"having a glass wall between myself and my baby"
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Bev Gold BA (hons). MA PGCE UKCP MBACP
2nd November, 2012
There has been much in the news recently about post natal depression and the catastrophic consequences that can, occasionally, occur if it is ignored and left unchecked.
Postnatal depression was described by a mum as "having a glass wall between myself and my baby. I couldn't bond no matter how hard I tried and just felt emptied and couldn't talk about it to anyone."
There is so much media hype about the joys of motherhood and mothering, glossy mags of celebrities with newborns, etc., that it makes it very difficult, if not impossible,for new mums to risk expressing difficulties to their partners, friends, relatives, doctors. They feel they shouldn't be struggling with such a joyous event and fear disapproval if they dare mention their mixed feelings to anyone.
Most women suffer a brief period of "baby blues" following a birth and this is not surprising, given the huge changes we have to find a way through: sleepless nights, the outside world disappearing, losing a foothold in the world of work, isolation, constant new demands and maybe old ones, possible partners and other siblings, changes in identity, etc.
It is all very stressful, and often it passes as everyone begins to adjust to the new situation. But sometimes the stresses don't disappear and the mum becomes overwhelmed with feelings she doesn't understand and keeps battling with. That is the time to seek help.
Individual or group therapy with other mums can be hugely helpful. Speaking thoughts and feelings in a confidential space can often be all that is needed to get a struggling mum back on the road to recovery and enjoyment of her baby - and her life.
There is a wealth of clinical evidence to show that intervention from skilled therapists can make a massive difference to the lives of mothers and their babies.
The stigma that surrounds this issue often stops mothers seeking the help and support they might need as a new mum.
It is really important to know that help and support is available and that evidence demonstrates that individual or group intervention is highly successful.
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- Postnatal depression and anxiety is a silent illness
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- Depression: what are the triggers and what helps us heal?
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