You may not know this, but postnatal depression is a thing. In fact, one in ten new mothers, or 10% experience it at some point during their first year of motherhood. Having a baby means big changes in your life, and it can be common for moms to feel overwhelmed, or moody. It’s normal to feel this way for a short while. After giving birth, a mother’s hormonal levels drop and this affects your mood negatively. Add to that a lack of sleep and being worried about your baby’s welfare – It’s no wonder you may be irritable! Up to 80% of moms get “baby blues”, and this may start when your baby is just a few days old. If these feelings last for longer than 2 weeks, and become worse, you may have postpartum or postnatal depression.
While you might think that the symptoms are pretty obvious (sadness or anger), sometimes they’re not so clear-cut and can even be misdiagnosed as something else like anxiety or stress. So, what does postnatal depression really look like? What are the signs? How do you know when to get help? And how will treatment work for your family in Singapore? Let’s take a closer look.
Postnatal Depression Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of postnatal depression can include feeling guilty about the baby, feeling unloved by the baby, wanting to give up on life or hurting oneself or the baby. Postnatal depression may also cause a woman to feel intense anger, fear for herself and her baby, intense guilt and panic thoughts.
Postnatal depression may come on gradually and get worse over time. At first it might just be a feeling of not coping and then these feelings of not coping develop into more frequent thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby. It is also common for women to have postpartum psychosis immediately after giving birth.
The new mother’s behaviour will change and she will begin to withdraw from people and activities. She may not be motivated to care for her baby properly, and this may cause the baby to become more irritable or sad than usual. A new mother with postnatal depression usually finds it hard to focus on anything other than her own negative thoughts and feelings, and this can lead her to neglect her own needs, such as getting enough sleep and eating well.
Postnatal Depression Treatment in Singapore
Postnatal depression treatment usually involves a combination of counselling and antidepressants. Other treatments may also be included depending on the individual situation. Counselling can help mothers to understand why they are feeling this way and how they can manage their negative thoughts and help them to feel better. Counselling will not make the depression go away, but it can give women and men coping strategies and emotional support to deal with this illness. Postnatal depression counselling may also involve the new father or other family members for those who are affected by postpartum psychosis.
Antidepressants are prescribed to help with the symptoms of postnatal depression, but they will not cure the illness. Antidepressant medication usually takes several weeks to work and it must be taken every day for it to be effective. Some women worry about taking medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but the risks of untreated postnatal depression are much higher than taking antidepressant medication. Your doctor or psychiatrist can give you correct medical advice on taking medication.
All treatment options must be reviewed with a doctor before they are started. Doctors will always do their best to ensure that all medications taken by women, or administered to infants, are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is important to note that no medication has been proven to be completely safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it is important to manage postnatal depression as soon as possible.
Postnatal Depression Support Groups in Singapore
Different women may find different ways of coping with postnatal depression. Talking to others is one way of coping with postnatal depression, and this may help them to feel less alone. There are also support groups for new mothers in Singapore that are suffering from postnatal depression. These support groups may provide the opportunity for women to socialise in a safe environment, an opportunity to recognise their feelings, and to gain skills in managing their feelings. There are also support groups for partners of new mothers who are experiencing postnatal depression. These support groups will allow the fathers to express their feelings about this illness, provide them with needed information and increase confidence in helping their wives cope with postnatal depression.
Postnatal Depression Awareness in Singapore
It is important for everyone to be aware that mothers can get postnatal depression. It is a common illness, and at least 1 in every 10 women will experience postnatal depression. Fathers should also be aware that they can get postnatal depression, and this illness should not just be seen as the mother’s problem. This illness is treatable and it is important to seek treatment early so that both new parents can enjoy their baby and the early years of their child’s life.
Postnatal depression is a common illness among new mothers, but many women may not realize they have postnatal depression until it has been going on for several weeks or months. Very often, mothers may have immense guilt, or blame themselves for being “bad mothers’ when they are actually having an illness that can be helped.
How Quickly Can Postpartum Depression be Identified?
Postnatal depression can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to that of other illnesses such as fatigue, stress and the ‘baby blues’. Early diagnosis and treatment are important so that women can cope with this illness and provide their child with the care they both need. Postnatal depression usually lasts for several months, but it can be a long-term illness for some women if left untreated or undiagnosed.
Counselling is a valuable resource for many individuals, and this is especially true for mothers suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression has been linked to the mother’s mood while also being a result of chemical imbalances. Counselling may not cure this illness but it does have a positive effect by providing a space where new moms can share their feelings without feeling judged. This outlet may provide them with coping strategies to help with daily living, emotional support, and also self-validation that what they are experiencing is real. It is important that all mothers suffering from postnatal depression learn about the signs, risk factors, and treatments available to them in order to find the most effective solution for their individual situation.
Postnatal Depression Counselling Services in Singapore
Depending on the severity of the illness, there are several counselling options available to mothers suffering from postpartum depression. Whether it is one-on-one counselling or group sessions, these types of treatment are highly effective, and can provide new mothers and parents with emotional support so that they can handle the symptoms of their illness. It is also important for new fathers to seek out information regarding postnatal depression support groups as this may help them to understand what their partners are feeling and encourage them to find ways where they too can contribute towards their child’s development.
There are many different resources available for women looking for counselling services in Singapore. Many hospitals offer counselling services which may include group therapy and community outreach programs provided by professional counsellors. These counselling services are there for help all new parents, regardless of their financial situation or their background, and they can provide new mothers with the support they need to cope with the symptoms of postnatal depression. It is important for fathers too to be aware that this illness can affect both new parents and not just the mothers as it has been seen that untreated postnatal depression may lead to poor parenting habits which will negatively affect their child’s long-term development.