Articles - Perinatal Depression
Why am I feeling so sad at a time in my life when I should be excited and joyful?

Perinatal Depression


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Why am I feeling so sad at a time in my life when I should be excited and joyful?

Getting pregnant and expecting a baby is meant to be a time in the life where you feel happy and excited about this new adventure. Even with the morning sickness and aching body – there is an expectation that you should be grateful and excited.

But what if you dont feel that way?

Up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience antenatal depression. Anxiety is just as common, and many expecting parents can experience both anxiety and depression.

For most people having a baby is an exciting and also challenging time, however when the Mother or partner experience a more pronounced level of low mood or anxiety it is known as antenatal anxiety or antenatal depression.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Persistent, generalised worry, often focused on fears for the health or wellbeing of the baby
  • The development of obsessive or compulsive behaviours
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Feeling constantly sad, low, or crying for no obvious reason
  • Being nervous, ‘on edge’, or panicky
  • Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
  • Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy (like time with friends, exercise, eating, or sharing partner time)
  • Sleeping too much or not sleeping very well at all
  • Losing interest in intimacy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Being easily annoyed or irritated
  • Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember (people with depression often describe this as a ‘brain fog’)
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviour (for example, alcohol or drug use)
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide, or self-harm

It can be difficult to talk with friends or family for fear of judgment about these feelings about what ‘should be a happy time’. However antenatal depression is a serious illness and requires support and understanding from friends, family and professional support.

Early support makes a difference, a good place to start is with your GP, they can help you understand what you are experiencing and offer you appropriate treatments which may include counselling, methods of self-care or medication.

PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression support women, men, and families across Australia affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and early parenthood and are a wonderful place to start if you are concerned about how you are feeling.

Thanks to PANDA for their stats and information.

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