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How Can I Help Myself?

Many women who have experienced these difficulties have been helped to find ways to cope and work compassionately with their disappointments and unpleasant feelings using techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or from compassion focused therapy (CFT).

It helps to know that experiencing difficult and unwanted feelings is not unusual around the time of pregnancy and having a new baby. It also invariably helps to understand why we have these kinds of feelings, to discover why we feel differently to what we think other people might feel, and where these feelings come from.

Exploring the evolution of the human brain shows how these feelings can easily arise in us through no fault of our own. By reducing the way we shame and blame ourselves, we can start to think about what would be helpful, particularly the value of being supportive and friendly to ourselves.

If you have a specific diagnosis, such as depression, support for that is best carried out face-to-face with someone trained in diagnosis, such as your GP. Diagnosis can be helpful because it helps people recognise that there might be something happening to them that they can seek help for. Most GPs and health visitors will be familiar with the changes of mood and emotions associated with childbirth and whether or not extra help is necessary. The most important thing if you think you might be suffering from something like depression or anxiety, is to reach out to others, and to go and talk to your GP or Health Visitor about your feelings without shame.