When to seek professional help

When to seek professional help

Are you overwhelmed by new routines, lifestyle changes, transitioning back to work, or the heartache of not being able to take their baby home?

New parents experiencing a cloudy mind or a strained heart struggle through each day confused, unsure of themselves, and doubting and dismissing their level of need. We might tell ourselves I’m okay… for now. Others need help more than me. I’ll just push through.

Perinatal depression and anxiety are common mental health conditions that can affect pregnant women and new parents. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and they may start during pregnancy or after the baby is born.

Reaching out can feel scary, but you are not alone.

We’re here, uncover your village.

Early Warning Signs – Reach out for support if you have experienced three or more of these:

  • Reduced joy in activities that previously brought enjoyment
  • Difficulty with memory, concentration or decision-making
  • Increased irritability or reactivity to others
  • Frequent feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Frequent feelings of grief, loss, tearfulness
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Repetitive negative thought patterns often including harsh self-criticism
  • Regular anxiety about the need to stick to rigid routines
  • Physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest tightness, headaches, body tension, sweaty hands, tingling, shortness of breath, stomach aches
  • Sleep and appetite changes
  • Feeling numb, hopeless or despairing about the future
  • Feeling separate, remote or withdrawn from family and friends
  • Difficulty getting to sleep and/or difficulty getting back to sleep after baby has resettled
  • Recalls or flashbacks of distressing birth events
  • Recurrent thoughts or images of something bad happening to yourself, baby or those around them
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide, wanting to escape or thinking about going to bed and never waking up

While these feelings can be scary, perinatal mental ill-health can be temporary and is treatable. Getting support early is important.

pmhweek.org.au has Australia’s perinatal, early parenting, bereavement and mental health support organisations ready to support you with information, stories of recovery and survival, support groups and professional counselling and psychiatric support.

Here’s some tips for reaching out for support:

  • For additional support, visit the MumSpace website at https://www.mumspace.org.au/. MumSpace is a website and app that provides support and information to pregnant women, new mothers, and their families. It includes a variety of resources, such as self-assessments, mobile apps, and online treatment programs.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider. Your doctor, midwife, or nurse can be a valuable resource for information and support. They can also connect you with other parents in your community.
  • Reach out to your family and friends. Let your loved ones know how they can support you. They may be able to offer practical help, such as cooking meals or watching your baby, or they can simply provide emotional support.
  • Join a support group. There are many support groups available for expectant and new parents. These groups can provide you with a safe space to connect with other parents who are going through similar experiences.
  • Talk to a mental health professional. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help you to understand your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.

Remember, you are not alone. There are many people who want to help you.