PARENTS

What Are The Symptoms Of Postnatal Anxiety? Mum Blogger Shares Her Experiences After Giving Birth

'Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect.'

20/06/2017 12:09 BST

A mum has opened up about experiencing postnatal anxiety to let other new parents know they’re not alone. 

Mel Watts, from Australia, who blogs at The Modern Mumma, told mums “it’s okay not to be okay” as long as you get the help you need.

“This is just one of those things that can happen and unfortunately for me it’s hit me quickly,” she wrote on Facebook on 14 June.

“I tried so hard to push myself through it and I’m exhausted. I need sleep. However, I’m okay. And I will be okay.”

Watts’ status was shared by other mums who have experienced postnatal anxiety but felt that they suffered in silence. 

So to make it easier for new mums to find the support they need HuffPost UK asked Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, for her advice.

What is postnatal anxiety?

Lidbetter explained postnatal anxiety is when new mothers experience symptoms of anxiety following a pregnancy and birth of their child.

“Having a child is life changing and can impact new mothers in a range of different ways,” she said.

“Not only does a pregnancy result in hormonal fluctuations, which can influence mood, but it can also result in mothers experiencing reduced levels of sleep and having to make necessary adjustments to their everyday lives.”

Lidbetter said all of these factors can play a part in new mothers experiencing increased feelings of stress and anxiety.

“When these periods of anxiety start to feel as though they are affecting a mothers’ ability to manage their daily life, this is when they would be considered as experiencing postnatal anxiety,” she said.

What are the symptoms of postnatal anxiety?

Lidbetter said everyone’s experience of postnatal anxiety will be slightly different, but there are a number of symptoms that are quite common.

“Postnatal anxiety can leave new mothers constantly feeling overly concerned about the wellbeing of their child, having visions of something terrible happening to their baby and constantly feeling the need to check on the safety of their child,” she said.

“These concerns can become all-consuming and can lead to mothers avoiding certain activities, even things as simple of taking their child outdoors, due to safety concerns.”

She said mums can also feel that they are not in control or they are not coping, which can result in them questioning whether they are good enough or doing the right thing in terms of their parenting approach.

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Where should women experiencing postnatal anxiety go for support?

“The first thing to realise if you are experiencing postnatal anxiety is that you are certainly not alone,” said Lidbetter.

“Becoming a new parent is something that can feel quite overwhelming and many new mothers will experience periods of anxiety.”

She said if mums find they are feeling anxious or unable to cope, they should talk to close friends and family about what they are going through.

Not only can it feel like a weight off your shoulders to let others know how you are feeling, but it can also help those around you see how they may be able to offer you support,” she said. 

Talking to your GP is a great next step in helping you identify what support is out there, too.

“Organisations such as Anxiety UK can also offer a wide range of self-help resources as well as providing opportunities to access a range of long term support options including reduced cost therapies.

“Finally, don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect. Having a child is a huge, life-changing experience and it is going to be a learning process. Remember you don’t have to go through it along, so talk to those around you and reach out for support.”

For more information and support, visit Anxiety UK.

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