Hi, new to the page. I had my baby seven months ago. Is there such a thing, or have you experienced delayed post natal depression? Or was it there all the time and now I've just put a name on it? Notwithstanding the massive, negative impact Covid is having on my mental health, I always considered myself fiercely independent and strong minded but now, I don't recognise myself at all. I cry for no reason, any reason and I've found myself using the word anxious when this was never in my vocabulary before. I've read here that many have gone to doctors and were prescribed antidepressants however I refuse to go on them because they mask the symptoms rather than deal with the real issues. I suppose I'm wondering, how do I deal with the issues. I'm married and my husband was very understanding but now I don't think he knows what to do, or what to say. I feel that my responses to everything he does is negative and this would just not be the real me.
Hi Carole, Thank you for reaching out to us and congratulations on your new baby 💜 Delayed postnatal depression does happen, however postnatal depression can occur at any time in the year after birth. It is also possible that you've been experiencing this for longer than you've been aware, but that isn't something to concern yourself with now - the point is you can and have recognized it now, which means you can attend to it. Covid has had a huge impact on mental health overall, but particularly that of parents of new babies - a time when you need and should have as much love and support around you as possible, to be so isolated and removed from the world is hugely impactful. I'm sorry to hear what a tough time you're having at the moment. It's perfectly normal and okay to feel anxious and to cry, however if you feel you do not recognize yourself that is of course cause for concern. None of this means you are not independent or strong minded, it simply means you are having a hard time right now and need some extra support. I understand the concern about prescribed medications, however we would still recommend speaking to your GP as your first port of call. You have every right to refuse medication and seek other forms of treatment, which a GP can refer you to. It is also worth noting that depression causes or can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and so medication is not always masking symptoms, it is sometimes directly addressing the issue. Regardless, the decision to take medication is entirely up to you and your doctor can only make recommendations for you. I am glad to hear you have a supportive and understanding partner, it is very common for partners to feel they don't know what to do or say in these situations (as you mentioned). We have a book available that includes sections on how partners can support their loved ones experiencing PND, and there are many resources available online too. These things can be difficult to voice to each other, writing a letter to explain how you are feeling and what you would like support form your partner to look like can be a helpful first step in opening up that line of communication. I hope this has been helpful, please feel free to reach out to us here, on our social media (Postnatal Depression Ireland on Facebook and Pndireland on Instagram), or by phone on 0834850689 if you need more support 💜 - Hannah, PND Ireland.