Postnatal depression – would you recognise it? I didn’t. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of how these things manifest themselves in women, until my own pregnancy proved otherwise. What followed was not smiles and love, but a growing emptiness consuming my world from the inside out.
Looking back, I can see how conspicuously absent discussion of such emotions is from our preparation for motherhood. The fact that we don’t know enough about postnatal depression, and rarely acknowledge the mental health implications of starting a family, means it’s hard to spot – in ourselves and in the women we know and love.
But a new study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has found that 81% of women surveyed had experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy – and only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, received they specialist care they needed.
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