There’s a lot to say on the subject of mothering that could pan out into a whole series of books but looking through the media stories in the last year I am inclined to talk about depression. As a mother I have stumbled through a horrendous maze of emotions and situations. Just when I thought I had gotten the hang on a situation some black hole would open up and would have me tumbling through it. The lessons I learnt while carrying an unborn child have given me exceptional insight on what any expectant mother may have to go through.
Safe motherhood is not just about the right diet, exercise and rest. Perhaps even more importantly, it is about emotional health. Depression is a very real, lonely and dark side to mothering.
Every expectant mother will experience a spell of depression during pregnancy and sometimes even after delivery. It may last a day or it may run on for many months. It may range from loathing directed at the father of the child to self loathing and sometimes even suicidal thoughts. However all this is easily fixed with the right bedside manner and a little Tender Loving Care from the father. To all expectant fathers out there, this is truly your moment to shine and earn a lot of permanent credits from your partners.
With a little gentleness and sensitivity (fathers please sit up and listen) you will have effectively lifted the mother of your child from a debilitating depression and saved the world from plenty of tragedies that depression could breed.
An abused and depressed expectant mother could turn into breeding ground for a variety of dysfunctional behavior and increases the risk of miscarriages. The resultant horrors range from miscarriages, abortion, abandoned babies, infanticide, suicide and sometimes the mother even rejects the baby after birth.
Every time I see such news in the newspapers and the public’s violent reaction it really breaks my heart that the community passes judgment without considering that the mother may be a victim of a mental illness, some sort of abuse or both!
To the fathers: Let your light shine. A little tender loving care to she who bears and carries that gift of life to you goes a long way.
To us all: Let us be a little more sensitive, more helpful, more loving and less judgmental. The expectant mother is not disabled but she is certainly vulnerable - emotionally if not physically.
To all mothers: Remember there is nothing normal about having raging hormones having a party inside you that lasts as long as 9 months. So give yourself a break when things get tough. With all the hiccups, great and small, the pain, sleepless nights, and discomforts along the mothering learning curve it is probably as horrendous as it is satisfying. I am a very proud mother myself and celebrate my achievements as I strive for more.