This is what postnatal depression really feels like

(Rachel Leonard, Anne Grant and Mark Linden/The Conversation) — Motherhood can be a source of joy, but it can also pose difficulties and challenges – particularly, in the postnatal period. It is a time when some mothers’ emotional and physical endurance is pushed to the limit.

About 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental illness, primarily depression and anxiety. In developing countries 20% of mothers experience clinical depression after childbirth.

Mothers who have mental health problems after giving birth, face the dual challenges of managing motherhood alongside their health issue. This balancing act can cause an internal conflict – but fears of being judged and shame around what they are experiencing can act as a barrier, which stops many women from seeking help.

There is an expectation that having a baby will result in the rosy glow of motherhood. But postnatal depression can leave many women with a persistent feeling of deep sadness, and a loss of interest in life. This may reduce their ability to care for their baby, or may leave them with thoughts of self-harm or even suicide. (…)

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