Considering that preliminary research has shown more than 50% of women suffer from postnatal depletion it is surprising how few mothers, or those who support mothers, know about it.
Arising from the work of Dr Oscar Serralach in his book “The Postnatal Depletion Cure” published in 2018, the term ‘postnatal depletion’ is relatively new.
Depletion, although likely a contributing cause of postnatal depression, is distinctly different from it.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF POSTNATAL DEPLETION
- Symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, hair loss, anxiety, feelings of frustration and hypervigilance
- Causes are varied but mainly involve the intense pressures on the body during pregnancy, childbirth and potentially breastfeeding.
- It can be exacerbated by western cultural norms that place high expectations on new mothers whilst also lacking rituals of support and care for new mothers in the postpartum period.
- Not isolated to the newborn phase, depletion can continue well into and beyond 10 years after giving birth.
HOW IT IS DIFFERENT TO POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Postnatal depression is distinctly more likely to involve intense anxiety and sadness. It is a severe mental illness and may involve thoughts of self-harm or bringing harm to babies or children. If this is causing feelings of concern for you or someone you know right now as you read this, please seek medical and professional help immediately. In Australia call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT
In the work that I do with mothers – members of the Soul Mama Academy – I know just how prevalent these concerns are for women, often without a working understanding of how simple it can be to get help and feel better.
Commonly due to increasing maternal ages the symptoms of perimenopause can also come into play and complicate things further which can make it even more overwhelming and leave women even more prone to adverse symptoms.
To help those who would like to understand the potential effects of postnatal depletion and learn what to do about it to reduce symptoms and begin feeling like yourself again I’ve created a free guide.