Tag: PPDKenya

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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Mental360 discussion forum on World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day was observed on the 10th of October this year under the theme, ‘Youth and Mental Health in a changing world’.

“Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.” (source)

This snippet from the WHO organization shares on why mental health awareness is important, particularly in the youth. Statistics show that 50% of all mental illnesses typically start at the age of 14. The fact that many of these illnesses go undiagnosed and untreated among the youth means it is a major issue in many countries across the world.

In Kenya, research shows that depression and anxiety are the leading mental illnesses, especially in the youth. It is against this background that different stakeholders sought to host a discussion forum on mental health and the youth. This is important because it not only allows the youth to build mental fortitude, it also creates awareness and allows them to seek for help.

Read More: STILL A MUM 2018 PREGNANCY AND INFANT HEALTH CONFERENCE

In Kenya, Mental 360 exists to promote mental health by raising awareness, creating support systems for the youth and advocating for the rights of persons experiencing mental health challenges. On 11th October 2018, the team held a forum with the aim of engaging stakeholders to find out how to improve the mental health of the youth in Kenya.

PPDKenya was invited to talk about teen pregnancies and how this predisposes teen and young moms to Postpartum Depression. One of our team members, Lindsey, also share a moving account of her PPD story and what we can do to help moms living with PPD. Here are snippets from that conversation:

Teen pregnancy, also known as adolescence pregnancy, is pregnancy that occurs in females below 20 years. Some of the risk factors associated with teen pregnancies include:

  • Lack of sex education
  • Broken families and especially where kids are exposed to violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Harmful cultural practices that include early marriages and FGM
  • Peer pressure to fit in
  • The glamorization of teen pregnancy and the influence of the media

Read More: Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Owing to the challenges of teen pregnancy, teen and young moms are predisposed to PPD. PPD typically affects at least 20% of new moms, but the rates are higher in teens at approximately 36%. This risk increases significantly in teens who have lived with mental illnesses. What’s more, for teens with mental illnesses, pregnancy and parenting only aggravates the condition.

How can we help teen moms?

  • By recognizing that teen pregnancy does not mean that one cannot be successful in life.
  • By reducing the stigma against teen moms.
  • By helping them get the medical help they need.
  • By supporting them to go back to school through the ‘return-to-school’ policy
  • By listening and empathising with them, and providing a safe space for them to share.
  • By addressing the socioeconomic risk factors at the heart of teen pregnancies – poverty, harmful cultural practices, access to sex education and sexual violence. A holistic approach is required by different stakeholders – the Ministry of Health, leaders of religious institutions, schools, Youth-led organizations such as Mental 360 and the civil society among others.

Below are some of the images from the event.

 

UPDATE: We recently had this conversation on our bimonthly tweetchats. Catch up with that thread here

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Moms share 5 things they wish they knew about Postpartum Depression

 

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is one of the most common maternal mental illnesses; with statistics showing that 1 in every 9 moms will get PPD. Yet, as common as it is, many affected moms typically admit that they wish they knew more about PPD before they had it. They admit it would help them accept the condition and seek help faster. We asked some of the moms who have reached out to PPDKenya (and gotten help) what they wish they knew about PPD before child birth. Here are the responses:

  1. I wish I knew PPD steals even little joys

Lyn, a mom of two girls, shared how her PPD stole even the smallest of triumphs. She could not find joy in her motherhood experience, and this impacted her ability to bond with her second daughter. One of the ways in which Postpartum Depression manifests is through a mom’s inability to bond with her child. This does not mean that a mom hates her child; on the contrary, she may be overprotective of her bundle of joy, but just can’t find it within herself to bond and play with her baby.

  1. I wish I knew PPD is a treatable mental illness

Lucy, a mom to one said, “I wish I knew Postpartum Depression is a mental health condition that can be treated through therapy. “ One of the myths about PPD is that it is a permanent condition for which there is no help. PPD is a temporary condition for which treatment is available. Moms do get help, and go on to make a recovery. Part of the reason we continue to do awareness campaigns on Twitter (check out our previous #PPDKenya tweetchats here) is because when moms are aware, then they can know what the symptoms of PPD are and where to get help.

Read More: Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

  1. I wish I knew Depression after birth is NOT normal.

“Depression after birth is NOT normal, and I wish I knew this. Additionally, PPD affects both moms and dads,” Kristy shared with us. Many moms who reach out for help with PPD will often admit that a well-meaning person told them what they felt was ‘normal’ and it would pass. The truth of the matter is that PPD is anything but normal. When a mom starts to exhibit symptoms of PPD, and they go on for more than two weeks, then there is cause for concern. More importantly, moms are reminded that, just because you exhibit just a couple of symtoms of PPD, it does not invalidate your concerns.

  1. I wish I knew that it was possible to get Pregnancy depression and PPD thereafter

Jacinta* shared how, struggling with depression during pregnancy and not knowing what it was only compounded her symptoms after childbirth. Her pregnancy depression symptoms included weepiness (over just about everything), inability to comprehend a future with baby, so much so that she had intrusive thought even before baby was born. Left unchecked, Jacinta’s Pregnancy Depression morphed to PPD, and she shared how, knowing what she does now after support group sessions, she wishes she had gotten help earlier.

Read More: Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression

  1. I wish I knew how incredibly lonely PPD is.

Victoria* shared and said, “I am afraid of telling anyone close what’s happening anymore, because the last time I tried I was told that I have become ungrateful, so I continue to struggle with my PPD in silence. I feel so alone.”

The stigma associated with maternal mental illness means that moms feel ashamed for seeking help, and end up keeping it to themselves. The truth is that there is no shame in reaching out for help, and if you have PPD, please know you are not alone!

At PPDKenya, we understand what you are going through. We are here to walk the journey with you. We will help you get the help you need. Get in touch using our Contact Page.

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STILL A MUM 2018 PREGNANCY AND INFANT HEALTH CONFERENCE

Every year, October 15th marks the World Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) day. The goal of this day is to, first and foremost, recognize the loss that so many parents have experienced, as well as to create awareness on pregnancy and infant loss.

In Kenya, Still A Mum, a charity organization that is actively working to reduce maternal and newborn mortality, will be marking this day with a two-day conference. In the last three years, Still A Mum has been marking this event through awareness campaigns, both on print and visual media as well as through different activities including tree planting.

This year however, Still A Mum is taking a different approach. The two-day conference includes two events and the awards gala. The two events will focus on training medical professions who work in the maternal and pediatric field as well as the second that targets expectant women & their partners as well as new parents.

The awards gala will be held to appreciate individuals, professionals and organizations that are making a difference in maternal care across the world. The gala will also be held to mark Still A Mum’s third year and map the way forward.

Here’s the program for the 2018 Still A Mum Conference:

1. Client Centered Health Care –this will be a training for medical staff that work in maternity and pediatric departments. Friday 12th Oct 2018 8am -4pm.

Client Centred Health Care


2. Healthy Mom Healthy Baby –this event targets pregnant women and their partners as well as new moms and dads. Saturday 13th Oct 2018 8am -4pm. 
Some of the topics to be covered are:

– Safe pregnancy habits, danger signs to watch out for, nutrition etc
– Labor & Delivery – preparing for delivery, when a CS is needed, picking a health facility etc
– Newborn and infant care – breastfeeding, weaning, SIDS
– Postpartum care for mom – healing after a CS or episiotomy, postpartum depression etc

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom

The event will be at Nairobi Hospital Auditorium. The cost is per person and food will be provided. Buy your ticket TODAY. Tickets can be collected after payment from the Still A Mum offices.

3. Still A Mum Awards Gala – This will be a dinner gala to award exceptional individuals, brands and companies in maternal and newborn care. The gala will also be a celebration as Still A Mum turns 3 and a fundraising dinner to raise money for our 2019 operations. It will take place on the evening of Saturday 13th Oct 2018 at the 12th Floor of the Nairobi Convection Center.

Still A Mum Awards Gala Night

PS: Tickets are going for KShs 500 EACH for the Client Centred Health Care and the Healthy Mom Healthy Baby events , and 2000 for the awards gala. Did we mention the ticket price is inclusive of food? Yes! Do get your ticket! You can sponsor a mom too! Here’s how to make payments.

Paybill 830282

Account Number – 1210 – PPDKenya 

Amount – 500

PS: You can also vote for your preferred organization, one that you feel has made a great contribution to Kenya’s maternal health sector, Vote here.

UPDATE: Read More about how the event went down here.

 

 

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When moms are unable to bond with their infants in the postpartum period

Moms bonding with baby postpartum

A mother-infant bond takes time to develop after birth, and sometimes requires help for this to happen

Violet (not her real name) remembers vividly her pregnancy journey and birth experience. She recalls with nostalgia, the excitement she had when she saw the two lines on the pregnancy test. Almost immediately, she began fantasizing about the small onesies, the colourful bibs, the stocking up of diapers and the love that would surround her once her beautiful baby arrived.

As time went by, Violet could not help it. She was so excited and couldn’t wait to see her baby’s face. She imagined how she’d arrive in hospital looking prim and proper, have a seamless birth and leave looking just as beautiful with her tiny tot swaddled in warm blankets. She imagined getting home, looking at baby lovingly and rocking him to sleep on quiet nights.

A few days before her EDD, Violet went into labour and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The moment he was placed in her arms, Violet shared, she felt an odd sensation. She didn’t feel that magical bond on first sight. “I was grateful to have had a safe birth, but when he was placed in my arms, I was shocked that the mythical magical bond was just not there. It felt odd, because while everyone was gushing about how adorable he was, I was frightened on the inside. He looked so small, and I wondered how my life would change with him in it.”

Violet would go on to get discharged from hospital and fight with the thought that she found it hard to bond with her baby. “Where was that instant bond I thought I would have with my son? How come I was struggling at the time? I did not hate my baby, I just couldn’t create the bond I always fantasized about when I was pregnant,” she disclosed.

Read More: The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Postpartum bonding, according to the Baby Center website, refers to the strong attachment a new mom develops with her baby. It makes a new mom want to show love and affection to her baby. It is what would make a mom take a bullet for her baby.

For some moms, this happens immediately after birth when the baby is handed over for skin-to-skin contact. For other moms, it takes a few days after birth, and yet for others a little longer than that, sometimes running up to a month or so postpartum. Part of the reason for this is that mother-infant bonding is an individual experience. It is an unfolding process because both the new mom and newborn are learning on the go.

The new mom is learning to nurse, to lull the baby to sleep, to care for the baby and even create a distinction between different cries- discomfort cries, I-need-to-be-changed cry, pain cries, hunger cries and everything in between. The new baby on the other hand, is adjusting to life outside the comfort of the womb. This can be exhausting, and may slow down the process of bonding.

In addition to this, some moms who are unable to bond with their babies may be suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). Often linked to the sudden drop in hormonal levels, PPD, combined with the stress of been a new mom therefore, makes it harder for moms to bond with the baby. Other related symptoms include:

  • a sense of hopelessness that the inability to bond with baby will last forever
  • Anxiety that a poor bond makes one a bad mom
  • Withdrawal from social circles and events such as baby showers and kids’ birthdays
  • Feeling overwhelmed especially after using social media where the images painted of new moms reflect the magical bond
  • Excessive moodiness
  • In some cases, thoughts of causing harm to the mom/ the baby

Read More: Symptoms of Postpartum Depression – What to look out for

If you feel like you may be suffering from Postpartum Depression, or know someone who shows any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to get help right away. Please reach out to us using the ‘Contact Form’ tab or call using the number on the top right of this page.

Violet went on to get help to assist her with her motherhood experience, alongside the support offered by her partner and family. Below are some suggestions to help new moms bond with their baby. While this is not a magic formula, it does help ease the journey.

  • Take time for skin-to-skin contact during cuddle time as this is both soothing and relaxing for the baby.
  • Breastfeeding often has also been shown to enhance wellness and allow feelings of attachment for the mom.
  • Look into the baby’s eyes, as you talk and sing to him. Play with him daily to help forge the bond. Some moms will find that reading also helps with bonding.
  • If you can, carry the baby in a front carrier to allow physical closeness.
  • Join a new mommy group to help you through the journey, and you will be amazed at how many other moms feel the same way you do.

When should you be concerned?

Many new moms tend to create wonderful bonds with their babies over a period of time. If, however, after a couple of weeks, you do not feel more attached than you did after birth, it is important to talk to someone. Remember, postpartum bonding is an individual experience, and if you are worried you may be suffering from PPD, there is no shame in asking for help.

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