The Causes Of Postnatal Depression

In this video, I am going to talk to you about the causes of postnatal depression, because if you can understand why something is happening it puts you in a much stronger position to do something about it Okay, so, postnatal depression is a type of depression that affects between 11 and 20 per cent of new mums—new dads can experience it too, but it's a little bit less common

If you are wondering whether or not you are struggling with postnatal depression, you can check out my IGTV video—I've put the link to my Instagram account in the description Okay, so, there's no single cause for postnatal depression, but there's a number of different risk factors, so I'm going to run through those with you First of all, biology Okay, so, the biological origins of postnatal depression are relatively unclear despite a significant amount of research being done in this area So, theories include postpartum dysregulation of the thyroid, sudden hormone changes, problems in the way that the body regulates stress—but the findings here are all pretty contradictory

Okay, the second risk factor for postnatal depression is having a previous mental health problem So, when you have a baby, it leads to a significant change in loads of different areas of your life—from your roles and responsibilities, to your daily routines, your social networks, your relationships with your partner, your relationship with your own parents These things are transformed in a way that you will never have experienced before, and this can be very destabilising And any previous unresolved issues may resurface, so things like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or previous issues in your relationships with friends, families, and parents And all of these things make you vulnerable to postnatal depression

Okay, another risk factor is having low self-esteem Having a baby is a massive challenge, and an ongoing challenge—being a parent is an ongoing challenge—and one that we have to constantly be negotiating When you have low self-esteem you have a tendency to underestimate yourself, to criticise yourself, and to compare yourself negatively with others, and all of these things make you vulnerable to developing postnatal depression Another risk factor is over-involvement in work So, any imbalance in your life can make you vulnerable to mental health problems, but an over-investment in work is a really good example here

It can be a problem at any stage in your life, particularly if you're a bit of a perfectionist at work, and you're maybe using this as a way of coping with low self-esteem If you have a baby, and you used work as a way of coping with your self-esteem, you're going to find the transition, from being a working woman to being at home with a baby, quite difficult, because all of a sudden, you've lost that one key way—or one of your key ways—of supporting your self-esteem, and this is going to make you vulnerable to postnatal depression Okay, poor body image is another risk factor for postnatal depression Having a baby—all the physical changes that that involves will be challenging for the most secure and body confident amongst us, but if your self-esteem is very much tied to your body and your weight, you are going to find this much more challenging, and this will make you vulnerable to developing postnatal depression Finally, your expectations of motherhood are quite important here

Your expectations can very much make you vulnerable to postnatal depression—this is kind of what you hope having a baby will bring for you, and it's human nature to hope that it will bring a positive change; that it will maybe give you a sense of purpose, improve your self-worth, strengthen your relationships But in reality, having a baby challenges all of these things, and if you're not expecting that, it can lead you to feel like you're doing something wrong, or maybe even that there's something wrong with you Okay, so, if you can identify the cause of your postnatal depression, this will put you in a much stronger position to do something about it—to get the right help, and the right treatment Okay, I hope that this was helpful Thank you for watching, and I'll see you soon

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