This is a piece I completed for an article mums on the go wanted for their website 2 years ago.
So you’ve just had your second, maybe even third child and you feel so tearful, as though you’re not coping. You think to yourself, “I’m supposed to know what I’m doing here. I’ve had a child before. What is going on?”
Many women believe that they wouldn’t get post natal depression after their second or subsequent children, even their husbands or partners would be surprised. Though any pregnant or post natal woman is susceptible to postnatal depression after pregnancy and birth.
Yes the likelihood is higher if you may have had depression or post natal depression before but having a child previously and not experiencing post natal depression doesn’t make you immune. Every pregnancy and birth is different even within the same woman as we know.
I have had a number of women come in to see me with depression post natally when they have had their second or third child. Sometimes it is because they are not coping with an increase in children, having to juggle a toddler and a newborn, having to reorganise themselves or change their routine.
Other mothers though find that they did not have the birth experience that they thought they were going to have. They have put expectations upon themselves that they have given birth before so they should know what they are doing or they should be able to deal with the process of birth as they did last time.
Unfortunately each pregnancy and birth is just as different as the child you are giving birth to. Some have an unexpected cesarean even though they have had a natural birth previously, others have a son or daughter when they were expecting or wanting the opposite sex, there are many other expectations that can held and not fulfilled.
It is important as with first pregnancy post natal depression to be easy on yourself. Know that there is help and support to access.
Signs and symptoms you may be experiencing post natal depression after a second or third child are similar to those if you were to experience after your first child although can also include
– getting irritable with your first born child or other children (more than usual)
– not attending to the needs of your other children or the newborn as appropriate
– feeling overwhelmed. This does not abate at any time and is pervasive for at least a 3 week period
What is important is that you are doing the best that you know how. Ask for help and always give yourself some “me” time. There is only so much reserve we have and it has to be replenished. The more you give to you, the more you have to give.
Please contact your local General Practitioner, Maternal and Child Health nurse or PANDA to gain assistance.
A couple of Signs or symptoms that may indicate you are experiencing depression and you are affected by a few. (difficult to measure with a new baby I understand):
* sleep changes
* loss of energy
* difficulty finding enjoyment or pleasure
* appetite change
* early morning waking without being woken by a new baby/child
* irritability and anger
People can also experience psychotic symptoms. If someone you know has any of these or you are concerned for their welfare or their baby please seek help immediately. Numbers can be found on my mental health contact information tab. If you really don’t know what to do go to a GP or accident and emergency department of your local hospital and they can direct you to appropriate services.
Someone will always be there to hold your hand.