The growing awareness around mental health has been a long time coming. One in seven women suffer from postnatal depression. That’s no small number and there’s also plenty of research suggesting that we don’t necessarily seek out help when we need it. So I’m going to stand up now and say it…if you don’t feel like you, if something isn’t quite right, if you are struggling to pick yourself up – ask for help!! Ask a friend, your partner or your mother. Reach out, because you are not alone, and you can be and will be OKAY.
One of the biggest mistakes I made when my son was a baby was not reaching out. I had a tiny 15 months between my children and I basked in all of the compliments of what a wonderful mother I was and how I was managing so well. But I also used those comments to set myself a standard. I had to make sure I kept looking like I was fine and I was managing, even when I wasn’t, because I had convinced myself that admitting it was hard, was a sign of me failing as a parent. Which of course was absolutely not.
Postnatal depression is complex. It’s causes are a mix of hormones, exhaustion, major life changes, support systems and lifestyle, just to name a few. There is now a growing body of evidence (which I’m about to add to, having completed my thesis), that your eating habits can influence your risk as well as your symptoms of postnatal depression. The great news about this is that your diet is another tool that you can add to your recovery tool kit. What is working for you can change over time, so its about having a bag that you can reach into and choose the right tool for the right moment.