What is Postnatal Illness?
Postnatal illness is known as Postnatal depression or postpartum depression outside the UK.
It usually takes up to at least six months for a mother to tell someone how she truly feels. Some times it's longer. A mother may have felt 'not right' since pregnancy, having her baby or very soon afterwards. Some women say they 'knew' deep down they had postnatal illness since stopping breastfeeding, or 'Baby Blues' which hadn't gone away. In most cases, women thought they had something wrong but didn't say what it was for fear of having their baby taken off them by Health Visitors, who are there to keep families together not break them apart.
The symptoms which are given in most magazines, books and TV interviews are so general they could be any type of general depression or about 'normal parenting' feelings such as tiredness, eating excessively, (eg chocolate) no energy, low sex drive, crying most of the time, losing weight, gaining weight, losing interest in going out, unable to stay in the house. This can happen when you have a baby and are still recovering from the birth itself. But women who have had or are still suffering from postnatal illness will say how they 'knew' something wasn't right.
If you can't face telling your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP tell us. Once you start to admit things are not right and you gain the confidence to post a message or talk to someone on here, we will support you and help you through this until you find the courage to speak to your doctor. Anything you say is in complete confidence.
During our research we found women reporting symptoms during the antenatal period, problems which arose during the birth itself, birth trauma and psychological postnatal symptoms which started very soon after the birth of their baby—yet they never reported this to their GP or Health Visitor.
Postnatal illness is curable. With the right help, treatment and support you will recover fully.
If you find a piece of research, an article or something useful which can help other women and their families, please contact us and share it.
Here are some questions which may help you to decide if you have postnatal illness / depression or birth trauma . If you feel you have PNI and you answer the questions raised here please tell someone.
Find a GP who you can trust and one who you feel is supportive about Postnatal illness and Birth Trauma. (See the Visiting the Doctor page for a letter you can take with you to your GP.) Again, if you need help and you are suffering with this alone—we can't stress this enough—do contact us.
Can you answer 'yes' to any of the following questions?
Postnatal Illness / Depression Symptoms
- Do you feel you are a 'bad' mother?
- Do you have horrible and distressing thoughts about yourself and your baby?
- Are you visualising terrible things happening to your baby caused by you?
- Do you have any 'chanting' thoughts or fast moving thoughts which don't go away especially when you try to sleep?
- Are you anxious or obsessive about your baby's health, welfare and safety?
- Do you clean the house all of the time or have obsessive thoughts about a fear of germs or illness harming your baby?
- Do you think about knives, or other dangerous objects or driving in your car and then have 'what would happen if ' thoughts?
- Do you think you are a 'bad person' rather than thinking you may have some kind of postnatal illness?
- Did you feel numb after having your baby—like he/she wasn't really yours?
- Do you play the birth in your mind time and time again because it was so awful for you?
- Are you able to enjoy life, have a sense of humour and laugh like you did before having your baby?
- Do you feel 'not right in yourself' since the birth of your baby?
- Do you avoid talking about the birth because you feel numb, or cry excessively about how you were treated?
- Are you hiding how you really feel about any of the issues mentioned in the questions above?
The symptoms above are the most common yet never spoken about sign you may have Postnatal illness. If you need any more information please talk to us.
- Do you feel so angry you fantasise about hurting the staff who delivered your baby?
- Do you have flashbacks, nightmares or panic attacks?
- Do you have difficulty sleeping?
- Do you feel irritable and are roused to anger easily?
- Do you avoid talking about the birth and get 'panicky' when you are reminded of it in anyway.
The symptoms above are a common sign you may have Birth Trauma. If you need any more information please talk to us.
As with all information presented on the PNI-UK web site, we ask you to never rely on information found here as a diagnosis or treatment for yourself or your family and always check with your Health Visitor, Consultant or Doctor. All information and designs are copyright of PNI-UK. Click here to read our Terms and Conditions