How do I know if my loved one has perinatal depression or anxiety?

The path to parenting can cause many different emotional responses and for many, the journey is exhausting. You may find it difficult to know if these are normal experiences or part of a more significant problem, such as postnatal depression or anxiety. What’s important to remember is the greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. Getting the right support throughout your journey does make a difference.

Our comprehensive assessment and four week program is developed to provide guidance and support after baby loss. Here’s a quick checklist for starters.

Baby loss affects mental health in the short term with increased risk of anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress

Some of the common signs of depression can include:

  • a loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities
  • feeling:
    • numb, or in a low mood
    • inadequate, like a failure
    • sad, empty, hopeless, worthless
    • unmotivated
    • unable to cope with daily routine
  • having difficulty sleeping, or excessive sleeping
  • loss of appetite, or over eating
  • excessive crying
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Some of the common signs of anxiety disorders can include:

  • anxiety, fear or worry that is difficult to control
  • excessive worry about your baby’s health, or the birth
  • feeling irritable, tense, restless, on edge
  • experiencing difficulty relaxing and falling asleep at night
  • muscle tension
  • chest tightness, heart palpitations or shortness of breath
  • fear or worry that stops you going out
  • excessive checking on baby.

In many cases, a mixture of depressive and anxiety symptoms can be experienced.

After losing a baby the body grieves. Care for your grieving body by supporting all three aspects for healing: mental, emotional, and physical.

Be kind to yourself. Honor your body’s grieving cycle and emotions. Having a realistic understanding of how your body grieves, adopting intuitive self care methods and supporting and nurturing your body; reduces anxiety, improves sleep, and helps get your body back on track after baby loss.

About the author: Narelle Stegehuis specialises in holistic perinatal care. Narelle primarily works with those struggling with pregnancy and infant loss, pregnancy after loss, perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety and postpartum body image concerns. She offers short-term and long-term holistic support and consultation services.