Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week

Posted in: Fathers, Infants, Parenting, Postpartum, Pregnancy, Self-care

by Kirstin Bouse

13th – 19th November 2016

‘You can’t get help if you don’t know something’s wrong. Know the signs and get help early.’


Up to 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience depression during the period of pregnancy. One in 7 mums and up to 1 in 10 dads experience depression during the 2 years following the birth of their baby. Anxiety during pregnancy and following birth, is also considered to be just as prevalent.

Having a baby is one of the biggest life events someone can experience. Most new parents will use words like ‘amazing’ and ‘overwhelming’ just as often as they’d use ‘exhausting’ and ‘overwhelming’ to describe it. There is SO much at stake when you have a baby. It’s something you really want to ‘get right’ and because of that, most new parents feel enormous pressure to know what they are doing.

Unfortunately, as we all know, babies don’t come with a manual and even if they did, every baby is unique. Like the process of getting to know anyone really well, getting to know your baby takes time. But when they’re crying and you can’t work out why or what to do, it’s really challenging. Sometimes you will feel confused, inadequate, frustrated, angry and/or anxious.

In many ways, it isn’t any wonder then that some mums and dads will experience depression and anxiety. But despite this, many new parents experience so much guilt and shame that it stops them from seeking professional support.

It is important to know that the quicker you get professional support, the faster your recovery. Not only that, getting help sooner lessens the impact on you and your relationship with your baby and partner.

There are many signs and symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety; many of which are ‘typical’ of depression and anxiety at any time of life. Some of these include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Persistent generalised worry, being ‘on edge’ or panicky
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Feeling constantly sad, low or crying for no reason
  • Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
  • Having little or no interest in all the normal things that bring joy (i.e time with friends and family)
  • Sleeping too much or not well at all
  • Losing interest in sex and intimacy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Being irritable
  • Finding it difficult to focus, concentrate or remember
  • Engaging in more risk-taking behaviour (i.e. alcohol or drug use)
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide

It’s really important to distinguish depression and anxiety from ‘the baby blues’. The symptoms of the baby blues include teariness, anxiety or irritability and typically resolves within a few days.

Treatment is available for mums and dads who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. At the Centre for Perinatal Psychology, we are experienced at treating depression and anxiety during this unique life phase.   


During Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week Kirstin Bouse will be offering a wide range of community seminars and workshops.

Monday 14th November – Parenting by Heart with Special Guest Pinky McKay

Kirstin Bouse, Clinical Psychologist and author of The Conscious Mother is presenting alongside best-selling author Pinky McKay and Lactation Consultant  and GP/Obstetrician Dr Leon Levitt.

Monday 14th November – Supporting Clinician’s Management Choices

An evening of seminars for health practitioners working with families during the perinatal period.

Monday 14th – Friday 18th November – Various Workshops 

From pampering sessions, mindfulness workshops, life-drawing classes and baby wearing fittings, there is something for every mother to enjoy!

Sunday 20th – Big Pram Walk with Special Guest Constance Hall 

The Big Pram Walk is about Mums supporting Mums and creating a community of care and support for parents struggling to cope with the challenges of early parenthood. Funds raised will go to beyondblue and the Australian Red Cross Family Support Program


About the Author

Kirstin Bouse is a clinical and forensic psychologist with considerable years of experience and special interest in all facets of parenthood. She maintains a private practice in Bedford and Wembley, Perth.  Kirstin is the author of the book The Conscious Mother: A Simple Guide to Mothering with Self-Awareness, Authenticity, Confidence and Connectedness.

Contact us Today

Find a psychologist near you that can help you with perinatal depression and/or anxiety. You can search by Location and many of our psychologists accept online bookings.

Call us on 1300 852 660 or contact us to make an appointment or enquiry.