How people experience a depression differs a lot per person. One might have more severe symptoms than others. Below you can find a list of symptoms that often occur with new moms with a postnatal depression.
- Fear of being alone. This is what I also experienced. When my boyfriend was at home, everything was fine(ish) but a soon as he left the house the symptoms mentioned below appeared.
- Cry for no apparent reason. I had this often. Sometimes a good cry can feel like a relief but this is not the case with a PND. This was especially hard on my boyfriend. When he saw me cry he wanted to help in some way but this was just not possible. I did not know why I was crying. The only thing he could do for me was to be there for me.
- Anxiety. I just could not relax. Especially not when I was alone with my baby. At moments like these, I was hyper-alert and it felt like time was crawling by.
- Fear of being social. This I felt less because I very much did not want to be alone. Usually, I am more of a loner so this for me was kind of odd.
- Thinking about harming yourself or the baby. Also this one I did not experience. All I wanted was to get out of this situation. I even thought about where I would go and how I would get there.
- Feeling guilty. I felt guilty about everything. About the fact that I could do nothing, about not being able to bond with my baby, about crying all the time… everything.
- Change in appetite. I hardly ate before I got my antidepressants. I lost the baby weight very fast.
- Lack of personal hygiene. When I felt depressed, I could hardly take care of myself. Combing my hair or brushing my teeth felt like a fulltime job and on some days I just skipped it.
- A decrease in libido. This seems logical. When you are not feeling well you are not in the mood.
- Lack of confidence and self-worth. Because a severally depressed person has difficulty taking care of herself, let alone others, she will feel like she is worth nothing. You will lose confidence and you end up in a dangerous downward spiral.
- Fatigue or hyperalertness. I was hyper alert which made me unable to relax which made me more and more tired.
- No bonding with the baby. I felt a great distance towards my newborn and felt strongly that she would be here only temporary. It felt like someone would come to pick her up and then this feeling would go away. This is very weird but to me, back then, it really felt that way.
- Feeling nothing. At some point, I was so far spiraling downward that I did not feel anything. I felt very empty and I was very apathetic.
Not everyone who is depressed experiences the same symptoms. Like you could read above, my symptoms also different from the ‘normal’ depression symptoms. Do you think you or someone close to you is depressed, go to your family physician. They can help you. Please don’t think that it might go away in a few weeks. These few weeks could also be months or years. Don’t wait for this. You would like to enjoy your baby growing up, won’t you?