Pregnancy, Birth and Parenthood can be a wonderful time, however it’s certainly not without its challenges. Nearly 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers will experience the isolation and distress of anxiety and depression during this time. These conditions are not uncommon, affecting more than 50,000 families in Australia each year, with partners, children, friends and workplaces also feeling the impact. This is a time of great adjustment with half of all parents finding this transition difficult.
It is complex to isolate the symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression, as many of these feelings exist in all new parents. Symptoms can include: feeling tired, numb, tearful, angry and trapped.
You should consider seeking help if:
- These feelings are becoming problematic and are impacting negatively on your ability to function in your usual way
- You can find no joy in life
- These feelings are lasting for two weeks or more
Perinatal anxiety and depression is a combination of biological, psychological and social issues. Parents who are professionals may be particularly at risk due to age, previous independent lifestyles and perfectionist, high achieving personalities.
Support for Parents
There are several organisations that offer excellent resources and counseling services. Please see links provided below. There is one very new resource that I would like to tell you about.
Gidget House is situated in North Sydney. The team includes psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and child and family health nurses who provide customised individual therapy.
A referral letter and a mental health plan from your GP are required for your initial visit to Gidget, which enables Medicare bulk billing. Patients without a GP referral are also welcomed, on a full fee paying basis.
If you have any concerns at all about how you are feeling and your emotional state, please do not hesitate to speak to Dr Morris or one of the midwives. We can often allay anxiety and if necessary provide an ongoing plan.
By Angela Smith
Midwife & Lactation Consultant
Contact numbers and websites
Gidget House: www.gidgetfoundation.com.au
For bookings and further information contact Jane Holmberg, the House Manager on 9460 1550.
PANDA: Postnatal and Antenatal Depression Association, www.panda.org.au Ph: 1300 726 306
Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au Ph: 1300 224 636
St John of God: www.beatbabyblues.com.au