Anxiety can be as equally as debilitating as depression but is often not recognised as a true illness, especially by parents themselves. New and expecting parents have often heard of postnatal depression, but are less aware of the risk of anxiety during pregnancy and early parenthood. Parents may delay seeking help, believing that because they are not feeling sad, the experience they are having must just be a normal part of parenthood.
It’s true that a certain amount of stress and worry is part of life, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, have a chat to your doctor or other health professional:
- feelings of fear and worry which begin to ‘take over’ your thinking
- feeling irritable, restless, tense or constantly ‘on edge’
- racing heart/strong pulpatations – sometimes panic attacks
- reoccurring worrying thoughts such as that you are not doing things right and/or that something terrible will happen
- unable to sleep – even when you have the opportunity
- avoiding situations for fear something bad will happen
(Source: Centre of Perinatal Excellence)
Often depression and anxiety go hand in hand, and both conditions need attention and treatment.