Having experienced two pregnancies that were fairly difficult – hyperemisis, dehydration, SPD and severe migraines.
One induction and one birth resulting in a baby with a very low apgar score and severe postpartum heamorrage leading to a surgical removal of retained placenta and blood transfusions.
I feel that I’m in a solid position to really understand mothers that have gone through what can be a truly traumatic experience during the perinatal period.
I hear at least once a week, probably more, that mothers have felt out of control and scared at a time when they should be feeling empowered, glowing and blooming like in the glossy magazines and TV ads.
This article openly discusses the issues surrounding difficult pregnancies and gives some helpful tips to see you through.
After the most life changing, marathon endurance test of their lives, mothers then feel that there is an expectation to fall madly and deeply in love with their newborn. Then they feel they must look a million dollars for the ‘first family picture’, ten mins postpartum
– when really all they want to do is hide away from the world and get to grips with the enormity that is, becoming a mother, and recovering in her own time and manner.
Sadly these unattainable expectations and denial of rights, can result in very real and raw feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, psychosis and post traumatic stress.
It is now estimated that 1 in 3 mothers will experience perinatal depression (PND).
With over 9000 babies born in the Lothians each year you can see that around 3000 mothers will experience PND in some shape or form each year.
I do not yet have any evidence to support my theory, however, having worked with many new families – and hearing their stories and how their pregnancy and birth has directly affected their mental health, I have to make the assumption that there is a strong link between good/bad maternity care and good/bad perinatal mental health.
More support should be made available to parents-to-be, but with the NHS being stretched to its limits, standards slip and expectations aren’t met.
We can see this across the board in the NHS. Midwives are being overworked (and underpaid in my opinion), patients are treated as just a number and turn around is high.
Mothers are discharged from hospital too soon and do not receive the expected amount of postnatal care from their community midwives or Health Visitors.
Too often new mothers are often left to work things out on their own, battle on through attempting to breastfeed and when there is a problem, they have to fight to be taken seriously.
This is often where a Doula, Maternity Nurse or ‘Hired Help’ is sought.
There are many avenues of support available privately and they aren’t all as unattainable as you would expect.
Most perinatal support services offer a sliding scale of fees, which means they should assist almost anyone on any budget.
I would suggest to anyone that is really experiencing difficulty to ask their chosen perinatal care company if they offer any reductions for special circumstances or sliding scale of fees.
If you are worried about how you are feeling please get in touch with your GP, midwife, Health Visitor and contact