Postnatal depression is very common and affects between ten to fifteen in every one hundred women who have had a baby.
For some mothers it can start while pregnant, but more commonly it starts at around 4-6 weeks after giving birth, and can last for a long time without effective treatment. It is normal to feel tired and emotional after giving birth and overwhelmed with becoming a parent. However for some people these thoughts and feelings can last and can become all-consuming; they are not merely a case of ‘baby blues’.
Fathers can also be affected by postnatal depression although they cannot be given a formal diagnosis of this.
Symptoms of postnatal depression can include:
- Feeling sad and low
- Tearful for no apparent reason
- Not feeling able to cope
- Hostile or indifferent towards your partner and/or baby
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Feelings of guilt, anger and irritable
- Little or no motivation to do things
Some parents may worry that they might harm their baby, though this is very rare. But if you are experiencing these feelings please seek support and tell someone about how you are feeling.