Postnatal depression can affect anyone irrespective of background. Although it can occur straight after the birth it often does not get acknowledged or recognized until after some months.

What are the Symptoms of Postnatal Depression?

  • Sleeping problems – can’t get to sleep or waking in the early hours and not being able to get back to sleep
  • Crying a lot, often over the smallest things or for no reason at all
  • Can’t eat or over-eating
  • Physical aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach pains or blurred vision and worrying that it is something terminal or serious
  • Lack of motivation to get up and do anything, feel things are piling up around you. A constant underlying sense of anxiety maybe escalating into panic attacks. Easily “set off” and difficult to calm down
  • Difficulty concentrating, say on a book or film or even on a conversation
  • Putting on a front. Feeling like you are playing out a role rather than just living the moment
  • Feeling lonely and isolated. Perhaps feeling rejected by friends, family, even your partner and your baby or children. Or avoiding going out and meeting people.
  • Sense of feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • No interest in sex
  • Feeling guilty about everything – especially wondering if you are being a bad mother
  • Overly anxious and over protective of your baby
  • Feeling emotionally disconnected from or even rejected by your baby.
  • Strange, frightening thoughts or visions popping into your head about harming yourself or the baby or awful things happening

Understanding Postnatal Depression

Having a baby is usually a positive experience for mothers and fathers; society expects us to feel happy and fulfilled as we welcome a new life into our world. Yet parents have a major re-adjustment to deal with, these include the loss of independence, changes in financial status or security, and sometimes changes in relationships with those in different circumstances. Although you may feel prepared for these changes, having a baby can still be a shock for many people.

It is perfectly normal to feel emotional, vulnerable and sensitive after your baby is born. Some mothers may feel confused about their feelings – that they should be overjoyed and instantly fall in love with their baby. This is not always the case and there are understandable reasons why you may not feel like this.  For example you may have a difficult labour or a traumatic delivery which has left you feeling exhausted and possibly unfulfilled of the expectations you may have had.  Don’t forget we are not taught how to be mothers; it is something we need to learn for ourselves, and at this time of our lives we sometimes need to be mothered ourselves. 

What are Baby Blues?

These typically occur between 3-5 days after the birth. One theory is that they coincide with the hormonal changes that occur as the breast milk starts to come in. Other theories are that the baby blues are due to the ‘come down’ after the effects of endorphins, or that they are a sort of physical shock reaction after the upheaval of birth. You may feel weepy, irritable, have a low mood and feel that you lack confidence in being to look after your baby. These are very normal and these feelings usually subside after a week or so. However, don’t be afraid to confide in someone who has had a baby about how are you feeling, as this will help ease your feelings.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Therapy is an active, goal-directed process which helps people to learn how to understand and change thinking and behaviour. Research has shown that when people learn CBT skills, they are better able to understand and control their thoughts and behaviours which in turn helps to improve anxiety, depression and anger.

How can Cocoon help?

  1. We can offer free advice and support over the phone by putting you in touch with one of our PND advisors including the Founder Louise Moxon by just calling 020 3287 4633
  2. We are launching the first PND support group here in London in March 2011 through a charity called ‘The Cedar House Support Group‘ At the moment the support groups are just running in the Surrey area.  Liz Wise, Director of Counselling will be facilitating the groups, together with Louise Moxon, Director of Cocoon. These support groups will be free of charge to mother’s attending the groups.  There are also on site crèche facilities to enable mother’s to bring their children/babies.  The crèche is staffed by qualified, CRB checked nannies. 
  3. Cocoon can put you in touch with the best professionals who deal with PND from Psychiatrists, Counsellors, Acupuncturists, Masseurs, Nutritionists & Fitness Instructors all of which have been proven to help with PND.

It was so lovely to talk to you on Friday, thank you for taking the time. I admire the work you are doing with PND.  My mother and I were chatting this evening saying how Cocoon stands out from so many agencies, because you take such care and interest in your clients – I will of course recommend you to all my friends. Night nannies are a saviour!

It was great to have Marketa on Tuesday night – we could not have coped without her. Last night was amazing – everyone slept with no problems, including the baby.

Scarlett, South West London

It has been helpful to speak to someone who understands, really understands. In fact you are the first person.

A mum suffering from PND

Cocoon has been a heaven send! We phoned Cocoon when my wife became very ill with Postpartum Psychosis. During that phone call I didn’t know my wife would be hospitalised for 3.5 months. At that moment I needed imminent care for our newborn son so that I could care for my wife.

Cocoon sent an extremely well trained maternity nurse pretty much as soon as the phone call had ended. Once we realised the significance of my wife’s illness and that it could be a matter of months before she’d be able to help care for our son, I began to worry that I would not be able to cope on my own. I also began to worry about the costs of paying for maternity nurses for an indefinite period.

At this challenging time Cocoon could not have been more helpful going out of their way to provide the best care we could’ve hoped for with our budget. From all the individual nurses, to Louise coordinating over the phone, everyone at Cocoon seemed personally invested not just in our son but in my wife’s illness too.

I praise God for the help and reassurance Cocoon brought to us during, undoubtedly, the toughest time of our lives.

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