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Postnatal depression lasts more than two weeks and is characterised by:
Depressive mood for most of the day. "Look at my baby and I don’t stop crying “, "I see a black future". When the depression is severe or lasting, there may be feelings of desperation “I feel I am in an endless tunnel”, “I will never be like I was before”… that may be accompanied by ideas of death or disappearing.
Decrease in interest or ability to enjoy all or almost all activities. “I don’t feel like doing anything, I am not looking forward to anything, I don’t feel like going out, or reading, or watching TV, I can’t stand people coming to see me“. This difficulty can include enjoying the newborn baby: I don’t feel like being with my baby or I can’t be alone with it”, or, on the contrary: “To be with my baby, is the only thing that soothes me”.
Loss of appetite and weight, or on the contrary, an increase in appetite with anxiety due to eating, and an increase in weight.
Changes in sleep pattern with insomnia unrelated to the wakening up of the baby. There can also be excessive sleepiness during the day (hypersomnia).
Feeling of tiredness and loss of energy.
Anxiety and persistent feeling of fear and uneasiness. “I am continuously suffering, I don’t stop thinking that my baby is ill or has a serious illness”.
Feelings of blame and /or uselessness with a tendency to repetitive thoughts in relation to maternal feelings and abilities. “I am not a good mother, I don’t know how to give him a bath, or change him, I can’t soothe him when he cries”, “I would prefer someone to look after him”.
Decrease in the ability to concentrate, with a feeling of difficulty to think and to make decisions. There can be difficulties to make decisions as regards the nurturing and basic care of the baby. “I go periods without dressing him because I don’t know if have to put on a short or long-sleeved shirt".
Difficulties in bonding with the newborn baby. “I look at him and I feel that it is not my child, I would prefer that someone will look after him”.
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Substantiated information by:
Alba RocaPsychiatristPerinatal Mental Health Unit
Anna Torres GiménezClinical PsychologistPerinatal Mental Health Unit
Lluïsa García EstevePsychiatristPsychiatrist. President of the Intrafamily and Gender Violence Commission
Susana Andrés PerpiñáPsychologistPerinatal Mental Health Unit
Published: 7 May 2019
Updated: 7 May 2019
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