I recently attended an amazing seminar with the inspirational Dr Stella Aquarone who specializes in this area and has clinics attempting (successfully I might add) to help create a better and more healthy relationship between mother and baby. An enterprise I hope to start one day, as a charity, where this early, hugely profound relationship is key. To offer a place where mother and baby could start again, to try to understand what went wrong and to repair such a vital connection
We understand that postnatal depression is associated with adverse child cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. We also know that mother’s past experience, memories, fantasies, inter-generational conflicts can be a trigger for post natal depression. It is heavily argued that early onset depression in children and adolescents is linked to insecure attachment.
On a more optimistic note, research shows that the mothers’ difficulties can be worked through, with the right help, to stop these interfering negatively with her relationship with her baby. Professor Lynne Murray’s research has shown that early intervention is crucial to help mother and baby to attach and develop different ways to relate in a lively and joyful manner. Professionals are needed to work with fragile families and to help contain the (traumatic / difficult / unconscious) feelings until they can be carried and talked about with the infant and mother. Now we know so much about the rapid brain development of infants in the first three years particularly – intervention is crucial as early as possible.
Whatever the cause or causes of postnatal depression are, the amount of money that is being spent on it is pitiful, but whilst the government continues to assess the world in economic rather than human terms these abandoned mothers will be left scrabbling in the dark. And so I add my voice to the other’s and hope that somebody out there is listening.