Having a baby is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but it can sometimes feel traumatic, depressing and even frightening. Everyone has their own birth experience and stories to tell but very often they will neglect to mention the ‘best kept secret’, that babies are sometimes hard and parenthood – particularly motherhood can be gruelling but at the same time, of course, it is the best thing in the world.
I thought I would share some facts on motherhood and parenting with you:
• Women are more likely to become depressed in the first year after having a baby (and the last trimester in pregnancy) than any other time in their lives.
• 10-15% of mothers develop postnatal depression (PND), and in developing countries and poverty-stricken areas, the figures are much higher.
• Research has shown that 1/3 of Khayelitsha moms suffer from PND.
• Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in developed countries.
• The new father can also get depressed. Dads often feel left out and unwanted when babies come along.
As a new mom, it’s so hard to feel frustrated, disappointed, confused, depressed and anxious when you’re expected to be blissfully happy. The media contributes to this problem by perpetuating a lie about motherhood and babies by publishing only pictures of young, beautiful, skinny, model mothers, and bouncy, smiley, contented babies. There are relatively few pictures in baby and parenting magazines of the graveyard shift, mothers looking and feeling like hell, trying to soothe an unhappy baby, trying to breastfeed a screaming baby who can’t seem to latch, etc. In the context of this fairy tale, idealized image of how motherhood and babies are supposed to be, the reality can feel like a huge let down. It can even feel like a betrayal.
The truth is that real babies can disappoint their parents sometimes …especially sick babies, colicky or reflux prone babies, unplanned babies, high need babies who cry a lot and are irritable and difficult to soothe, babies who don’t feed well, and babies who are abnormal or handicapped in some way. It’s very disappointing when you realize that your baby can’t meet your own unmet needs and he won’t be everything you want him to be.
It is vital to have a support system during parenting, especially in the first few months. The loving support of a spouse is really important! Part of the dad’s role in the beginning is to look after the new mother. Support from friends and family is also protective, as long as it is the kind of support that empowers rather than controls. Often your own mother can be the most powerful factor that either strengthens or undermines your ability to cope as a new mom. Connecting with other people, especially other new moms, is extremely important. New mothers are often socially isolated, and being alone with an unhappy baby is not easy.
If you find yourself struggling as a new parent or if you need emotional support or guidance with your baby, contact one of our Babies in Mind practitioners in your area, either to join one of our workshops, attend one of our talks, or for individual consultations. All our practitioners are mental health professionals with specialized training and expertise.
Babies in Mind, written by Jenny Perkel, is all about staying sane during the wonderful but challenging first year of your baby’s life. It is the guide to help you understand both yourself and your baby from a psychological perspective. Feeding, sleeping and crying usually bring the most stress to parents and their babies. They are the classic sanity wreckers. Read about these and other sanity wreckers like high need babies and postnatal depression.
We are excited to let you know that we have three copies of the Babies In Mind to giveaway! Babies In Mind, written by Jenny Perkel, author of Babies in Mind and Streets of Jewels, she is a clinical psychologist, a mother and a trained nurse / midwife who has published numerous articles about babies, children and parenting for South African magazines.
All you need to do to win a copy of this wonderful book for yourself or a friend is show us some Facebook love! Follow the simple steps on the entry form below:
- The Babies In MInd Giveaway will run from 2nd December 2012, until the 10th December 2012. The winner/s will then be selected via the Rafflecopter form and announced on my blog and on Facebook. The winners will also be notified via email.
- Please leave a comment on this blog, below the post, stating that you have completed the above, along with your details in the comment section below this post (please use a valid email address). Your details will be used to validate your entry if you are selected as a winner.
- Conditions of entry: Anyone may enter this giveaway but please be advised that the various companies sponsoring prizes on Super Mom Blog, are based in South Africa and therefore prizes will only be shipped within South Africa. The prizes may not be exchanged for cash.