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Live webchat with postnatal depression counsellor, Liz Wise, Tuesday 17th April, 1pm

(154 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 14-Apr-12 12:59:44

Liz Wise is joining us on Tuesday 17 April between 1 and 2pm. She was introduced to us as a possible webchat guest by a mumsnetter who described how she'd 'changed her life'. Liz is a specialist postnatal depression counsellor who has been supporting mothers with PND for the past fifteen years, Having had severe PND after both her children, she has a great deal of personal and professional experience. Liz is also the PND co-ordinator for the National Childbirth Trust and sits on the committee for The Association for Postnatal Illness. She has also produced the popular DVD, Understanding Postnatal Depression.

Postnatal depression affects approximately 20% of mothers in the UK and can be a very isolating and frightening condition. Around 10% of fathers experience paternal depression. Symptoms include, low mood, anxiety, exhaustion, inability to look forward to or enjoy anything and sometimes irrational thoughts. It is temporary condition which can be helped by the right support and/or treatment. Join the discussion on Tuesday at 1pm or send questions in advance to Liz here. For more information about postnatal depression see www.postnataldepression.com.

GleeClubClassof2008 Tue 17-Apr-12 11:13:48

Hello Liz!!! (massive wave!!) I have name changed especially to say hello!

Wow, you are on Mumsnet, fantastic!

I came to one of your groups after the birth of my DD, I don't know what I would have done without it. Thank you.

Barklouder Tue 17-Apr-12 11:23:49

gleeclub I suspect there are quite a few of us lurking around grin

thanks Liz

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 17-Apr-12 11:48:46

Hi Liz, yes I think I feel similar to saf about the name PND - feeling it may over medicalise the experience of many women and not allow much recognition of the social aspects of becoming a mother which I feel contribute to depression for a significant number of women. Possibly good though to recognise that depression is an illness. Just that "post-natal" makes it sound like it's all about hormomes which I don't think it is, though they may contribute.

I feel I've had a low level depression for much of my adult life and certainly found life more difficult to cope with especially after having my second baby when I also had a toddler to look after. I've never been diagnosed with anything relating to mental health though (although I did seek support from my health visitor and have had some counseling through GP surgery) - possibly because my experience has almost always been what might be classified as "sub-threshold depression". I still feel the DCs are a big responsibility and cause of anxiety and stress even now they're 10 and 13. Is PND an on-going experience for some ?
I'm wondering what the variations are in how different women experience it in terms of intensity and length of time they are affected by it ?

kizzie Tue 17-Apr-12 12:06:14

Hi Liz - you know me very well wink.

I just wanted to add to the thanks for Liz. She (literally) held my hand through some very very difficult times and I will always be grateful.

Swiddle Tue 17-Apr-12 12:38:01

Someone close to me has suffered long term pnd / ptsd following a traumatic birth. Her own mother had a traumatic (near-death) time in giving birth to her, way back.

I wonder if there is a connection? I don't mean genetically, but in terms of early birth trauma possibly leading to anxious parenting, leading to an anxious child, growing up to be anxious new mum... etc... ?

(I truly don't mean to cause anyone offence by this question, as I know every situation is different)

heliumballoon Tue 17-Apr-12 12:42:40

Thank you MNHQ for arranging such a useful webchat.

There are some very good questions on here already. I like strawberry's question about preventative measures in particular. I also concur with the view that it can really be kicked off by atrocious care on postnatal wards.

I had roaring PND following DD1's birth and when I (with great fear) decided to have another DC did everything in my power to prevent a reoccurence and so far (thank god) it seems to have worked. I see so many mnetters though who report just being shoved on anti depressants and receiving no other help. Surely that is not the best approach?

heliumballoon Tue 17-Apr-12 12:57:05

Upthread someone noted that she thought it was a miracle mothers avoid PND (I paraphrase). I have to say I agree with this. I meet pregnant woman after pregnant woman who tell me that they have never held a baby (or not for years). Their friends don't have babies and if they do live far away. They prepare with books called things like 'How to succeed at breastfeeding'. I looked at some baby books recently and saw they recommend things like "at 11 weeks baby needs 16 hrs 45 mins sleep a day" and a routine which starts each day with expressing at 0640. Is it any surprise that babies don't do as the books say and mothers feel like abject failures?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Apr-12 13:01:49

Liz has joined us at MN Towers and is ready to start asking your questions. Thanks so much for joining us and welcome to Mumsnet Liz

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:02:22

Thank you very much for joining me for this webchat. I will endeavour to answer as many questions as I can in the next hour.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:03:09

MaryChalloner

I have a question.

My relationship has broken down while I have been pregnant. I had also moved to a new city with my husband shortly before this. I am due to give birth alone and am feeling fairly isolated in my new city. I have no family support. I feel concerned that I am at risk of PND once the baby is born (coupled with sleep deprivation, no support, older children to look after etc etc) although I have not had depression in the past. I wonder if there is anything I can do to minimise the risk of being hit by PND once the baby is born. It isn't an option in the time available to move house or suddenly acquire a group of local friends!

Many thanks

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling very isolated in a new city and don't have family support around you. I think it would be a really good idea for you to talk to your doctor about your feelings, so they can try and get you some ongoing support. I wonder if there's any practical support that a charity such as HomeStart could offer you? Again, your GP or Health Visitor should know about this. It would be a good idea to talk to someone that you totally trust about your fear of getting PND.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 17-Apr-12 13:04:59

That would make me laugh though helium - "at 11 weeks baby needs 16hrs 45mins sleep a day" grin Experience tells me babies haven't read the manual !
Of course starting your day with expressing at 6.40 am might not be so funny (I could never get used to the faff of expressing) I admit I was a sucker for the "What your baby should be doing each month" stuff though. But on the whole it made me feel proud at how clever she was ! ( Sorry, slightly tangential as is my want (sp?)) But a little humour is good, and actually might help us keep some perspective with our babies if we can hold on to it, which I know we can't always do )

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:05:24

HJMP

How do you think GPs/health professionals can be encouraged to take PND seriously but also appropriately?
When I was pg with dd3 I was concerned about PND after having had it twice before. GP was supportive but MW and consultant dismissed it as unlikely.
Only service offered in my area is a support group which has been unsuitable for me to attend due to a work client being in the group.

I think it varies greatly for health professionals as with all professions, some take it more seriously than others. I’m surprised that as you had had PND twice before that it wasn’t taken more seriously by your midwife and consultant and the only support uGu were offered was a group, not any one to one counselling. I think PND should be part of every health professional’s training and that it needs to be spoken about more to get rid of the stigma attached to it.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:05:57

heliumballoon

Upthread someone noted that she thought it was a miracle mothers avoid PND (I paraphrase). I have to say I agree with this. I meet pregnant woman after pregnant woman who tell me that they have never held a baby (or not for years). Their friends don't have babies and if they do live far away. They prepare with books called things like 'How to succeed at breastfeeding'. I looked at some baby books recently and saw they recommend things like "at 11 weeks baby needs 16 hrs 45 mins sleep a day" and a routine which starts each day with expressing at 0640. Is it any surprise that babies don't do as the books say and mothers feel like abject failures?

Yes, I totally agree with you and think there is far too much pressure on pregnant women to become 'supermums'. We all parent differently according to how it feels for us. There is no right or wrong in how you deal with your own baby, within reason.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:07:06

JugglingWithTangentialOranges

That would make me laugh though helium - "at 11 weeks baby needs 16hrs 45mins sleep a day" grin Experience tells me babies haven't read the manual !
Of course starting your day with expressing at 6.40 am might not be so funny (I could never get used to the faff of expressing) I admit I was a sucker for the "What your baby should be doing each month" stuff though. But on the whole it made me feel proud at how clever she was ! ( Sorry, slightly tangential as is my want (sp?)) But a little humour is good, and actually might help us keep some perspective with our babies if we can hold on to it, which I know we can't always do )

For some women, having a routine with their baby can be very helpful and may give them a sense of control and a sense of pride if their baby responds well to the routine.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:08:16

swallowedAfly

do you ever wonder if the term 'pnd' in it's medicalised glory serves to silence the social reality women face upon having children? re: it detracts attention from what it is about having a baby in our society that causes depression in many and instead plants the idea that it is just somethign 'wrong' with each of those individual women and not a pattern at all?

That is a really good question, however there is a big difference between a mum who is finding it hard adjusting to motherhood but it isn’t making her feel anxious and or depressed. Many new mums have feelings of inadequacy, are tired, a bit anxious but with PND these feelings are very exaggerated and cause day to day problems for the mother.

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 17-Apr-12 13:09:08

Hello. I would be interested to know whether there is any link between breast feeding and PND. I felt myself slipping into PND with both my DC which only stopped when I stopped breast feeding. I think I struggled to cope with the hormonal effects. Thanks

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:09:09

Swiddle

Someone close to me has suffered long term pnd / ptsd following a traumatic birth. Her own mother had a traumatic (near-death) time in giving birth to her, way back.

I wonder if there is a connection? I don't mean genetically, but in terms of early birth trauma possibly leading to anxious parenting, leading to an anxious child, growing up to be anxious new mum... etc... ?

Yes I think there probably is a connection, as birth trauma is a possible risk factor in PND. However, if this is dealt with when the woman is feeling strong enough to address it, it should not lead to anxious parenting and an anxious child etc. etc. Again this takes me to traumas in our life that are not resolved; if we suppress them, they can raise their ugly head years down the line.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:10:15

blue2

Hi Liz
I attended one of your day courses a few years ago while I was a Homestart Volunteer - it was incredibly informative, and filled in a few gaps for me as I'd had bad PND after my son was born, but only knew of "my" story.

I see that there are almost no support groups for this illness; what would I need to do to start one up? I am not a healthcare professional - but does that matter?

I'd be interested to hear your response.

Many Thanks

Hi, thank you for your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the course. There are many things to consider before starting up a support group, such as who facilitates, the venue, a room for the crèche etc. I would be most happy to have a chat with you about setting up a group; I think it’s a great idea.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:10:37

FunnysInLaJardin

Hello. I would be interested to know whether there is any link between breast feeding and PND. I felt myself slipping into PND with both my DC which only stopped when I stopped breast feeding. I think I struggled to cope with the hormonal effects. Thanks

Hi FunnysInLaJardin,

I think there may well be a link between breastfeeding and PND, as I have known some women feel better when they have stopped breastfeeding. However, others have felt worse. We have to remember that breastfeeding can be enormously demanding, tiring, and sometimes isolating - which are factors that may contribute to PND.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:11:45

TheJoyfulPuddlejumper

Great question swallowed!

Hi Liz,

I suffered from severe postnatal depression after the birth of my daughter. My husband realised pretty quickly and encouraged me to seek help but I was convinced that it was just sleep deprivation. How do you differentiate between a woman 'just' being sleep deprived and it being PND?

Sleep deprivation definitely contributes to PND and tiredness certainly makes it worse, however there are mums (most in fact!) who are sleep deprived but are not depressed. Sleep deprivation would not usually be a factor on its own to cause PND.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:12:14

FunnysInLaJardin

Hello. I would be interested to know whether there is any link between breast feeding and PND. I felt myself slipping into PND with both my DC which only stopped when I stopped breast feeding. I think I struggled to cope with the hormonal effects. Thanks

(cont'd)... Hormones obviously do play a part in PND, however they're never solely responsible for it.

ReallyTired Tue 17-Apr-12 13:13:15

Do you think there is a danger with long support groups that they encourage women to ruminate on their problems and make depression worse. I had strong OCD symptoms with postnatal anxiety and I suspect that the support group I went to exasabated my symptoms.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Tue 17-Apr-12 13:13:34

You don't think there's a complete spectrum of experience from content and happy through to seriously depressed ? As in can you really say when someone has PND and when they don't ? Aren't some people (speaking from personal experience) just either un-diagnosed or slightly sub-clinical / sub-threshold ?

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:13:45

heather1

Dear Liz,
I am interested on your thoughts about a link between PND and PMT.
I had doctor diagnosed PND after the birth of both my children. Subsequently my PMT significantly worsened (also doctor diagnosed). I saw a nutritionist with a track record of helping women with PMT. Though supplements, diet and exercise no more PMT then and now 5 years from the birth of my youungest (my PMT was just like the PMD but only around the time of my period.)
The nutritionist thought there is a dietary and consequently hormonal link. I think its a shame more diet and exercise help arent given to women disgnosed with PMD.
Do you agree this could be the situation for some cases? I havent tested it out by having another child!

There is certainly a connection between PND and PMT and it seems to be that as a mum is recovering from PND, she may find her symptoms heighten before or during her period. There is a definite connection between diet, exercise and PMT and these may help it. PMT may be a positive sign that a mum is recovering – if she’s feeling well most of the month then drops before her period it shows that her PND is becoming PMT. It can be a good idea to keep a diary of symptoms to see a pattern.

LizWise Tue 17-Apr-12 13:14:51

ReallyTired

Do you think the use of positive pychology (Ie. resilence training or the human givens theory, mindfulness, teaching of relaxation techniques) could prevent postnatal depression in at risk women?

I went to a postnatal depression group that actually made my depression worse. Do you think there should be more critical assessment to see what types of councelling/ medication works for a particular individual?

Hi ReallyTired,

I definitely think use of positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could help prevent PND in some women. However it would be important to learn this before, as getting a grip on it when you are depressed is very, very hard. I would be interested to know in what way the postnatal depression group made your depression worse? Yes, I think it is important to assess individual mothers to know what type of treatment and/or support is needed.

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