HOW WE CAN HELP
Antenatal and postnatal anxiety
Whilst many people know that you can become depressed during pregnancy of after having a baby, it is less well know that anxiety is also a common experience during this time.
Physical symptoms of anxiety might be a racing heart, feeling hot or sweaty, tension in the body. You may also experience racing thoughts that are difficult to control. This can be very frightening and draining, but talking therapy can be incredibly useful to understand and manage the symptoms.
Antenatal and postnatal depression
Many people experience 'baby blues' around four or five days after having a baby and this may last for several days before naturally resolving.
At least 10-15% of women and 10% of men experience antenatal and/or postnatal depression. This may involve feeling very tearful and sad, feeling hopeless and helpless. You might experience changes to your eating and sleeping patterns and to your levels of energy. This is also normal after having a baby, so sometimes ante/postnatal depression can be difficult to notice initially.
Having a safe and separate space to share your thoughts with someone who understands this can help you to make sense of why you might be feeling this way and how to progress forwards.
Birth trauma can often be experienced when a man or woman experiences themselves or the baby being put at serious risk of harm during delivery. This might happen when the birth does not go to plan, if there are complications and/or you don't feel that you were listened to and cared for properly.
If you are traumatised by the birth experience you may experience flashbacks of different events or dream about it. You may also notice that you are on hyper alert, and feel anxious and/or depressed.
We now have a very good understanding about trauma and how we can promote recovery from these very difficult experiences.
Bonding and building relationships
We are often led to believe that we will experience "a rush of love' when we deliver a baby, but this is often not the case, and this is perfectly normal. Difficulties during pregnancy, delivery, the parental relationship, as well as our own experiences of being parented may all impact on the relationship you are trying to build with your baby or child.
Having a better understanding of this and a safe space to explore these issues can help to build the relationship you want to have with your child.
Loss at any time during the perinatal period can result in a complicated mix of emotions. Loss during this time may be connected to a struggle with fertility, miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth and the death of a baby following delivery.
Sometimes our society has ways of helping us to acknowledge the loss, and sometimes this is not the case and people can feel left with the emotional burden of the loss.
There is no right or wrong way to feel and there are no time frames about how long this might affect you. We can provide a safe space to explore your feeling around this for as long or short a time as is right for you.
Assisted fertility describes the different treatments that can be used to help achieve pregnancy. Often the focus is on the physical or medical journey, but this can be a very emotional journey too; challenging our concepts of self.
Having some space to talk about the emotional challenges faced can be an important source of support at this time.