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Clouds in my coffee. | by Neil. Moralee
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Clouds in my coffee.

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby.


It's a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, although this is less common.


Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the "baby blues" and is so common that it’s considered normal. The "baby blues" don’t last for more than two weeks after giving birth.


If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.


Signs that you or someone you know might be depressed include:


a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood

lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world

lack of energy and feeling tired all the time

trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day

difficulty bonding with your baby

withdrawing from contact with other people

problems concentrating and making decisions

frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby


Many women don't realise they have postnatal depression, because it can develop gradually.


Don't struggle alone hoping that the problem will go away. Remember that:


a range of help and support is available, including therapy

depression is an illness like any other

it's not your fault you're depressed – it can happen to anyone

being depressed doesn't mean you're a bad parent

it doesn’t mean you’re going mad

your baby won't be taken away from you – babies are only taken into care in very exceptional circumstances

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Taken on January 3, 2017