Why must so many women suffer?
It costs £83 to treat postnatal depression.
A report shows only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems get the specialist care they need. We need a more holistic approach
Postnatal depression – would you recognise it? I didn’t. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of how these things manifest themselves in women, until my own pregnancy proved otherwise. What followed was not smiles and love, but a growing emptiness consuming my world from the inside out.
Looking back, I can see how conspicuously absent discussion of such emotions is from our preparation for motherhood. The fact that we don’t know enough about postnatal depression, and rarely acknowledge the mental health implications of starting a family, means it’s hard to spot – in ourselves and in the women we know and love.
But a new study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has found that 81% of women surveyed had experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy – and only 7% of women with pregnancy-related mental health problems, such as postnatal depression, received they specialist care they needed.
Postnatal depression wasn’t mentioned in the runup to the birth, so I took a cross-that-bridge approach. Not that I’d have to, of course – it was something that happened to other women. I’d imagined a palpable motherly sadness, ghoulish and more fitting in verses of Sylvia Plath than in the lives of a real woman. Even when I felt so heavy I might solidify, I didn’t recognise what was happening to me. I didn’t spot it taking root in my own mind, and neither did anyone else.
You wait so long to meet your baby, dreaming of a different flavour of love and how complete and content you will feel. When it doesn’t come you don’t want to admit it. You can’t. You feel like a freak. You feel undeserving of your child. You watch everyone around you lost in button noses, tiny fingers and baby lotion, and wonder why you’re so broken. Anything other than joy is anathema to society’s image of motherhood, so you don’t speak up. You decide to work around it until it goes away. READ MORE
Source: The Guardian