Postnatal depression is a spectrum which can be as mild as “baby blues”- weeping for several days after childbirth, to at the other end - puerperal psychosis, which can manifest in delusions, hallucinations and impulses to hurt the baby or the belief that there is something wrong with it.
In the middle of these two extremes is what the majority of new mothers experience at some point; profound lows, as they struggle to deal with the new challenges that life as a mother presents.
Earlier this year, the Government announced more NHS help for women with postnatal depression to the tune of £400m, recruiting more health visitors across the country who will be trained to spot the early signs of postnatal depression. This means that for the first time, there will be more focus on the emotional wellbeing of the entire family, not just concentrating on the practical ins and outs of looking after the baby. But is this enough?
With statistics suggesting that roughly a quarter of women experience depression in the first year after childbirth, experts believe that the true figures are probably far greater, as postnatal depression is often misdiagnosed or missed. The most important thing is to be to able to recognise the symptoms in yourself, spot the warning signs in others and not to feel alone or that you are failing as a parent.
Health & Wellbeing mutual, Benenden Healthcare Society has acknowledged this issue and are inviting you to take part in a discussion on the issues surrounding PND. Joining us in a live and interactive WebTV on 20th December at 1pm are Liz Wise from The Ceder House support group and The Association of Postnatal Depression Committee and Natalie Ellis from PNI.org.uk.