I am interested in using my professional qualification and experience, and my experience of becoming a mother, to address what I see as a gap in ante and post natal provision. The emotional and psychological aspects to parenthood. There seems to be a lot about labour but not much about what it's like once the baby is actually here! Beyond the practical aspects such as nappy changing and feeding.
In my experience, I was reluctant to disclose my struggles to a health visitor for fear of an over reaction or any negative consequences. Although this may not reflect reality, I think the spectre of social services involvement (or just having a not particularly sympathetic hv) may similarly dissuade lots of new mothers from accessing vital support, and particularly missing out on the normalising of common difficulties. Therefore I was thinking prevention might be a different way to approach things.
I'm considering approaching either the NCT or NHS, probably via antenatal classes for now, and maybe delivering a joint session on this.
I am interested whether people think this is a gap, if it would be/have been useful for them, and suggestions for what you'd have found useful to know about (or not useful).
Also, do people think this sort of support would be helpful post natally? And would you feel comfortable about requesting/accessing it?
Also think this kind of service would be helpful. I had pnd but didn't tell anyone as I thought they would take my baby away. Ridiculous really but that's pnd for you. Actually I fully believe my pnd was down to severe sleep deprivation and having a high needs baby. When I did seek advice from health visitors and gp's I was told some babies 'just cry a lot' and 'aren't good sleepers'. Actually he had severe silent reflux and ended up being on medication for 18 months (only after I insisted on a referral). I was offered no advice/support for myself.
I would think it would be helpful - I'm an older mother at 39 having DD1 (now 40). I benefited from being older because I have the courage of my convictions and I'm not afraid to stand up to HVs if I'm going against current advice - and I am doing just that, on a number of things. I have found that because I am so sure of myself they do not make an issue out of it.
OTOH, a good friend of mine is younger and far less sure of herself. She has been deeply affected by the censure of the HVs and was constantly worried about her DD for many weeks, because of the way the HV was criticising her (or so she felt). It made me really angry to think that they had treated her like this - almost like sensing and exploiting weakness - when in actual fact her DD was very happy, healthy and very well looked after.
Mind you - a bit of training for HVs on how to handle people might go a long way to solving these problems...
Hi Misty! I think it's great that you want to do this and there is most definitely a gap (or a massive great hole, more accurately) in ante-natal and post-natal care.
With my first child I had a traumatic birth and breastfeeding failed (milk never appeared) maybe as a result of said traumatic birth. Had much guilt heaped on me by the midwives for that. Also bonding took a long time. With DC2 I had a nice birth but dreadful tear. Bonding was instant but developed severe PND by six weeks. I think what would have helped me would just have been some awareness that all these things can happen to you!
When you're pregnant you really feel everything is going to be so super and easy and love-filled! I think if women and their partners were told about things that may go wrong or not be optimal after birth at the ante-natal stage, a lot of suffering could be averted. For example, if the symptoms of PND were more widely known, so that the husbands could spot it, even if the woman herself does not for whatever reason and crucially what happens when you approach the GP. A lot of people are scared of taking anti-depressants, scared that they'll become known to SS and children might be taken away so that I'm sure people soldier on when they desperately need help.
I hope someone takes you up on this, it would be very, very useful to new mums. Please include the partners in the classes if you possibly can. I tried to give my DH books to read about the birth etc, but he wouldn't read them! Sadly there are a lot of men like that who think well, it's the woman giving birth, why do they need to know anything. Then it all comes as a big shock! Wishing you all the best with it xx
I think it would be great. I personally think the emotional side of becoming a mom is the hardest. The overwhelming feeling, feeling inadequate, upset how your life and body have changed, the guilty feelings when you think you are not being the 'perfect' mom ...... I struggled with these but I did a hypnobirth course when I was pregnant and the tools from that helped. I also have a great HV team but I know many people who have neither.