Having a new baby in the house is one of the most magical experiences. The whole family unite around the new arrival as they run around preparing bottles, changing nappies and having cuddles. Of course, in the royal household, some of those duties will be taken care of by paid professionals but the effect of having a new-born in the house should still be the same. Unfortunately for Princess Diana, the arrival of Prince William led to depression at a time when postpartum depression wasn't talked about in public and as part of a family that doesn't express its emotions as readily as the rest of us do.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression, or postnatal depression as it's otherwise known, is a common problem that affects one in every ten mothers. It can also affect partners and fathers. For the first two weeks after the baby's birth, most women feel down and anxious. This period is sometimes referred to as the "baby blues". This can manifest as a lack of sleeping, trouble bonding with the child, trouble making decisions or even terrifying thought that won't go away. If the baby blues continue after two weeks, postpartum depression has developed.
Princess Diana was always a fighter. In her own way, she stood up for herself and her children in very difficult circumstances but when she had postpartum depression she suffered in silence because of the period in which her child was born and because discussing such things was considered off-limits in the royal household as she explained to journalist Andrew Morton for his book, Diana: Her True Story.
The media pressure around her pregnancy was unprecedented at the time but things got worst after Prince William was born on June 21, 1982. The princess "came home and then postpartum depression hit me hard and it wasn't so much the baby that had produced it, it was the baby that triggered everything else that was going on in my mind." She was trying to be a wife, mother and the "people's princess" at the same time so postpartum depression added to an already high workload.
The loneliness of this condition is best described by the princess when she describes that Prince Charles "…didn't see the panic because I would sit there quietly". And when she said that "If he (Prince Charles) didn't come home when he said he was coming home, I thought something dreadful had happened to him," you can understand the mindset that develops as a result of the condition.
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