What are the signs of postnatal depression?
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Now in cinemas, She Said tells the real-life story of journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who published the bombshell investigation into Harvey Weinstein. What most people didn’t know, however, was that Megan Twohey was struggling with postnatal depression while on maternity leave at the time. “One of the parts of the script that of hit me initially the most was Megan’s experience with postnatal depression,” Mulligan told People in November, 2022.
“I had a very similar experience with my first child seven years ago, and felt very alone, and very scared, and also very confused by the whole experience.”
Mulligan said: “I felt like I was completely on my own when this happened to me.
“And, actually, so many people have experienced this; Megan has experienced it, and so many of my friends have.”
Describing the ordeal as “horrific”, the 37-year-old stated that, at the time, you feel like “the only person who’s ever been through it”.
By shedding light on postnatal depression in She Said, Mulligan feels that it allows “a conversation to start”.
“There’s a way through it,” she assured, adding that, for her, it was the return to work – doing the press for the 2015 movie Suffragette – that “got [her] on the road to finding [herself] again”.
That, and the “incredible support” she had around her, which would have included her husband, Marcus Mumford.
The NHS says “many parents” experience this type of depression “after having a baby”.
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Postnatal depression affects more than one in every 10 mothers within a year of giving birth.
“It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you think you might be depressed,” the NHS advises.
“Your symptoms could last for months or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.”
Postnatal depression differs from the “baby blues”, which is when women feel “a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth”.
The baby blues are “considered normal” and it does not last for more than two weeks.
“If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression,” the NHS clarifies.
Signs of postnatal depression can include:
- A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
- Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- Finding it difficult to look after yourself and your baby
- Withdrawing from contact with other people
- Problems concentrating and making decisions
- Frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby.
“Many women do not realise they have postnatal depression because it can develop gradually,” the NHS added.
Concerned mothers should rest assured that “your baby will not be taken away from you” if you tell your midwife you are suffering from postnatal depression.
“Being depressed does not mean you’re a bad parent,” the NHS adds. “Babies are only taken into care in very exceptional circumstances.”
Treatment for postnatal depression an include talking therapy and antidepressants.
Carey Mulligan starred in Suffragette, which is showcasing on Wednesday, November 30 on film4 at 6.30pm.
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