Things Maltese Mums Want You To Know About Post-Partum Depression
It's more than just 'baby blues'
Childbirth is held by basically everyone to be "a miracle". But for a few mums the aftermath of childbirth is not as a miraculous time as most would believe it to be. Some women develop what we've all heard being described as the 'baby blues'. Some have it worse. Postpartum depression (PPD) can happen to mothers following childbirth – typically because of the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and general fatigue.
We spoke to some Maltese mothers who have been through PPD. They gave us a few snippets of what it feels like, and also some advice to mothers who might be going through it too. Here's what they said.
1. What PPD feels like
"You'll feel useless, helpless, with continuous bad thoughts running through your mind"
"Like 24 hours are not enough and you're not doing anything right"
"You feel like everyone else is better for your baby than you are"
2. How to realise you actually have it
"You'll experience a lack of self-interest – you won't want to comb your hair. You'll feel like you don't deserve to be pretty"
"You won't have the desire or energy to take care of yourself, let alone the baby. You'll feel detached"
3. Because not many people will talk to you about it
"Younger people speak more, but if you're older then you still belong to a generation that considers mental illness to be taboo. I wish I could have opened up to my mother but I knew she would have said something to make me feel worse – purely because of lack of education"
"Most mothers tend to hide because of shame of fear of being judged – it's the stigma of mental health problems"
4. Remember – there's nothing to feel guilty about
"It's your hormones – you don't have control over them"
"Most people are very understanding, but there's always that person who knows it all. Stay away from them"
"Some parents and childless people think that PPD is exaggerated, that it's not true, that we might be overreacting or faking for attention. But it's the opposite – most of us try to disguise it"
5. And there are ways you can help yourself
"When you're pregnant go to the talks provided by the midwives together with your spouse to educate yourself and become aware of the signs"
"Ask for as much help as possible"
"Never shy away from describing how you're actually feeling"
"Talk to your other kids if you have them – explain that mummy loves them a lot but needs some help from doctors to get through this change"
"Remember children are not the only thing in life – it's okay to feel like you want to run and hide away for a few days"
6. Also – there are other people who can help you
"If grandparents are going to take an active role in your child's upbringing, set rules before the baby arrives. You don't need more stress than you can handle afterwards"
"Go to mother and baby clubs. If you're breastfeeding, visit the breastfeeding clinic to weigh your baby and boost your confidence"
"If you need to be referred to a doctor, rest assured they'll help you. There are only a few specialists on the islands, but they're the best.
7. It passes
"It's not a great experience but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel"
"Life right now might seem black, but once you seek help you'll realise you're not alone and things will get brighter every day"
"Getting over PPD does take time – don't lose faith in yourself"