The Silent Cry of Mothers

baby-fingers-motherWe  have seen a black US president, the UK is now governed under its second female prime minister, we have legalised same-sex marriages and depression and mental health issues are now beginning to come to the fore and slowly becoming less and less of a ‘dirty word’ attributed more to the unfortunate deaths of famous, well-known personalities than any form of social awareness.

Recently I have come across an article describing the unfortunate suicide of an acquaintance and a new mother. Rather than writing about her mental health issues and lack of medical support and diagnosis, sordid details of her death and her past have instead been published in detail in what I am presuming is a delusional act of raising awareness.

What puzzles me is why there was a need to report it so publicly online and via paper media ensuring that the details contained will remain within the public domain. She was not a public figure but a mother possibly battling the proven medical condition flippantly termed as the ‘baby blues’. Should her symptoms have been taken more seriously, she may still be here, watching her daughter grow.

Unfortunately there is such a fine line between the “baby blues” and post-natal/partum depression that many more women are suffering unnecessarily and in silence, particularly as it does not only affect ‘new mothers’. As with every disease, the longer it is left untreated, the worse it gets. The trouble is, those suffering from baby blues fear they have depression, and similarly those suffering from depression are not provided with sufficient care to have the mechanisms in which to manage their depression.

post-partum-depression

It has been proven by European scientists that pregnancy not only alters a woman’s body (sometimes permanently) but also introduces a chemical imbalance within a woman’s internal system that unfortunately also remains permanent, particularly if the new mother has a tendency for vulnerable thoughts and acts. In fact in just analysing the brain function of women, scientists were able to pinpoint which of the women were or had been pregnant and which had not. However, this was not mentioned in the article.

We need more social awareness of this condition following pregnancy and those entrusted with our care need sufficient knowledge and training in dealing with such symptoms. With regard to the sad and preventable story of my acquaintance to whom this blog post is dedicated, to have feelings of mental instability following the birth of her daughter and having previously been diagnosed with mental health issues but only being prescribed sleeping pills from her GP  is frankly a severe gross misconduct of care.

bad-momentsMore attention needs to be paid to the existence of post-natal depression so that new mothers are not living in fear of having their children taken away from them or being classed as bad mothers if they seek help. How long will it take before mothers will no longer be afraid to admit that motherhood is not a natural state for everyone? That it is a struggle and remains so for the rest of their lives? How many lives will have to be irrevocably changed before adequate measures are put into place? How many trashy, sordid and disrespectful articles will need to be written in the name of journalism, raking up feelings and hurting those left behind before a decent article is written that raises awareness of issues so many women face daily yet silently?

As a society we are proud of our changing attitudes to social issues yet depression and mental health issues remain on the back burner of our social conscience. It is as much a disease as Cancer yet sadly preventable if taken seriously and diagnosed properly. People should be treated as individual people. We should not be a tick boxing exercise and just because my acquaintance may not have had a troubling home life and had a secure and respectful job, does not mean that she was not depressed. Depression is not necessarily associated by external factors but is a mental health issue. A chemical imbalance. An unfortunate disease that can not be helped and is not the fault of the sufferer.

Due to the inadequate and thoughtless care from the medical profession and the insensitive, callous reporting, a little girl will have no memories of her mother and will grow up surrounded by the sordid details and may I say proven discrepancies of her mother’s death. If my acquaintance’s daughter reads anything concerning her mother’s death online years from now, I hope that it is this: your mother loved you and it was not your fault, neither was it hers. It was ours and I’m sorry.

Hands make heart shape

If you are experiencing feelings and emotions of post-natal depression or know someone who is, please do reach out for help.

The Samaritans 
Mind


Further reading:

www.bbc.co.uk

www.herviewfromhome.com


Opening image: www.abc.net.au

Second image: slideplayer.com

Third image: littlecackles.wordpress.com

Closing image: girlpowerhour.com

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Scapegoat Migrants

I caught a glimpse of the front page of a tabloid yesterday and I must admit I succumbed to its power to captivate. I actually read a newspaper  that on its front page depicted an immigrant family living in a £1 million+ home in the UK. Reading the article leaves no doubt that there will be British citizens, struggling with the effects of the recession and feeling pretty sick at the unfairness of it all… and I will be among them. But, possibly not for the same reason.

Not many people realise that asylum seekers are forbidden to work in the UK until their asylum claim is accepted (no matter how long that may take). This particular family has apparently been in the UK since 1991 and are living in a ‘five storey [building], six bedrooms – some with balconies – three sitting rooms, four bathrooms and a spacious, superbly fitted-out kitchen’ (as quoted by the tabloid). However, I live in a one bedroom apartment; suffer from chronic back pain due to the insufficient furniture supplied (we can not afford to upgrade). We still can not take a hot shower and every time it rains, rainwater leaks through the window in the hallway. I would like to stand up to Mr. Brown and ask him where are my rights as a British citizen? We are currently a one income family and can not afford to advance our standard of living and yet have to pay for such people to live in houses that we can only dream of.

I am proud to be British and proud the country has never closed its borders to anyone. However, the country is fast becoming a joke. It is clear that asylum seekers travel through the lands of Europe (notably France and Germany) and insist on gaining entry through British borders because the UK gives them an easy ride. Although it makes my blood boil, I can understand. I’m wondering what I would do in their situation. Would I, when fleeing for my life  take my family to a country that refuses any assistance or to a country that provides everything, even more than I received from my own government? I can tell you now, the answer would not be the former. I don’t blame the asylum seekers, because in all honesty I would probably do the same. I think we all would.

I can see that the asylum seekers are the scapegoat for the government’s inadequacy. As the government is continually distracted with the mess Labour has made in the Middle East, our country is crumbling. Our citizens are being ignored to the benefit of the immigrants, the non-natives, the asylum seekers. But it is not the fault of the foreign migrant, I want to make that clear. In essence they are just claiming what is rightfully theirs according to British government policy.

To make any real changes we need to inject objectivity into the ongoing situation. Remember that the migrants are just pawns in the fight with government policy. It is the policy that needs to be changed. And changed soon.

The Soundtrack to his Legacy

His life was somewhat unconventional but I wonder who indeed has the right to define convention? I have been watching The Family on Channel 4 and in accordance with my life and set values, what is displayed on my television screen is somewhat unorthodox. I am ashamed to admit I dismissed their choice of living as ‘wrong’ or ‘unacceptable’. However, upon closer viewing I have quickly retracted such opinion. Of course I can not be certain what is acted for the cameras (if anything), but despite this though their chosen way of life works for them and  so who am I to disagree?

Michael Jackson’s death is another event in history during which everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. No one can deny the effect he has had on world music. He may have seemed childish to some but what he achieved and set out to do was most definitely not childish. He bought together an army of people worldwide under one category: a Michael Jackson fan. He transcended colour, creed, religion even language. But of course, you already knew that.

His music was and continues to be the soundtrack to my life. It is even through a shared enjoyment of his art that I met my husband. No mean feat, particularly as we were then living on opposite sides of the world. I personally owe a lot to Michael Jackson and I am simply a needle in a haystack. To me, Michael Jackson is a symbol of simpler; more innocent times. A time when my only worry and care in the world was what to wear to school the next day. His music was the soundtrack to times of exam worry, times of love, times of break-ups. There are even songs on his track listing that gave me comfort after the loss of my father. The death of Michael Jackson is not only a death of a genius but it is the death of childhood, of innocence. The happier, carefree times of my past do not seem real somehow.

It saddens me that a little girl was brave enough to stand up in front of the world in support of her father, and yet the following day all that could be said was he was not her Daddy. It saddens me now that it seems fashionable to declare yourself a Michael Jackson fan. All the celebrities came out in droves in support of him, but I wonder where were they when he needed them? Why is it that it is only after someone dies that you realise what you once had? Why do we as human beings never learn? Why as human beings do we dismiss those we do not understand? In a way the treatment of Michael Jackson reminds me of times in the history books when people were burnt at the stake simply for being left-handed, for being different, for being unconventional. As an adult, surrounding oneself with children is certainly unconventional but just like in the history books, it quickly turned into a witch hunt and again like in the history books, the hounded did not survive.

Michael Jackson may not have led a conventional and orthodox life. He may not have looked conventional; may not have acted conventional and indeed may not have promoted convention. However, now I hope that his accolades; his achievements; his music; his dance; his children will be the soundtrack to his legacy.