I’m Feeling Anxious After Giving Birth, What Can I Do?
Looking after your mental health after giving birth is just as important as looking after your physical health.
If you are suffering from emotional distress, anxiety and struggling to cope, we would advise that you contact your GP to discuss your feelings. The following tips may be helpful to you, but proper medical care and treatment is essential.
Ask for help, remember ‘It is okay to talk about it’
It’s really important to remember that emotional distress or feeling anxious is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of the birthing experience and taking care of a new baby. This 100% does not mean you are a bad mother. These feelings are all extremely normal for thousands of mothers in Ireland every day.
Please don't be afraid or ashamed to speak up and seek help. The quicker you ask for help, the sooner you can get professional support, and the quicker you can recover. If you are experiencing emotional distress, feeling lost or think you may be experiencing a mental health illness, please call our mental health experts, Nurture on 01 8430930.
Be Honest, you won’t be judged
It may be hard to do at first, but being honest with your doctor or health nurse or therapist will mean you will get the help you need. You won't shock them with your feelings, they will have lots of experience in this area. They are not going to judge you, or think you are a bad mother.
It is common for women to worry that if they admit to a health professional that they are struggling mentally, that their baby will be taken away from them. This is not the case. Professionals are there to help and support you. Your GP is the best person to evaluate how you are doing and how they can help, but only providing that you are honest about what anxieties you are experiencing.
It is important to remember that you are not alone in your feelings, emotional distress, high levels of anxiety are all quite normal after giving birth and are very common feelings.
Don’t Delay, seek help as soon as you can
It is important to treat depression and anxiety as early as possible. Don't try to deal with it all by yourself. It will only cause you, and your baby, more distress. Partners and young children are also affected when a parent is anxious or depressed. To be well it is important not to self-diagnose or presume, talk with your GP.
Look after all areas of your life, you are important too!
A balanced lifestyle for all women means that all parts of their lives are being attended to, particularly time spent for themselves as individuals. Many women put on hold their own needs as they deal with the changes and the needs of their baby.
Diet, exercise, sleep, timeout, pleasurable activities, socialising, relaxation, work, normal routines will help a woman’s emotional needs once built into her lifestyle.
It may be hard to change, but be realistic and it is doable!
Although it can be difficult for a woman to make changes to her daily life when she is feeling very depressed or anxious, making small changes that bring about a more balanced lifestyle is important.
A great saying is “start from where you are and not where you want to be”. If you set your goals too high you will be disappointed, so it is important to be kind to yourself and take things slowly whilst moving forward in your life.
- Educate Yourself
- Medical Care
- Motivate Yourself
- Setting Goals
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact our mental health partner, Nurture.
Written by Irene Lowry for eumom.