Tim Potter and Louise Harris from Harley Street Counselling and Training (who have a clinic in Tunbridge Wells too) share their experiences on working with women who have postnatal depression.
Apparently one in ten Mums are affected by this within a year of giving birth, and I feel it’s a topic that still isn’t talked about enough. This is a really useful read for recognising and understanding the signs of postnatal depression, whether it is you, a loved one or friend who is experiencing these feelings…
Harley Street Counselling and Training is a private practice for psychotherapy and counselling. We have both male and female practitioners who can work with various issues including postnatal depression locally in Tunbridge Wells and in Harley Street, London.
In my early days as a practicing counsellor and psychotherapist I never intended to work with clients who suffer with postnatal depression. In fact, it never occurred to me that I would because, being a man, my assumption was that women would prefer to see a female. And perhaps that is still the case by and large, and I completely understand why that would be.
I started to see clients for postnatal depression at a mother and baby unit in Sevenoaks and then in private practice. I noticed that I received regular self-referrals from women who have, within a year, given birth.
Sufferers of postnatal depression may experience low mood, worthlessness, meaninglessness, lethargy, mood swings and a lack of confidence and self-esteem. These symptoms may be present for women, men and partners and may gradually creep up on you rather than feel immediately obvious.
NHS Choices describes postnatal depression symptoms as:
- A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
- Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from contact with other people
- Problems concentrating and making decisions
- Frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby
Speaking from my own experience in the counselling room, I notice that several themes seem to stand out for clients who come to therapy for postnatal depression.
*Unresolved family and friendship issues. Tensions, resentments, or past disagreements that go unresolved (prior to a child being born) tends to come back and affect the person overwhelmingly.
*Unresolved grief. Of an important loved one in the recent or distant past.
*Adjusting: To the unforeseen changes that occur in life when a new baby arrives.
*Over compensating: Feeling the need to ‘make it up’ to people on your return to work after having time on maternity leave and putting your needs last.
*Competition: A real or perceived experience of competitive parents within the latest baby and toddler group. This often impacts self-worth and self-esteem.
*Heightened awareness of anxiety and going deeper into over thinking and worry.
*The feeling of loneliness.
Our Postnatal Depression therapist, Louise Harris, also shares her working experience:
The transition into becoming a mum can be a wondrous experience, but it can also be such a gruelling, hard, and emotionally burdening time. The hormonal glow and loving bond forming between a mother and child isn’t always the reality.
How many times have you read the words ‘happily ever after’? If the transition to becoming a mum were a book, the author certainly left out the last few chapters!
Postnatal depression is something that new mum’s often feel they mustn’t talk about. As a counsellor, I’ve heard the guilt, shame and worry over feeling such invasive, negative thoughts.
I have felt amazingly close to the women who talk about their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Common thoughts are; my family would be better off without me. My baby doesn’t need me as their mum. As well as the fear over harming their baby, or wanting to run away.
What I’ve found in my role as a therapist and from personal experience is the overriding worry a sufferer may have over their baby being taken away from them. Therefore, feelings and thoughts are repressed and hardly ever shared.
A sentence new mum’s can often hear from others if they don’t seem to be gloriously content is: “What have you got to be so unhappy about?” This can only reaffirm their guilt and shame for feeling such low thoughts.
According to the NHS, postnatal depression affects 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth. No sufferer is alone.
I feel that talking about these feelings and thoughts in a non-judgmental environment, rather than suppressing them, is a step forward to working through the depression.
At Harley Street Counselling and Training we can support those through this difficult and worrying time.
We believe at Harley Street Counselling and Training that everyone has their own thoughts, feelings and inner voice. We offer a warm, confidential and a non-judgmental environment.
We are offering an exclusive counselling & psychotherapy discount for those who contact us and state ‘My Tunbridge Wells’ between now and October 2017. You will be eligible for a 10% discount.
We provide Psychotherapy, Counselling, CBT and Logotherapy at SPA House on Grosvenor Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1. We also have practices in the world renowned area of Harley Street, West End, Central London W1 & Rochester, Kent ME1.
By L.Harris & T Potter 2016