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writing advice book for mums with postnatal depression - need your help

(1 Post)
piercey Mon 09-Sep-13 22:50:53

Hi all,

I have come to the best place I can think of for real life advice and guidance from real mothers to real mothers and hope you can help.

I'm a life coach and mum to be(smile) specializing in depression and am seeing an increased amount of women suffering from post and pre natal depression which seems to be across the board. I'm still absolutely disgusted at how little real support, help and advice there is out there which these mums, mums like you and I desperately need. It breaks my heart every time I see another mother taking their own or their child's life as a result of depression, especially knowing that with the right help and support it can so easily be treatable. So I've decided to use my skills as a life coach and passion about the subject to do something about it.

I'm writing an advice book, read on to find out how you can contribute your much needed experience and advice.

I have researched my clients and other post natal depression support groups and amongst many other things the common feeling shared by all mothers and especially those suffering with depression is the massive difference between what they expected life to be like as a new/expectant mother and what it really turns out to be like, the reality hitting them like a tonne of bricks, effecting relationships with families, partners and more importantly their children, new baby and whole experience of motherhood. Post natal depression also seems to be accelerated or triggered by either a trauma or bad experience during birth and/ or pregnancy that again was completely unexpected, which 'tainted' their experience and which they didn't feel equipped to deal with.

Added to this is the pressure of being a new mum and the sense that women should just 'know' what to do as we've been reproducing for millions of years, the guilt of not just 'knowing' what to do and the shame associated with what people might think if we admit to struggling and the sense that this will make us a 'bad' mother. On top of this there is generally a lack of support, we often feel we are the 'only ones' going through this and the dreaded glazed over look some (childless) loved ones adopt when we start talking about mums stuff, often makes mums think that everyone will have the same reaction and leads to them shutting down further.
Yet another layer on top of that little lot is also when women pick up the courage to go to their GP they are often faced with little advice, support or empathy, those that do get referred to counselors or therapists end up faced with a massive waiting list and a restricted amount of sessions, then that often leads to the feeling that we are left with the only option of antidepressants or carry on struggling. (just for clarification purposes, these are NOT your only options)

Whilst the above is an incredibly brief and non detailed description of what can happen to contribute to post or pre natal depression, just reading that piece alone, are you left in any wonder why so many mothers are suffering from depression!?

Whilst open communication with other mothers becomes more available, I believe the support that women used to get from a close knit family and other sources is slowly becoming less common. For those especially that do not have female friends that are mothers, mothers of their own or older sisters they can talk to openly and candidly about everything from conception to child birth the journey becomes even more isolating and difficult. Plus by the time the support becomes available in the form of nursery mothers or baby groups its often too late.

So I have decided to start by giving that all important source of advice from friend/mother/sister in the form of a book, ready for mothers to read from the moment they start planning a family.

Sometimes the best form of power starts with information and I'm not talking the sugar coated advice we often get as a new mother because other mothers are either too embarrassed to tell, we don't have 'that kind of relationship' with the advice giver or the advice giver has forgotten the all important hints and tips that were really useful to them, remembering just the socially acceptable version!

So I have listed some topic headings below and here's what I need you to do:

step 1) TELL ME!! tell me the most import and and 'cannot live without' pieces of advice you could possibly share to inform and enlighten other mothers to be. Think of the things you really wish you knew and only learned through experience or some other kind soul telling you.

2) BE HONEST - this is not information for the faint hearted, we want the real nitty gritty useful stuff, holding back and keeping it formal is no good to anyone!
here's an example of how brutally honest I want you to be:
-my older sister told me that after birth to make sure you take your first wee in the bath! otherwise the word 'sting' would be taking on a whole different meaning!! she also told me to 'shave' my 'fairy garden' before i went into the maternity ward for birth as a midwife with a BIC razor was never going to be as tender and caring about the job as i would be with my husbands Gillette 3!

3) keep your advice brief and to the point - 2-3 sentences max

4) As mentioned this is for a publication so you may be quoted, please make sure you are happy with that before replying. Everyone's identity is confidential and the source will not be named but if you want your name to be put under the quote please end it with something like Lucy, London or Mum of 3, Kent

5) Go for it, something really needs to be done now about post and pre natal depression, its been left too long and women all over the world have suffered unnecessarily, now's the time to do your bit too, it may seem a tiny token but remember how good it felt when someone gave you that bit of advice that made your life so much easier, in life coaching we learn that the discordance between our expectations and reality not meeting those expectations is enough alone to spiral someone into depression, so this seemingly minor piece of info you lovingly share really could make the difference in someones life as a mum.

So the topics are:

1) Pregnancy - conception through to birth, how to prepare for your new born, sex during pregnancy - for eg. how many partners were scared to have sex in pregnancy in case they came 'eye to eye' with the baby so to speak! ;)

2) Birth - from labour through to hospital stays, how to deal with a trauma, what to expect (please note if you're sharing a traumatic story in order to inform and help other mothers, firstly thank you and secondly the 3 sentence limit doesn't apply, there will be sections of the book for larger stories that need to be told in full)

3)post/pre natal depression - your advice, what to expect, what to do, how it felt, tell tale signs, advice about antidepressants (i know this last point re antidepressants could warrant a book itself so please try and keep it as concise as possible)

4) your new baby - anything from the feelings you experience, nappies and changes of outfit per hour, how to cope with routine, feeding, how many hours sleep to really expect to the part entitled 'what they don't tell you!'

5) You, your new baby and your partner- what did you learn, how did your partner feel and cope, how did you keep your relationship going, what strains did it take and whats your advice for easing the pressure

6) miscarriage (I have personal experience of this and again know how awful the service and information can be surrounding miscarriage, from simple things like how does the sonographer just know you have miscarried? how can they be so sure? seeing the difference on a scan between the miscarriage and my now healthy pregnancy answered my questions but I wish I'd been able to find that info at the time so please share as much as you can)

7) Advice to those trying but not conceiving- when its just not happening what other options are there and when is it time to consider and alternative life path? wanting a baby vs destroying your relationship- how much pressure can you both really take? keeping the faith, This section is also for those that have complications such as poly-cystic ovaries, bicornuate uterus' etc, what complications did you face, how did you cope if you were told you may not be able to have children, how did your outlook change.

Thank you to all and I look forward to turning your kindness into some incredibly helpful, useful ,practical and comforting knowledge. You are the best mentors for other mothers as you have been there and done it and your contribution could be potentially life changing to someones experience of motherhood.

Thank you and love to all,

Lucy x

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