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Black Milk is the affecting and beautifully written memoir on motherhood and writing by Turkey’s bestselling female writer Elif Shafak, author of Honour, The Gaze and The Bastard of Istanbul which was long-listed for the Orange prize.
Postpartum depression affects millions of new mothers every year, and- like most of its victims- Elif Shafak never expected to be one of them. But after the birth of her first child in 2006, the internationally bestselling Turkish author remembers how “for the first time my adult life . . . words wouldn’t speak to me”. As her despair finally eased, Shafak sought to resuscitate her writing life by chronicling her own experiences. In her intimate memoir, she reveals how she struggled to overcome her depression and how literature provided the salvation she so desperately needed.
‘An intimate, affecting memoir . . . Her passion for literature is contagious, and her struggle with postpartum depression and writer’s block reinforces how carefully all of us must tread. Beautifully rendered, Shafak’s Black Milk is an epic poem to women everywhere’ - Colleen Mondor
Elif Shafak is the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and is the most widely read female novelist in Turkey. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She is a contributor for The Telegraph, Guardian and the New York Times and her TED talk on the politics of fiction has received 500 000 viewers since July 2010. She is married with two children and divides her time between Istanbul and London.
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Written with profound empathy by a reseach psychologist who not only specialises in PND but has herself suffered from it, this book tells it like it is.
Postnatal distress is becoming more prevalent and it is estimated that one in three women may suffer from it. It knows no boundaries and affects women of all ages, religions, ethnic, social and economic backgrounds. But although devastating and debilitating, PND can be overcome.
Empowering her readers with pertinent information and wise counsel drawn from her own extensive research as well as the case files of the many women who she has counselled, Linda Lewis takes them through the terrible journey that was hers, and leaves them with a powerful message: You will recover. Learn how to:
* Bring back the joy and happiness you thought that you had lost forever
* Recognise the symptoms and gain and understanding on what is happening to you
* Beat the shame and misunderstanding
* Avoid long term difficulties
* Explain your feelings to your loved ones so that they can give you the support you need to overcome your condition
Filled with positive suggestions based on personal experience, this book is an indespensible tool for recovery.
The journey to motherhood is sometimes clouded with unrealistic expectations and society’s unfair judgement of any woman who isn’t immediately blissfully happy with her new baby. Giving birth is a major life adjustment and rite of passage for all mothers. This book is for anyone who is struggling or has struggled on that journey, who may be grappling with confusion, anxiety, fear or anger. It offers hope, support and comfort and a clear path out of what may feel like a bewildering or overwhelming situation. Postnatal depression affects around 30 per cent of mothers, but partners, children, extended family, friends and colleagues all feel its ripple effect, and many mothers do not know, or do not wish to acknowledge, that this misunderstood illness can be treated just like any other. Written by a medical doctor, a clinical psychologist and their patient, a writer, each author contributes her own personal experience and expertise in the area of postnatal depression to an open and enlightening discussion of just what this illness is, how to recognise it and ways to achieve recovery of body, mind and spirit. They call on health care professionals and society at large to respond timeously, knowledgeably and with empathy to what is, for many mothers, a medical emergency. Women from different walks of life agreed to share with the authors, and now with the reader, their tough yet transformational experiences of postnatal depression, offering hope and encouragement and revealing the power of healing through openness and the telling of their stories.
Other Useful Books
Atkinson, Dr Holly: Women & Fatigue (Papermac, London, 1988). Deals with Depression in relation to Fatigue. Practical.
Ball, Jean A: Reactions to Motherhood. The role of postnatal care. (Books for Midwives Press, Cheshire UK. 1994) Research by a midwife on the effects that psychological and social factors, and care given by midwives, might have on the emotional state of the new mother. Interesting, especially for midwives, childbirth educators and obstetricians.
Barnett, Dr Bryanne: Coping with Postnatal Depression. (Lothian Books, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 1991) An excellent, understandable explanation.
Baumel, Syd: Dealing with Depression Naturally. (Keats Publishing, Connecticut, USA. 1995) Offers “natural ways” to treat depression – vitamins, homeopathy, exercise, visualization, etc. May have some appeal.
Bloomfield, Dr Harold H. & McWilliams, Peter: How to Heal Depression. (Thorsons, London. 1995) Simple-to-follow explanation of depression, and suggestions of how to find healing.
Blackie, Penny: Becoming a Mother After Thirty. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, UK. 1986) Practical suggestions from actual experience. Helpful.
Blumfield Wendy: Life after Birth. (Element Books, Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK. 1992.) Focus on reality of pregnancy, birth and what happens later, including a section on PND. Good.
Breen, Dana: Talking with Mothers. (Free Association Books, London.1989. The reader joins a mother and shares her experience of pregnancy, birth and afterwards – her fears, fantasies and reflections at this time of change. Recommended.
Buist, Anne: Psychiatric Disorders associated with Childbirth – A Guide to Management. (McGraw-Hill, Australia, 1996) Excellent, serious, academic.
Burns, David D. M.D.: Feeling Good. (Signet Books, New York, 1981) A practical, cognitive approach – self-help treatment for depression.
Burns, David D. M.D.: The Feeling Good Handbook. (Plume Books, Penguin Books, Middlesex, England. 1990) See above. Exercises.
Comport, Maggie: Towards Happy Motherhood. (Corgi Books, London. 1987) A self-help book, offering sound and sympathetic advice on managing PND.
Copeland, Mary Ellen: Living Without Depression & Manic Depression. New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, California. 1995) Work Book for maintaining mood stability. Practical.
Cox, John & Holden, Jeni: Perinatal Psychiatry. Use and Misuse of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. (Gaskell, Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, 1994) Research-based, academic, and excellent.
Cox, John L.: A Guide for Health Professionals. Postnatal Depression. (Churchill Livingstone, Longman, Edinburgh, 1986) Classic.
Coyne, James C. (Ed.): Essential Papers on Depression. (New York University Press, 1985). Exactly what it claims to be.
Cozad, Sheryl & Craig: Mam’s Voyage. (Willow Pond Arts, Norman OK, USA, 1999). Beautifully illustrated graphic representation of PND. Art.
Dalton, Katharina: Depression after Childbirth. (Oxford University Press, 1985) Classic. Exponent of hormonal treatment for PND.
Dalton, Katharina with Holton, Wendy M.: Depression after Childbirth. (Oxford Paperbacks, 1996) See above revised 3rd edition.
DePaulo, J. Raymond, MD & Ablow, Keith Russell, MD: How to Cope with Depression. (Fawcett Crest, New York. 1989). Guide to general Depression.
Dominian, Jack. Depression. What is it? How do we cope? (Fontana, Glasgow, UK. 1990) Readable, general overview of depression at different stages in the life cycle.
Dix, Carol: The New Mother Syndrome. (Unwin Paperbacks, London. 1987) Easily read, compassionate and recommended.
Dunnewold Ann L: Evaluation and Treament of Postpartum Emotional Disorders. (Professional Resource Press, Sarasota, Florida. 1997) Academic. Excellent for practitioners.
Dunnewold, Ann & Sanford, Diane G.: Postpartum Survival Guide. ” It wasn’t supposed to be like this