At home, no-one hears you scream .....

At home, no-one hears you scream! This is the sub-title of Cara Aiken's book about surviving post-natal depression.

It's her story about all the psychological complications she suffered from after deciding to start a family. It's also the story of Sarah, Veritee, Rosemary, Jane, Jenny, Gail, Julie, Laura and Pippa and it may also be your story.⁠⁠

Postnatal depression is a common problem, affecting more than one in every ten women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners.

Symptoms of postnatal depression will vary and everyone’s experience is different. However, some of the common ones are:

  • depression

  • anxiety

  • panic

  • tension

  • obsessional and intrusive thoughts

  • lack of concentration

  • poor sleeping (not just that which occurs with a newborn feeding so often)

  • lack of desire for sex

  • bonding

  • post-partum psychosis

If you do feel you may be experiencing some of these or anything else that concerns you, then it is important to try and talk to someone such as your GP, health visitor or midwife who will be able to offer some support. It's important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you might be depressed, as your symptoms could last months or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.

With the right support, which can include self-help strategies and therapy, most women make a full recovery. If you’re in Bristol and South Gloucestershire or Devon, check out the services that Bluebell offer. Bluebell is a charity providing innovative services to help families manage their emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth.

Aiken’s book offers practical advice and also includes a chapter on the myth of perfect mothering. There is no such person as the perfect mother and you should ditch that concept right now. Be a good enough mother/father - be good enough for you, for your family. Your good enough is different to someone else's good enough because you're different people.

⁠⁠Don’t compare your life to others, especially on social media. You can't see what is behind someone else's door. Be good enough for you and be supportive of other mums. Most of us are going through, or have been through, similar experiences and none of us fit the media perception of a perfect parent so let's not be hard on each other either.

Just be good enough …..