If you think you or someone you know may need help with their emotional wellbeing either pre- or post-natally, or both, then do read on. There are several ways to access help.
how do i know if i need help?
Emotional upheaval is not uncommon in the perinatal period. If you are the mother, your hormones are all over the place both during pregnancy and after birth. Sometimes it’s hard to know if what you’re experiencing is normal hormonal imbalance that will pass in time or something else.
Here is a breakdown of what is to be expected as a new parent and what may be something more that is worth investigating.
|‘Normal’ new parent experiences||Maybe time to talk to a medical professional|
|Not having the energy or time to feel enjoyment from usually enjoyable activities but recognising that when things get a bit normal, they’ll be a welcome distraction||Losing interest in normal things that give you a happy vibe and not seeing how you could enjoy them again|
|Baby brain!||Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember over the medium term|
|Feeling anxious about the new situation you are in||Panic attacks (a racing heart, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking or feeling physically ‘detached’ from your surroundings)|
|Feeling very happy and very quickly feeling very sad but understanding why this is||Abrupt mood swings|
|Becoming easily frustrated||Feeling disproportionate anger|
|Feeling too tired or too emotional to chat to everyone all the time||Withdrawing from friends and family over a period of a few weeks|
|Thinking “how on earth can I know how to look after a little human being”||Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health, wellbeing or safety of the baby|
|Leaving your baby to cry and wishing someone else could look after them for a while||Having thoughts of harming your baby or yourself|
(Taken from the #minimeltdowns, a blog on perinatal mental health by one of our local mums)
It’s also worth taking a read of the NHS page on post-natal depression to see whether that can help you decide if you need to reach out.
WHo to talk to
You could speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor, whomever you feel most comfortable with, and tell them how you’re feeling. It doesn’t matter who you tell, just reach out to someone. They will help you take the next step.
Alternatively, IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapy) is a nationwide service supporting people 16 years and over to access talking therapies. If you have a Coventry and Warwickshire GP, you can self-refer to your local IAPT service.
When you discuss how you are feeling with your GP or other health professional, they will assess your needs and will tell you what is available to you.
The three main options are medication, talking therapies and a combination of the two.
There are many different types of medication available for people suffering from perinatal depression and if you and your GP decide that is what is best for you then they can talk you through the options. Do not worry if you are pregnant or breastfeeding – there are medications that you can take in pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. Just make sure your GP is aware.
Your GP could refer you for talking therapies. They may refer you to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapy), who will then assess you to see what type of therapy you need. Or your GP might refer you directly to your local Perinatal Mental Health Service.
A common therapy path is a combination of medication and talking therapies.
You and your GP will discuss all your options to see what is best for you and your situation.
If, for any reason, you are not happy with the outcome of the discussion with your GP/midwife/health visitor, please do go back and try again. If you think you need help, make sure you get it.
And don’t forget to take a look at our Stories section, where mums and dads alike have shared their stories regarding perinatal mental health. A healthy reminder that whatever you are going through, however it may feel like it, you are not alone 🙂