Postpartum Depression Causes

An Honest Insight into Postnatal Depression 

You don’t have to suffer alone.

Postpartum depression is not discussed enough and is way more common than statistics reflect. But what is postpartum depression? It is the terminology used for an episode of depression experienced by parents following the birth of a child. Postnatal depression, although often used in the same context, is in reference to feelings of depression associated with the baby.

Postpartum psychosis should be considered if symptoms present include hallucinations, paranoia, hyperactivity, or if the mother seems delusional. Medical intervention, hospitalisation, and administration of appropriate medication for the safety and well-being of the mother and baby are required in these circumstances. It’s estimated that this affects one in every 1,000 birth mothers.

Postpartum depression is not a reflection of you as a parent and can be navigated with the right information and support. Keep in mind that this isn’t just something that affects mums – even fathers can be affected. Let’s delve into the emotional and physical changes that impact birth mothers following the birth of a child to understand more.

Day 1 to 3 = The Baby Pinks

Elevated hormones during pregnancy drop after birth and may result in tearfulness, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, and sensitivity. The baby pinks can also present on the other end of the spectrum as feeling euphoric, overly thrilled, and having difficulty sleeping due to not wanting to miss any time with the baby.

Day 3 to 90 = The Baby Blues

Tearfulness, anxiety, fear, insomnia, and feeling emotional are experienced at this stage. It affects at least 60% of birth mothers.

Day 90 to the First Two Years = Postpartum/Postnatal Depression

Anxiety, lack of joy, loss of interest in social activities, lack of interest in sex, difficulty in concentrating, changes in appetite, and feelings of disassociation characterise this stage. Please be aware that these are simply guidelines, and individual cases may vary in symptoms and timeframes. There are many factors that can contribute to parents experiencing postpartum depression, although the exact cause is still unknown. Some of them include:

Physical Factors:

  • Previous history of mental health issues
  • A traumatic birth experience
  • History of miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation

Emotional Factors:

  • Worrying
  • Overwhelm
  • Feeling that one’s own expectations of themselves as a parent are not being met

Social Factors:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Less time for family and friends
  • Separation from work colleagues and social activities

My Journey with PPD

During the 18 months that I suffered from PPD when my son was born in 2017, I was extremely teary. I am a pretty emotional person normally, but this was on a different level! In the early days, I assumed the hormones were just wreaking havoc and it would all calm down. The fear of being judged or labelled as ‘not coping’ and my inner voice (which was lying!) telling me I was not being an amazing mum meant that many of those tears were cried behind closed doors.

When finally making the decision to talk to a counsellor over a Zoom call following a heart-to-heart with a friend, I repeatedly used the word ‘disconnected’. I described this sensation as “watching my life unfold in front of me, but not always feeling present”. My body language portrayed my feelings as I kept touching my head. When asked why I was doing this, I said, “Because it feels like my head is going to explode.”

The longer these feelings and thoughts plagued me, the more ‘shame’ I felt. After waiting so long to have our son (we tried for three years and I was 40 when I fell pregnant), here I was, wasting all of this time feeling sorry for myself. This train of thought did not help one bit, of course, but contributed to the spiral of depression instead. I was confused as we had so badly wanted to have our baby and the research I often came across referred to symptoms such as “difficulty emotionally connecting with the baby”. This could not be further from the truth!

If anything, I felt such overwhelming love and connection with my son that it made me question my own abilities and confidence in being the best mother I could be. I now understand that rather than not connecting with my baby, it was in fact some much-needed connection with myself that was required. Like so many other people who have experienced this, I did not fully acknowledge the issues I was facing. It was not a consistent feeling and, therefore, I believed that it was all getting better – until that dark cloud would descend upon me again.

Circumstances played a hand, too. Living overseas saw us begin this new chapter without the proximity of our families and, whilst supported through video calls and messages, it was not the same as the physical connection and ease of simply ‘popping in for a coffee and a chat’. The Zoom call with the counsellor was the catalyst I needed to begin the journey to showing up as the mum I knew I really was.

Postpartum Depression & Causes

Around the same time, a friend of mine who was a life coach was hosting a retreat close to our home, and I decided that it may be beneficial for me to attend. Little did I know that it would change the trajectory of not only my personal life but also my professional life. Having that space, tools, and learning new things would lead me to a pivotal moment whilst sitting by the water with my son a few days later. I remembered to breathe!

It was at that moment I decided to study as a coach and provide much-needed support for other families. A trip to the doctor saw me begin to take antidepressants to ‘springboard’ me to a place of being able to get back on my feet. I hold no judgment over taking medication. However, I strongly believe that the answers do not lie solely within that pill. Creating a toolkit of habits, behaviours, and awareness of your own needs should go hand in hand with a prescription.

The last three years have seen me furthering my education and training in Life Coaching and Post Natal Depression Awareness, creating an online programme called Stepping Into Parenthood. Most importantly, I’ve implemented all I have learned to create a support system for my own mental health, where I no longer need medication and have the ability to navigate the down days.

Normalising Talking About PPD

It is now my mission to share my learnings, raise awareness, normalise talking about the challenges of being a parent, and provide a safe space for anyone who needs it to talk. Giving oxygen to the thoughts and emotions that occur after bringing a child into the world, to me, is one of the best ways to provide self-care. 

It can be difficult to be truly honest with family and friends as their intentions to help with advice and opinions can add to the overwhelming feeling. That’s why having a coach, therapist, or counsellor is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. Yet, it’s unfortunate that this can still carry a stigma or feeling of embarrassment. Look at it this way. 

Postpartum Depression: Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment

When learning to drive, we all have a driving instructor to help us understand the workings of the car and the rules of the road. We then have to pass a test before being allowed to drive. Nothing like this is required to become a parent. When starting a job, there is usually a training period to learn how to do the job and what’s expected of you. Again, nothing like this is required to become a parent.

When playing sports, there is usually a coach to teach you best practices and support you as you learn. At one time in the UK, you were required to have a license if you wanted to own a TV! Of course, nothing like this is required to become a parent. What I am saying is that we need to normalise preparing to become a parent – both physically and mentally. The fundamental contributors to this chapter in your life are:

  • Being aware of your own human needs and how you can meet them.
  • Welcoming evolvement rather than the often discussed need to ‘spring back’, whether it is to pre-baby weight, career, or lifestyle. Of course, these make up your identity and it is important to have goals, but remember to be a little kinder to yourself. Allow some flexibility and reduce inner conflict by embracing this new version of yourself.
  • Personal development will help you to identify any inner work that needs to be addressed as well as strengthen your relationship with yourself – which, of course, will impact your relationships with your loved ones.

I now realise that my obsessive need to clean the house was to meet my driving human need for certainty. I am someone who is routine-orientated, systematic, and does not do so well feeling out of control. Another massive contributor for me was that I was not meeting my own human need for growth. I naturally immersed myself in all things baby, and therefore stopped reading, listening, or watching anything that challenged or elated my own brain. When I began studying, it was like a big switch being turned on! Self-care makes you the best parent you can be for your child.

Nikki Steele Osborne is a life coach. For more information, please follow @thescottishsoulsister on Instagram or Facebook and visit scottishsoulsister.com.


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Empowering Self: Unveiling Three Essential Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt

Empowerment Through Confidence

Self-doubt is a common struggle that many people face. It can hold us back from reaching our full potential and achieving our goals. But what exactly is self-doubt, and how can we overcome it? We will explore the concept of self-doubt and unveil three essential strategies to help you overcome it and empower yourself.

Understanding Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities. It is the inner voice that tells us we are not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough to achieve our goals. It can manifest in different ways, such as fear of failure, imposter syndrome, or constantly seeking validation from others.

Self-doubt can be triggered by past experiences, societal pressures, or our own inner critic. It can hold us back from taking risks, trying new things, or pursuing our passions. However, it is important to remember that self-doubt is a normal part of the human experience and can be overcome with the right strategies.

The Power of Inner Strength

Inner strength is the ability to trust in oneself and one’s abilities. It is the foundation of self-confidence and resilience. When we have inner strength, we are better equipped to face challenges and overcome self-doubt.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Our mindset plays a crucial role in how we perceive ourselves and our abilities. A positive mindset involves having a growth mindset, which means believing that our abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. It also involves reframing negative thoughts into positive ones and focusing on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Cultivating a positive mindset takes practice, but it can greatly impact how we view ourselves and our potential.

The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is often overlooked, but it is essential for building inner strength and maintaining a positive mindset. Self-care involves taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. It can include activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies. When we prioritise self-care, we are better equipped to handle self-doubt and build our inner strength.


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Strategies to Overcome Self-Doubt

Now that we have a better understanding of self-doubt and its impact, let’s explore three essential strategies to help you overcome self-doubt and empower yourself.

Practice Self-Awareness

Building inner strength takes time and effort, but it is a crucial step in overcoming self-doubt. Here are three strategies to help you cultivate inner strength and empower yourself.

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is a crucial first step in overcoming self-doubt because it allows us to identify when self-doubt is present and how it affects us. To practice self-awareness, try journaling or mindfulness exercises. This can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and how they contribute to self-doubt. Once you are aware of your self-doubt triggers, you can work on reframing negative thoughts and building your inner strength.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is important for building confidence and overcoming self-doubt. When we set unrealistic goals, we set ourselves up for failure, which can reinforce self-doubt. Instead, set achievable goals that align with your strengths and values. This will help you build momentum and confidence, which can help you overcome self-doubt in the long run.

Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

The people we surround ourselves with can greatly impact our self-doubt. If you are constantly surrounded by negative influences, it can be challenging to build inner strength and maintain a positive mindset. Instead, surround yourself with positive influences, such as supportive friends and family, mentors, or positive role models. These individuals can provide encouragement and help you stay motivated on your journey to overcoming self-doubt.

Self-doubt is a common feeling that can hold us back from reaching our full potential. However, with the right strategies, we can overcome self-doubt and empower ourselves to achieve our goals. By cultivating inner strength, maintaining a positive mindset, and practising, we can build the confidence and resilience needed to overcome self-doubt. Remember, self-doubt is a normal part of the human experience, and with determination and perseverance, we can overcome it and reach our full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

How quickly can I expect to see results when applying these strategies to overcome self-doubt?

Results in overcoming self-doubt vary, but with consistent application of strategies, individuals often experience positive shifts in mindset and confidence within a few weeks. Patience and commitment are key to cultivating lasting self-empowerment.

Can these strategies be applied to different aspects of life, such as work or personal relationships?

The self-empowerment strategies provided are versatile and can be seamlessly applied to various life aspects, fostering confidence, resilience, and positive transformations in both professional and personal realms.

Are there additional resources or practices that complement these essential strategies for a more comprehensive self-empowerment journey?

Supplement your self-empowerment journey with additional resources like self-help books, workshops, and mindfulness practices. Incorporating holistic approaches enhances the effectiveness of the essential strategies, providing a well-rounded path to sustained self-empowerment.


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