Posted by: Therese | 2011-11-30

Postnatal depression?

Good evening. I would just like to find out what the symptoms are for postnatal depression.

I''m 25 years old and my son was born 3 months ago. I have been feeling sad and crying a lot from about the 2nd day after his birth. He was 4kg at birth and I didn''t have any milk for him as yet and by the 3rd night, my nipples were bleeding but he still didn''t get any milk. My gynecologist wouldn''t allow formula feeding, so I spent 3 nights in hospital desperately trying to feed him. My husband was only with me on the day our son was born. He works overseas so he hasn''t been here at all. My parents are divorced and live far away so I haven''t seen them as yet since he was born. And I have a meddling mother in law that criticizes all that I do.

I am tired all the time. I have no appetite and have subsequently lost 21kg. I don''t sleep. I don''t want to see any friends. I snap at everyone and the smallest things upset me. My son has colic so all the crying aggravates these feelings. And I have thought about hurting myself.

Is this depression?

Thank you in advance.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

What you describe does indeed sound like Depression, and, arising just after birth, would be PND. In addition to the biology and hormonal shifts of pregnancy and childbirth, you have a lack of sound support and personal caring, and maybe some unhelpful interference from MIL.
Please, do arrange ASAP to see a psychiatrist for assessment and treatment advice.
Your gynae's response to the lack of milk sounds insensitive and unwise. Breastfeeding is desirable, but not compulsory.
Let your friends come and help, too.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2011-12-01

Please go and get help. For your sake, your husbands sake and your child''s sake.

When we don''t have family nearby to support us during the time consuming and difficult early few months with baby, and we have a difficult birth experience or we struggle with breastfeeding, it does set us up for post natal depression. If you are crying about the oddest things - there are no tea bags left, you dropped a glass - that sort of thing. Other signs are having dreams that you have hurt your baby or wanting to hurt your baby. Feeling angry and exploding over the tiniest little things (someone putting their trolley in your way int he supermarket aisle), not really wanting to be with your baby, eating huge amounts or not having any appetite at all, sleeping all the time, or not at all (so after feeding baby, you just can''t fall asleep again).

I''m sorry you had such a bad breastfeeding experience. In the early days you produce colostrum. There is only about a teaspoon ful at a time. From about day three to day five it starts gradually changing to full milk. You did have milk, you just didn''t have knowledgeable nurses to help you with correct information. Nipples crack and bleed mostly from baby not being latched on properly (something nurses should help you with). This can be completely avoided with good help. Unfortunately, many peadiatricians are pro breastfeeding, but being men (or women without children) they have not breastfed, and so they think its just a case of putting baby to breast and all will be fine, which is not the kind of support a mom wants and needs. People don''t often realise how strong our urge to breastfeed is, and how desperately guilty we make ourselves feel if we struggle and give up.
To help yourself heal from this, try contacting someone from La Leche League. Talk over what happened with your breastfeeding experience, how it made you feel when you had no real support from medical staff etc. If ever you have another baby, go along to their meetings while you are pregnant as they will help you prepare mentally for it and you can see other new moms learning. In years gone by, we all had sisters and mothers and aunts and friends who had breast fed and would teach us how, now, mostly we live far away, or they haven''t breastfed (due to bad information they got), so we need help. It might be natural, but it doesn''t come naturally.

Can you get some day to day help with your baby? Maybe a friend who can baby sit for a bit so that you can have a good sleep one afternoon?
The more time you spend with baby, the more you will want to be with baby, so try to force yourself to play with baby and read to him.

I had PND with my son who is now 7. I did not feel ready for another baby until last year, when I fell pregnant and I now have a 6 month old daughter. What a different experience. I have been on anti depressants and seen psychologists in between which helped. I stayed on them in pregnancy and my dosage was incrased at the end of hte pregnancy and first two months after baby''s arrival. I had the normal baby blues from about day 3 to day 10 after baby was born (everyone gets that, as its from the huge surges of hormones), but it was not as bad as with my son and it definitely stopped.

Things will come right. Hang in there.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2011-11-30

Yes it sounds like depression and you need, and deserve, to get help. I would have said go and see your gynae but he/she sounds horrible - wouldn''t allow formula feeding when you didn''t have milk, what''s up with that? Please make an appointment with your gp or a local psychiatrist immediately. You need medical help but also physical, practical help. Is it not possible for your husband to come home for a while? I realise that sometimes circumstances are difficult but to leave you alone with a new baby is really inconsiderate. If you don''t have family or friends who can help then hire a nanny to take some of the load off you. You need some time to relax and look after yourself. This is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Call a friend and tell her that you are feeling terrible and you need some TLC, can she watch your baby for a while, or take you out to lunch while someone else looks after baby, or just give you the opportunity to sleep. Real friends will help if you let them, you just have to ask.

((((HUGS)))) Take care. And call your doc for an appointment, don''t delay. It''s vitally important for both you and your baby that you get assistance.

Reply to Maria

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