NOT JUST THE BLUES...
When motherhood hurts
When you attended your ante-natal classes, you were probably told that the majority of mothers who have just given birth, become weepy, agitated, and generally emotional a few days afterwards - in fact, you probably expected "The Baby Blues". Typically, this distress lasts only a day or two, at the most, a fortnight, and the new mother then recovers her equilibrium, and is steady enough to cope with the enormous adjustments involved in accepting her new baby into her life.
Certainly, in the early months you will be tired, short of sleep, and will feel that your life is chaotic. It is amazing how such a small person can create such a huge impact. You will have very little time for yourself, or for the baby's father, and it may take quite some time to establish a routine. You may wonder whether you will ever have a life of your own again. It is quite normal to be anxious, to feel more dependent, and to feel incompetent. But basically, as the weeks go by, you ought to feel as though you are learning to manage better and better.
But sometimes things don't work out this way. "The Blues" don't go away; or maybe they do in the beginning, but as the weeks and months go by, slowly you get sucked into a downward spiral, feeling more and more unhappy, or anxious and panicky, and less and less competent. Perhaps you feel numb, or unreasonably angry, or that you are "just going through the motions", or that you are "cut off" from everyone. You know that you are meant to be happy because you have just had a baby; but you don't feel happy. You feel terrible. You may even think you are "going mad". And NOBODY TOLD YOU THAT THIS MIGHT HAPPEN.
In fact, at least 10-15% of all mothers feel like you. They are all over the world, in all kinds of economic situations, from every social class and every nation; and this has been happening for thousands of years. Why did nobody warn you, you may ask? Probably because they did not want to spoil the joy of your pregnancy, or to challenge the myth that the birth of a baby always makes a mother happy. Or maybe the women around you were too ashamed of their own similar feelings of depression to share them. Some experts think that there is "a conspiracy of silence" about Postnatal Depression, perpetrated by older women and doctors!
Or maybe they did tell you, and you did not believe that Postnatal Depression could happen to you, which is what happened to me.
Most women are ashamed, unprepared, unable to ask for help, and feel guilty, unnatural and isolated if they are unhappy after the birth of a baby. Often the women who develop PND are perfectionists, competent, high achievers who are accustomed to being in full control of their lives. Now they seem to have lost the sense of who they were.
PND is probably the result of a combination of biological, social and psychological factors, although there are some who regard it as the result of a hormonal imbalance, or other physical factors.
It is more likely that because the birth of a baby changes a woman's life so dramatically, she experiences a crisis as a result of which she has to rediscover who she is, and what it really means to be a mother. This crisis is very stressful, and some people react to too much stress by becoming depressed, or unbearably anxious and afraid.
To some extent, it has been found that if you have a really good support system you may be less vulnerable to PND. It has to be the right kind of support, though - the kind that makes you feel safe. In a way you may be saying to the people around you, "Help me, but do not make me feel more inadequate.. Help me, but do not take over altogether." But even such support may not be enough to prevent PND altogether.
Less PND has been reported in some primitive tribes, where the extended family is intimately involved with the woman, and where she is treated as "special", and important, and it is understood that she is going through a "rite of passage".
PND occurs in adoptive mothers and in new fathers. So it is not "just hormones"!
For the last few years, I have been collecting information about the women I have known who became depressed in the first year after their baby's birth. Some of them had been depressed for several years before I met them. They had children of four years' old. They had suffered in silence, not knowing what was wrong with them... and their families had suffered too.
BABA DOEN GOED HOE
Depressie Ondersteunings Assosiasie
Wie is ons?
NDBA (Nageboortelike Depressie Ondersteunings Assosiasie) PNDSA (The Postnatal
Depression Support Association) is ‘n nie-profeit assosiasie, gevorm deur ‘n
groep vroue wat nageboortelike depressie oorkom het.
is toegewei om ander vroue wat ook moontlik die selfde ervaring beleef, to
ondersteun, en om dit makliker te maak om hulp to kry.
na die Geboorte
vir ‘n nuwe baba te sorg is moeilik, asook onophoudend. Al het jy goed voorberei en uitgesien, sal dit soms nog
steeds moeilik gaan. Jy sal
heelwaarskynlik ‘n groot verskeidenheid gevoelens ervaar, van verjeuging en
opgewondenheid, tot frustrasie, veragting, skuldgevoelens en bekommernis. Dit is alles baie normaal, en u sal ondersteuning en bystand
van mense rondom jou nodig kry.
somtyds word hierdie ongelukkige gevoelens so intens dat jy oorweldig en/of uit
kontrole voel. Sou die gebeur, ly
jy moontlik aan ND.
en met 80% van alle moeders ondergaan dit kortlike na geboorte.
Jy kan moontlik vir ‘n paar dae gespanne, huilerig, moeg, of geïrriteerd
die ander einde van die spektrum,sit die “diepste blues”, wat raar, maar tog
‘n baie ernstige wanorder is; naamlik nageboortelike psigose, wat so een of
twee moeders per duisend ervaar.
moder se denke word ernstig versteun, en sy benodig onmiddelik hospitalisasie en
behandeling, omdat sy ‘n gevaar vir haarself, en die om haar is.
DEPRESSIE EN ANGSTIGHEID
10% en 30% van alle moeders, in alle omstandighede, lei aan hierdie middelvlak
depressie. Anders as ander
wanorders, is ND minder opvallend, en is identifikasie soms moeilik om te
bevestig. Die kan ook stadig
ontwikkel enige tyd gedurende die baba se eerste jaar.
Elke moeder is anders, en kan verskillende simtome wys. ‘n Moeder may miskien meer geïrriteerd of angstig, as
hartseer wees. Moeders is dikwels
bekommered omdat hulle voel hul “mal” word.
Somtyds was die moeder al sedert swangerskap depres, en sal die
“blues” nie net verdwyn nie. Somtyds
lyk dit asof ‘n ma goed oor die weg kom, maar dan verander haar gemoed ewe
is nie ‘n enkele oorsaak nie. Dit
is nie net “hormone” nie, omdat vaders, asook aangenome ouers dit ook kan
ervaar. Dit is one siening dat ‘n
kombinasie van faktore daartoe dring/lei tot ND, soos: om ‘n
Vrou is kwesbaar net nadat sy geboorte gegee het, en die kombinasie van tė
veel stresfaktore gedurende hierdie tyd, kan lei dat sommige vroue ND ontwikkel.
(NDOA) beveel drie dinge aan die oorkoming van ND:
Om met ander moeders te wees wat werklik weet en verstaan hoe jy voel, is baie behulpsaam. Anti-depressie medikasie kan help om die simtome te beheer. Psigoterapie is duur, maar tog hulpsaam om onderliggende asook psigologiese moeilikhede te verwerk.
KLINK DIT BEKEND?
(Vervaardig deur PNDSA (NDOA) vrywilligers Jacqui Bush Design Studio)
SAL HELP AS JY DEPRES VOEL?
These unusual symptoms will generally have been present most of the time, for a period of longer than ten days.
QUICK GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
WHAT TO LOOK FOR...
*Remember these are only Guidelines. If you are worried about the woman, please refer her for a professional assessment.