Category: Media

Call-in feature on Voice of Islam UK, and PPDKenya’s flagship project, #ElimishaMama

PPDKenya feature on Voice of Islam UK

Two weeks ago, the team at Voice of Islam UK got in touch with us to share on maternal mental health in Kenya, and the organization’s flagship project, #ElimishaMama. This feature was in honor of World Maternal Mental Health Day.

Research shows that 1 in 5 women will go through a mental illness at one point in their lives. Maternal mental illnesses range from Postpartum Depression to postpartum anxiety, PTSD and Psychosis.

Our founder, Samoina, was one of the guests during the drive time show, alongside Rosey (Founder- #PNDHour), Dr. Andrew Mayers and Lilu Wheeler. Catch the recording of that conversation below, with the interview segment beginning at 1:29:20

Samoina shared on the social stigma attached to maternal mental health in Kenya, how Elimisha Mama is helping pregnant women and new mothers in Kenya, the intersection of faith and maternal mental health as well as the role of the fathers.

We’d like to thank the production team: Ayesha Naseem, Faiza Mirza and Nudrat Qasim for creating awareness on maternal mental health.

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Postpartum depression in new dads

One of the most intriguing questions that we received during the last conference we were invited to was from a gentleman who asked us (paraphrased):

“If postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 new moms after child birth, and has been related to the sudden drop of hormones, why do dads get Postpartum Depression seeing as they do not give birth?”

Our team was elated to get this question for one reason: more men (dads, partners, lovers) asking questions about maternal mental health means more awareness and less stigma, and ultimately goes a long way in creating support for them and the women in their lives who need it. This is why, when Harriet from People Daily reached out for some insight into Postpartum Depression in men, we were more than happy to be able to contribute.

Read More: Science Says Men Suffer from Postpartum Depression, Too

Postpartum Depression in dads affects 1 in 10 new dads, and is also referred to as Paternal Postpartum Depression (PPPD). The precise cause of PPPD is still under research, but it is believed that it is connected to the sleep deprivation and social upheavals that the birth of a new baby brings. Additional factors that may predispose men to PPPD include previous mental illness, loss of a child/ partner during the birth process, a strenous relationship with one’s partner as well as a sick/colicky/preterm baby.

One of the challenges we have had as far as helping men is concerned has been the willingness to share that they are going through. This has often been attributed to the notion that men ought to be ‘strong’, or that showing emotion and asking for help is a sign of ‘weakness’. The truth, however, is that men can, and do get mental illnesses.

Treatment is available for dads with PPPD. Talk therapy, alongside medication has been shown to be quite effective. New dads are advised to get help from a qualified mental health professional, preferably one who has dealt with men/ new dads.

Thank you for the feature, People Daily. Click here to read the full post, and personal accounts of Kenyan dads who have had PPPD.

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Blackish addresses Postpartum Depression in Season 4

One of the things we believe in at PPDKenya is awareness and advocacy for Postpartum depression and maternal Mental Health. So, when a popular TV Show, no less on ABC, does that, anyone in the maternal mental health heaves a sigh – or relief, of excitement and certainly, of the hope that this ushers in a new era where TV shows will not be afraid to tackle mental health and highlight the numerous intricate complexities thereof ” class=”wp-more-tag mce-wp-more” alt=”” title=”Read more…” data-mce-resize=”false” data-mce-placeholder=”1″ />

(PS: We are late to the party because this particular episode aired in late 2017, but it is never too late to talk about PPD, now is it?  )

The TV show in question is Blackish, a family sitcom that brings to light the challenges of a modern black family living in a predominantly white neighbourhood. In S04E02 that highlights PPD, Rainbow Johnson, who is fondly referred to as Bow (and played by the phenomenal Tracee Ellis Ross), is seen to be a tad bit anxious. Having just given birth to her fifth child, she fusses a lot over the heat in her house. We also get to see her caught up in an emptiness of sorts, staring at the baby monitor and wondering if her new born son is still breathing (something that many moms who have gone through PPD can attest to – a perpetual fear of death seems to hang over).

There are a couple of instances where Bow is also seen sobbing endlessly, seemingly over nothing. This is another symptom that characterises PPD. Most affected moms are weepy and irritable, even when they cannot point out exactly why. Another instance that stood out is when, staring into the empty space, Bow pours over tea into a glass. This remarkable change in behaviour, from the usually boisterous Bow, to a weepy mom is picked up by her mother-in-law, Ruby Johnson (played by Jenifer Lewis). According to Ruby, however, ‘This is what new motherhood looks like… She (Bow) is just weak.”

Again, the show brings to the front the stigma associated with PPD where struggling moms are deemed to be weak, or seeking for attention. Dre, Rainbow’s husband (played by Anthony Anderson) realizes that Bow has postpartum depression, but at first, she is denial saying, “I don’t have postpartum. I am a doctor and I would know.” In the end however, she admits she is struggling and is willing to get help.

In the end, this is an incredibly powerful show that steers conversation on PPD right where it matters. Not only does it show the challenges a family faces when mom is suffering from PPD, it also addresses the issue of medication in a sensitive manner that gives perspective. It is worth watching for anyone who has had/ is struggling with PPD, or for anyone interested in one of the most common perinatal mood disorders.

Catch the preview here on their fb page

 

 

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