Perinatal mental Health
Labouring for over two days ended in the call for a category one (highest level) emergency caesarean. Nothing in my mental preparation had imagined my birthing room being suddenly rushed by medical staff with such a sense of urgency and panic, being sped down a corridor on a trolley to be prepped for surgery and have your baby pulled out within 15 minutes of the call being made.
Let's be selfish mothers. Let's ask for help, let's acknowledge the lions not in fear but in recognition of them so we can tame them. Let's have nail days, massage days, but crucially, let's have proper mental health support, awareness and information given out to every mother even before their babies are born.
Having a mental illness does not make you less or a parent, and it doesn't mean you are wrong. It might mean that you need a little extra support, a little more time, or treatment - but it's an illness. And one for which recovery is possible. Please speak to someone if you feel the same. Please don't hide. You are not alone.
There's been a discussion in the media recently about men who develop depression after the birth of their child. The crux of the debate is whether or not this can be called "postnatal depression".
Luciana Berger is the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree and president of Labour's Campaign for Mental Health. In this vlog for The Huffington Post UK, filmed on International Women's Day, Luciana talks about the importance of caring for women's mental health as they go through pregnancy and childbirth, bereavement care for parents who lose their children, and why we cannot let mums feel like they have nowhere to turn.
What makes it worse is parents, just like me, begin to perpetuate this. We ask the same questions we loathed ourselves, we begin to reinforce the notion that motherhood and enjoyment are bed fellows. Is it because we are too scared to admit the truth?
A film exploring the reality of living with post natal depression and featuring sufferers' stories will be launched by social enterprise PSS in Liverpool this week. The film highlights the problems experienced by people who have struggled with PND, including celebrity Denise Welch, who has spoken publicly about her struggles with the debilitating condition.