Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On Postnatal Depression: The Myths

Recently I wrote about the myths surrounding motherhood, and got some very good feedback about it's usefulness, so here is the second post in the "myths" series: about PND.

Unfortunately, it touches about 1 in 10 women, and can be devastating.
There is a lot of advice and help out there, from mostly well-meaning friends, relatives, professionals, para-professionals and just about every Tom, Dick and Harriette. Some of it is very helpful and some... not quite as helpful (to put it nicely). Here are some comments you may hear from the well-meaning-but-wish-she'd-just-shut-up aunty Joy:

- “It is because you had your babies too close”.
- “It is because you had your babies too far apart”.
- “It is because you're not breastfeeding”.
- “It is because you think about things too much”.
- “It is because you didn't really want a child in the first place”.
- “I had four children and handled difficult situations well. Why don't you just snap out of it – you're a mother now”.

- “It is because you are too young”.


- “It is because you are too old”.

"It's because you thought about it too much while you were pregnant".

Society's tendency is to blame the victim. See, if it's something YOU'VE done (not breastfed your baby for example), it means if I do the "right" thing (breastfeed, and don't have my baby when I'm too old) then I'll be fine.
The idea that PND or any other negative experience for that matter, can affect anyone, is not something we like to live with. Unfortunately, the world seems a safer place if we can blame the victim.

But in reality, Postnatal depression does not discriminate. It doesn't care about your age, or how long it's been since you had your last baby. It comes knocking on your door whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. And it sure as hell doesn't care about how much you've thought about it while you were pregnant!

Tell aunty Joy the shrink said so!