can be overcome.
What Happens During Treatment?
During therapy, we can explore with you what things may be maintaining your difficulties in the here and now as well as what things in your past may have played a role. We can support you to make changes and work through your difficulties to help improve how you feel. We are able to provide remote, online therapy so that you don’t have to leave your home, to be flexible around your baby.
At Therapy Central, we understand that parenthood involves some of the most significant changes in one’s life, arriving with many pressures alongside the joyous experiences. It’s usual to feel the weight of expectation from yourself and others and a wide range of emotions during pregnancy and up to a year after birth. For this reason, it is vital that you seek support, such as Postnatal Depression Treatment, during this important life transition.
Working in team with your therapist will help you deal with Postnatal Depression
Myths Surrounding Postnatal & Postpartum Depression
- Postnatal depression is entirely caused by hormonal changes.
Not only hormones cause postnatal depression. The fact it is also present in fathers, illustrates this. There are various other factors, as we mentioned which may also contribute.
- Postnatal depression will go away on its own
Not always. Without help postnatal depression can persist for months and may become a long-term issue, such as chronic depression, in some cases. You may feel others are judging you and feel guilty for not being able to ‘just snap out of it’ or ‘be positive,’ but it should not be dismissed as a minor issue.
- Becoming depressed after having a baby means I don’t love them
Absolutely not! When you are not feeling the bliss that you imagined, you felt that you should or that others expected of you, this can lead parents to feeling guilty. It is not your fault, and you wouldn’t choose it for yourself – hormonal fluctuations and genetics can play a large part.
- I am not good enough to be a parent and my baby is unsafe
It is common when experiencing postnatal depression to feel like you are failing as a parent and that your baby would be better off without you. However, this is not a true reflection of your ability to parent. Many also fear that their baby will be taken away but health professionals only have your best interest at heart and will do everything possible for this not to be the case.
- If you have postnatal depression then you hear voices
Untrue. Symptoms of postnatal depression do not include hallucinations or paranoia. Rarely, women can experience these as a result of a serious condition called postpartum psychosis.
Evidence-based Treatment in London & Online
If you are looking for Postnatal Depression Treatment in Central London or Online, at Therapy Central we can help you learn the strategies you need to start tackling low mood, tearfulness, low self-confidence and other symptoms of postnatal depression. With the help of a psychologist, expert in working with people with postnatal depression you’ll be enabled to make the crucial changes to bring balance and fulfilment back into your life and draw more enjoyment parenthood and family life.
It’s not easy to recognise that you might have postnatal depression, but as we’ve seen this is quite common, and it’s certainly not your fault to experience it. You don’t have to face postnatal depression alone. Start managing it with a postnatal depression therapist in London or Online today. Our therapist have a many years of experience in helping clients with this type of isse.
Get Professional Help with Postnatal Depression in London & Online Today
Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with a qualified psychologist to see if our help would fit your needs. You can also get in touch via email at email@example.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.
Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). However, if you prefer the flexibility and comfort of your own home, you can have all your appointments via online therapy. Change starts with Talking!
Learn more about anxiety
Postnatal Depression Treatment info NHS
Postnatal Depression Self-Help
Other issues we work with at Therapy Central
Learn more about how CBT works
 Centre for Mental Health, LSE Personal Social Services Research Unit. The costs of perinatal mental health problems – report summary (2015)
 NICE. Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance. Clinical guideline CG192 (2014)
Dr Sheetal Dandgey, Counselling Psychologist
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