It's amazing what the medical staff don't tell expectant new mums before they give birth. I'm not talking about the gory details, which are usually explained in all their glory and if not, they are read on the internet or in books by the pregnant lady. All such stuff is well and good but there are other details which were not mentioned to me and which can affect 75-80% of new mums. This would be the Baby Blues.
I was absolutely gobsmacked and a little annoyed after my first child was born, that several mothers were suddenly coming out of the woodwork and confessing they had also suffered the Baby Blues after their children were born. They were trying to make me feel better about my own feelings of despair and negativity but it made me annoyed that women were not more outspoken to other pregnant women about the likelihood of suffering this after the birth. I had done a post-natal course in order to be fully prepared for the birth and Baby Blues was never broached. I attended several appointments with my Obstetrician and never once was Baby Blues mentioned to me. Neither did any friends warn me about the possibility of suffering it.
It is like any form of mental illness which is a taboo, but I firmly believe that by not speaking about it, it can then have the following consequences:
- The sufferer is not forewarned and is thus not prepared for it. If the person was forewarned, they would know exactly what they were suffering, they would know that it was common and that it would probably pass.
- The sufferer is taught that the condition is something to be ashamed of and thus they, in turn do not speak about it.
- The sufferer, already recovering from the pain and tiredness of childbirth, as well as the ensuing sleepless nights, is left to deal also with feelings of anxiety, depression and tearfulness which is confusing if one is not forewarned and can be overwhelming, along with the other issues mentioned.
On saying this, it was a relief to know that I was not alone and that it would most likely pass after a couple of weeks, which it did. This raises the question however of why mental illness is taboo? I see nothing shameful or embarrassing about it. After all, mental illness is simply an imbalance of chemicals in the brain which then affect mood and sometimes personality. Treating any mental illness as taboo also means that sufferers are less likely to speak about their feelings and often feel alone. This can have deadly consequences, as one can imagine. I fully intend on writing as many articles and stories about my own experiences as possible, in the hope of reaching out to those who will benefit from knowing my story.