Welcome to our Book of the Month blog. Each month we will select a book from our range available to hire and talk about why we enjoy it. You can see the full range of books available to hire here – hire a book for just £2 with any sling hire.
Why Perinatal Depression Matters – Mia Scotland
Our selected book for January is ‘Why Perinatal Depression Matters’ by Mia Scotland. Published by Pinter and Martin as part of their Why…Matters series. Here is what they have to say about the book:
You have probably heard of postnatal depression, but did you know that most cases of postnatal depression actually began in pregnancy? And that most people who have antenatal depression have had depression in the past? And did you know that postnatal depression is not caused by women’s hormones gone awry; men are suffering postnatal and perinatal depression in larger and larger numbers too? This is why “postnatal depression” has now been renamed “perinatal depression”(‘peri’ means around, as in the word “perimeter”).
– Pinter and Martin, Why Perinatal Depression Matters
Why is the seemingly joyful event of new parenthood causing so much suffering? Depression seems to be related to the stresses that a modern couple undertake when they have a baby. The lack of support, lack of celebration, overload of expectations, overwhelming responsibility, isolation, judgement, blaming by the media, tiredness, mixed messages, confusion, high expectations and lack of tender loving care serve to eventually break parents and their relationships. And when we break parents, we break a baby. Babies are our future, and if we break a baby, in the long run, we break society. Postnatal depression takes a high toll on society. Dealing effectively with perinatal depression is about valuing love, connection, calm and stillness, over and above productivity, achievement and acquisition.
All of the Why…Matters series are short introductions to a subject relating to parenthood. Why Perinatal Depression Matters sounded to me like it could be a, well, slightly depressing book, but I actually found it fascinating. Mia Scotland says that one of the greatest myths about perinatal depression is that it is caused by a woman’s body’s inability to handle hormonal changes after birth. She states that if careful attention is paid, most cases begin in pregnancy, and most of these people also have previous experience of depression. The fact that men are suffering, by some counts in the same numbers as women, indicates that the problem is not entirely hormonal. As a woman who has been inclined to look at various issues with my health as ‘failings of my body’ I found this message strangely empowering, because the suggestion is that having a baby is “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
“lack of celebrations, overload of expectations,overwhleming responsibility, isolation, judgment, blaming by the media, tiredness, mixed messages, confusion, high expectations, and lack of tender loving care. These stressors serve to break parents.”
The book considers care of mothers in other cultures, the myriad adjustments having a baby imposes on the life of parents and how our brains and those of our babies are wired for bonding. She mythbusts her way through her top 11 assumptions of society, parents AND medical professionals about perinatal depression in a way that I found motivating and empowering. Changing society and recreating “the village” may be no small task, but I know that we can, and do do this for people. We are committed to continuing and expanding how we support and connect with families, and talk about parenthood and mental health in real life ways. Our mental health has had its ups and downs, and this has been a huge part of our parenting journey for both of us, and our husbands, at It’s A Sling Thing.
This book does not leave you without hope. There is a whole chapter of positive wellbeing suggestions that can help you to improve your resilience to the barrage of stressors that society throws at parents. It promotes bonding and positive mental health in parenting, and BABYWEARING is listed as one of the top techniques as it
- reduces mum’s stress levels
- babies cry less in a sling
- increases connection and bonding with your baby
- get more done in a day with free hands and a settled baby
- release more oxytocin and endorhpins- an antidote to stress hormones
I highly recommend reading this book for both mums and dads, to people thinking of becoming parents, especially those with a history of mental health issues, and to all those people involved in caring for and working with new families.
You can hire Why Perinatal Depression Matters from It’s A Sling Thing.