Postnatal depression, mum’s the word!

For around 15-20% of mums, postnatal depression can be a frightening illness. The Cedar House Support Group is a charity helping women experiencing postnatal depression (PND). In January 2013, we launched a new support group in Clapham. The group and accompanying crèche are free.

Sad Woman Mood Sadness Thoughts View Distrust

What is postnatal depression?

PND is an illness that affects mothers after the birth of their child. It often starts within one or two months of giving birth. It can also start much later.

It can happen to anyone and it is not your fault. We recommend you first talk to your GP or health visitor if you are feeling unwell.

What does it feel like to have PND? Some symptoms:

Depressed

You feel low, unhappy and tearful for much or all of the time.

You can’t enjoy anything.

Sleeplessness

Even though you are tired, you can’t fall asleep. You may lie awake worrying about things. You may wake very early.

Negative thoughts

Depression changes your thinking, you may be experiencing negative or even scary thoughts. You may think that life is not worth living. If you have thoughts about harming yourself, you should seek help immediately from the medical profession e.g. doctor or A&E.

Anxiety

Most new mothers worry about their baby or themselves. With PND, the anxiety can be overwhelming.

Support

Since 2004, our support groups have provided a safe and confidential environment where mothers can share their thoughts and feelings with others who may be experiencing similar symptoms. We have seen hundreds of women with severe to mild depression and they do get better.

Why launch the group in London?

mother baby hands

I suffered terribly with PND and became a shadow of my former self. Living in Clapham or Nappy Valley, I found it terrifying and isolating. All the mums seemed to be having fun with their coffee mornings and fitness classes. I was living in an alien world of negative thoughts, anxiety and insomnia.

I had enjoyed motherhood initially but became depressed after a year. I couldn’t eat or enjoy anything. In the end, I needed intensive treatment to help me get better.

I couldn’t find any support groups in my local area. If only I had met other women suffering, perhaps I would have got better quicker. Our charity is here to change this and we have worked hard to launch in London. The response from mums and our local community has been incredible. As soon as I talk about PND with mums, many open up saying they had it too, so people do often suffer in silence, and it needn’t be that way.

Where to get help

• Talk to your family, partner or friends for support. Most people know someone statistically who’s had the illness. You are not alone.

• Contact your health visitor or GP

• The Association for Postnatal Illness www. apni.org

• For further information about our The Cedar House Support Group:

AUTHOR: Zoe Cassidy, Trustee, The Cedar House Support Group
Website: www.postnataldepression.com
Facebook: The Cedar House Support Group
Twitter: @cedarhousesupp

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