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it seems to me that post natal anxiety would be a more useful term than PND for new mums

(44 Posts)
deaconblue Thu 11-Sep-08 21:50:19

Never felt depressed as such after having ds but the anxiety about him and doing basic simple tasks was overwelming for his first year. I really think if the health visitor or doctor had asked if I felt over anxious rather than asking if I was depressed I might have realised that such a level of anxiety was neither usual or unavoidable.
Anyone else feel the description of PND could do with being clarified better by health professionals?

BBBee Thu 11-Sep-08 21:52:59

'depression' is misleading as you just thing down and blue - my sister and I both suffered with anxiety after our first babies that verged on OCD (if I don't guess thsi question right on telly something awful will happen type thing).

megcleary Thu 11-Sep-08 21:53:34

i felt over anxious and panicy at times overwhelmed by worries about is dd eating, napping pooing enough etc so i agree not depressed but anxious about this whole new realm of responsibilty

deaconblue Thu 11-Sep-08 22:01:25

the Glasgow (is it Glasgow or have I misremembered?) scale thing was useless too because it makes you think you must be ok if you're not having suicidal thoughts or struggling to find things funny. I clearly remember taking ds for his first walk in the pram and actually planning what I would do if someone tried to steal him. Walked along with my chest pounding.

asteamedpoater Thu 11-Sep-08 22:12:30

I don't think PND is wrongly described as such, but do think that more publicity ought to be given to the chances of getting severe post natal anxiety, as this is a separate condition, albeit it can lead on to depression if it goes on too long.

FrayedKnot Thu 11-Sep-08 22:16:12

I agree. I wasn;t depressed exactly but got very panicky about lots of things, and couldn;t seem to do anything properly.

I felt anxious every day for months particularly in the mornings. I had to go out every day, couldn;t just stay in the house.

I never did the Edinburgh test (I think it's that not Glasgow grin) - even though I had a past history of anxiety and depression, no-one bothered to ask me if I was OK.

Thing is an anxious person often looks like they are coping, I think.

Heated Thu 11-Sep-08 22:19:54

That's exactly what I had and that assessment the HV's give you never asked the right questions.

minorbird Thu 11-Sep-08 22:20:16

I completely agree! I was anxious and neurotic. I used to do the same @shopping, and also worry about letting go of the pram when walking down hill incase it veered into the road. I once mistook a very loud airplane for a merorite. blush Thats when I realised how anxious I'd become!

SmugColditz Thu 11-Sep-08 22:25:11

I was a neurotic wreck, which caused sleep deprivation above and beyond normal for newborns (I thought he would die in his sleep - no reason for this thought, I just did) and this, I believe, along with several other factors, led to depression.

I thought they would take him off me if I told anyone, but I finally decided that as I had fallen asleep with him in my arms in the bed (NOT IN HIS COT NOT ON HIS BACK NOT FOOT TO FOOOOOTTT ARRRRRGH!!!!) that I should tell the midwife and let them give him to someone more capable. She reassured me slightly, and also called the doctor to come and give me some prozac as I had a history of depression anyway.

FairLadyRantALot Thu 11-Sep-08 22:31:22

I think there is a difference between what you experienced and what PND is....and sadly it seems to get lumped into one diagnosis rather often!
What you experienced was probably a mixture of tiredness/overwhelmedness/worrys that come naturally with parenthood but will be experienced different...and I think some women are more likely to experience it more...i.e. if you are a natural worrier/ had a traumatic Birth/ have a oversensitive Baby/are llonely...etc...
PND should only be used if there is depression and a vchemical imbalance...
think it would be treated better if the difference would be made...because the first will only need support/someone who listens or practically helps out....the latter will need the above but also the drugs!

Grumpalina Thu 11-Sep-08 22:34:09

I think are two completely different things. Two colleagues who had just given birth went sick one with PND the other with PNA. The PND one was obvioulsy depressed, lack energy etc etc. The one with PNA wasn't like that at all she was just very over anxious. the house was like a show home and she wouldn't leave her daughter alone for a second. One sick note was for PNA and the other for PND.

SmugColditz Thu 11-Sep-08 22:35:34

I rubbed neat baby shampoo into my eyes to see if it really was tear free. It wasn;t, and he didn't get shampooed untilb he was nearly 3.

crokky Thu 11-Sep-08 22:45:01

This is probably a separate thing from PND. I had a traumatic pregnancy (both times), had to deliver early (both times), had a difficult baby (1st baby only), traumatic birth (2nd baby only) worry more than most people in general, moved house, DH out of house 16+ hours a day 7 days a week - all this has made me neurotic with worry about my 2yo and 6mo. I am not depressed though but I do worry a lot about really stupid things. I have confessed all this to my DH and my mum and my brothers and am open about it with them. So all the people very close to me know that I am mental. However, no GP/HV would have any chance of guessing and I scored well on my Edinburgh test both times (being honest).

But I would like to add that I think that in susceptable people, breastfeeding hormones wreak havoc with anxiety. 1st baby excl. bf til 6m, then carried on til 12m. pg again v soon after stopping bf. 2nd baby excl. bf til now, weaning in a couple of weeks, but feel too guilty to stop bf. Hoping not to worry so much in a few months from now when stop bf.

Portofino Thu 11-Sep-08 22:47:16

I think you have a really good point. I had some real issues after dd was born. I was coping really well - she was good at sleeping/feeding etc but I felt my anxiety leveles went through the roof. I worried so much about the state of the world and coudn't bear to watch the news any more. I spoke to my HV at the time and she said that I should only worry if it stopped me living my life. To this day i still hate flying and get stressed in the car - but Iput it down to "mummy Stuff".

kaylasmum Fri 12-Sep-08 10:34:11

I agree totally, a few months after my dd was born i started to get really anxious about things, mainly my health and my childrens health, so much so that i convinced myself that i had bowel cancer and that i was going to die, i also worried constantly about cot death. I saw five different gp's at my surgery about the bowel issues and as i have ibs they said that it was playing up due to the fact that i had post-natal depression. Eventually i took there word for it and agreed to take anti-d's. But i genuinely believe that it was the anxiety that caused the depression. I'm still suffering badly with anxiety at the moment and my GP has double my ant-d's. If it was'nt for the anxiety i would'nt be depressed.

MrsMattie Fri 12-Sep-08 10:38:19

I have my own theories about my 'PND'. I don't think it was hormonal at all (you know how lots of the literature says this) and I don't think it was something chemical in my brain that could be treated with drugs. I did try anti-D's under duress and they didn't work for me - I just felt spaced out and numb.

In my own mind, I think back on that whole period as being me trying to adjust to my life and identity being completely turned upside down and back to front. To be honest, ti seems totally normal and understandable to me now that I felt that way! It was a phase (a very stressful, difficult and drawn out one) that almost had to happen for me to be able to adjust and move on with my new life.

MrsMattie Fri 12-Sep-08 10:38:49

Just to add - anxiety was definitely a huge part of my PND.

ChupitosGalore Fri 12-Sep-08 10:49:49

i think what this thread shows is that theres a whole range of challenges and reactions to having babies and the societal pressure to look like its all a breeze gets a lot of us into all sorts of trouble.
the WHOLE PERIOD of time after birth out to be better supported, HCP's ought to be better trained to look out for people having difficulties of any kind and we all need to have slightly lower standards of appearances and not expect ourselves/mothers to be bloody perfect from day one!
there aree lots of grey areas in mental health issues; what leads into what else, how different people might respond to different sorts of help... i just think that as a whole, it seems to me that a great many women, and some men too as i reckon fathers can be susceptible too, are being greatly under-served in this area... seems to me that too many people suffer in silence and just have to 'pull themselves together' when its perfectly clear that such a major life and whole body changing experience is liable to have some fairly fundamental effects - and vastly differing ones from person to person.

Highlander Fri 12-Sep-08 11:18:16

oh yes, super anxious was me! I knew I wasn't depressed, but everything was just sooooooooooooooooo overwhelming.

I remember shouting at DH the day after I came home; I thought the noise from the traffic would damage DS1's hearing!

I wouldn't let anyone hold DS1 (DH could, but only with me sitting close by to supervise blush)

Fast Forward to DS2........... (day after a CS)

me: couldn't keep an eye on DS2 whilst I pop down to the shops?

miwife: er, I don'tthink so.

Me: he'll be fine. Just fed, you won't hear a peep out of him.

midwife: this is your second baby, right?!

WigWamBam Fri 12-Sep-08 11:26:42

In my case PND was just that - depression. But every woman's experience is different, and not everyone has those classic symptoms which the health professionals look for.

Anxiety is seen as pretty much normal in new mothers, and so anxiety above the normal levels isn't always picked up by the health professionals - or is just seen as the woman being a neurotic first-time mother and so is dealt with in a much less sympathetic, patient manner.

The term which a lot of people prefer is "post-natal illness", which covers a multitude of sins. It's still very often seen as being just another term for PND though.

thelittlestbadger Fri 12-Sep-08 11:33:17

Definitely. I had this combined with huge difficulties breast feeding so I was convinced that DD would die (and that I was such a bad mother it would all be my fault) because I couldn't feed her. I couldn't physically sleep and would lie awake next to her for hours listening to her breathing etc so I don't think that helped.

I think it sort of ernt away over the next few weeks and I don't know how it could be treated but it was hell.

Kammy Fri 12-Sep-08 11:53:18

Definately me too! I thought ds might die if I left him in a room on his own. It would take me hours to actually get out of the house.

I also had an anxious health visitor, who kept asking if I was depressed. I work in mental health and have also experienced depression, and did manage to recognise that I was not depressed, just extremely axnious. Ds was born prem, and had many difficulties in his first few weeks which did not help.

It passed, and I was lucky to find a good friend with a new baby who was also anxious and we sort of reassured each other. Talking over my early experiences with a different midwife when ds had his 2 year old check, she very sensibly said..'well why wouldn't anyone be anxious when they first have a baby? It's natural, it's what keeps mothers vigilant and what keeps baby alive..'

If only I'd had that very sensible health visitor at the start. Perhaps that's one thing that would help - women being reassured that a certain ammount of anxiety is normal.

cyteen Fri 12-Sep-08 12:05:23

oh god, this thread couldn't have appeared at a better time for me. DS is 2 weeks old and i can feel my anxiety levels going out of control:

looking at him makes me sad because he's so tiny and perfect and the world is so dangerous and harsh and awful

feeling like i'm a rubbish mum because the silly soothing/babytalk doesn't come naturally to me. DP is brilliant at singing made-up nonsense, soothing etc. whereas i often just go blank

mildly obsessional checking of things like cooker off, back door locked etc. (altho i did do this before, i don't want it to get out of control)

terror re. cot death

getting upset whenever he screams about having his nappy changed

please tell me this is normal! i don't feel like it all the time, and i know we're still getting to know each other so i am still learning to enjoy him, but i'm not loving the anxiety

VinegarTits Fri 12-Sep-08 12:15:23

Cyteen the way you feel is completely normal with a newborn, please try and remember this when you feel the anxiety taking over, if you feel it getting out of control then go to your gp, dont do what i did and ignore, i felt like this for nearly 12 months before i realised what it was and went to see my gp, i thought my world was caving in and i was slowly going mad. I wasnt, i just had PNA that had gotten completely out of control

MrsMattie Fri 12-Sep-08 12:19:59

Sounds very normal@cyteen - I think you just have to keep a check on it. If you feel the anxiety is taking over your life or getting worse and not better - tell your partner/mum/GP/someone.

I remember feeling incredibly anxious every time we got in a car with our newborn DS. I was convinced we were going to crash and die. i also checked his breathing constantly and worried myself sick about cot death. I developed a kind of social phobia, too, and didn't want to see anybody.

For me, the anxiety got so bad that it kind of morphed into a deep depression, where I just couldn't be bothered to get dressed / go out / see people. The battle that all new parents face - of how to actually get up, get organised and get out the door - just got worse and worse, not better. I actually think sleep deprivation played a huge part in all of this, too, as DS wasn't a great sleeper.

Keep an eye on it (but 2 weeks is very early days. I think most people are like headless chickens at this stage!).

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