What do you do if you have feelings of harming your baby? Psychiatrist, Dr Jim Bolton says these thoughts are common in mothers with postnatal depression but they are rarely acted upon. However, it's a clear sign you need to seek professional help.
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It's very common that mothers who have postnatal depression have very troubling thoughts about harming their baby, thoughts that can often come into their head even though they are trying to resist them. It's important to recognize that they're common but mothers rarely act on those thoughts. But, if you do find you are having thoughts like that, it's a signal that you need to talk to somebody else about your problem, and not be worried that, that will judge you. Health visitors and other doctors recognize that these thoughts can occur. Another concern of course is that when people feel very low, they have thoughts that sometimes they are a very bad mother. They wish they just didn't wake up tomorrow and not can go as far as wishing that they were better off dead as well. And again, if you are having thoughts like that as a new mother, it's a signal that it's time to seek help. I remember one mum with postnatal depression who said very vividly to me, here I have a new baby and I should be very happy to see this baby but he is completely dependent on me. He needs all my loving and I didn't get that loving. I don't think when I was a child. Of course having a new baby raises, there is all those issues for her about her own childhood, and that would be true for most of us when we become parents. As well mums are going to have to take on new roles, they might have to give up a job or take time after work, and they find that their new job is now being a mother. I am going to work gives us a lot of social support and contact and sometimes being at home some mothers find can be quite isolating. If people say it didn't happen in my day, I guess it was probably there but it was something that people didn't recognize or they didn't talk about. And now health visitors, doctors like myself are being trained to look out for postnatal depression because we recognize some of the severe consequences it can have without treatment. There are two main options for treatment. One are talking therapies like counseling or psycho therapy., and the other is anti-depressing medication. And for mothers who have -- or for most mothers who have postnatal depression, either of those are equally good and both of them together can be helpful.

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