Beating Baby Blues
Had a baby and feeling blue? The good news is that a new national helpline has been set
up to assist.
Who gets baby blues?
Recent surveys indicate that more than 50% of newly delivered mothers experience
baby blues. This can simply involve feeling emotional, weepy, irritable and easily upset a few days
after delivery. These are relatively mild and short-lived. For some women however, the symptons may
be worse and may mean the start of post natal illness (PNI). Such symptons may start some months
after birth and may not be easily recognisable , particularly as this may be at a time when the mum
is feeling extremely tired from interrupted sleep and breast feeding.
What are the symptons of PNI?
The usual symptons are confusion, poor memory, poor appetite, feelings of
sadness and inadequacy, guilt, anxiety, tension, panic attacks, exhaustion, insomnia, obsessional
thoughts, depression and extreme mood swings.
What can be done?
The first thing is to recognise and accept that there is a problem and seek
medical help. Your doctor may prescribe some mild anti-depressants and perhaps put you in touch
with a local counsellor. Social Services may also be able to provide some community
There is also a new charity, funded by lottery money called The
Meet-a-Mum-Association (MAMA). They have a national helpline which supports mothers suffering from
post natal illness. The help line offers a listening ear to mothers with baby blues and PNI. Just
talking to a trained volunteer can in may cases be a real help and easier than talking to family or
friends about the problem. Their number is 020 768 0133 and the lines are manned weekday
evenings between 7pm and 10pm. More information can also be obtained by sending an sae to MAMA, 26
Avenue Road, South Norwood, LONDON, SE25 4DX.