I listened to this discussion on Woman’s Hour yesterday – the bit about PND is just after the Cliff Richard interview (which sets the scene nicely for talking about low moods ;-)). The guests included Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, Tessa Baradon, from the parent/infant programme at The Anna Freud Centre, London, as well as someone from charity 4children, which published Suffering in Silence (see previous post).
All very sensible (and obvious) – Dr Gerada recommended that talking therapies be more widely used, and described her own experience of feeling low after having a baby, but where her situation was improved by the health visitor telling her it was completely normal to feel that way.
Luckily Tessa Baradon made the point that for many women, being told what they’re feeling is normal will not sustain them day to day, or, as she perceptively put it, from morning to evening (which is how I often see my life). They need more meaningful intervention, and a pep talk from a person unqualified in counselling or psychology simply won’t cut it.
She was asked about the impact of PND on the baby, how he/she will adapt, and often become a very ‘good’ baby (sleeping lots, being placid, etc), in order to cope with the lack of responsiveness from the mother. My children have not responded in this way (being screamers) but I would have liked to hear more on the subject, even though it would probably have made uncomfortable listening. I hate thinking about how my struggle to bond with my children in the early months may have affected them, but hope I am able to compensate now I am in a better place mentally.
I would have liked to hear more from Tessa Baradon, as I think the mainstream press likes to focus on the medicalisation of PND without acknowledging the many psychological factors that lie behind it.