The true figure is likely to be much higher due to the stigma and fear that can be associated with it. It follows that at some point further on they are likely to ask the question 'Do I/ we want another baby?'
Just published, Another Twinkle in the Eye: Contemplating Another Pregnancy After Perinatal Mental Illness by Elaine Hanzak addresses this issue and supports parents and professionals in that decision making process, and in planning for another pregnancy and the postnatal period if the decision is yes. It also considers the implications of deciding not to have another child. The book is a supportive guide for parents and professionals considering a further pregnancy following perinatal mental illness, including 'real stories' from people who have made these decisions, with practical advice and examples of good practice from experienced healthcare professionals. In some instances women and their partners cite a poor birth experience as one reason why they may also not want to add to their family as they feel it added to their poor mental health. This is very relevant in context of the current National Maternity Review; fear of a birth should not be a contraception!
10th October is World Mental Health Day, making this a timely topic to be considered.
"This book is the best I have read about the topic of perinatal mental health ... It is the book I have been wishing had been written to enable others to understand what is going on during a period of illness and how best to ask for help and support others who are suffering ... I would highly recommend [it]…" Dr Stephanie deGiorgio
"It should be a standard reference book … It brings together a lot of practical text … the sort of things you might spend hours looking for on the internet … [it brings] together the facts, resources, discussion points and information to help people make an informed decision." William Greenwood, MHSM, Dip HSM
"A very important and much needed resource which I am certain will be appreciated by so many people … [it] is a one-stop resource for any family considering a new addition following the experience of perinatal illness … Covering just about every thought, emotion and practical suggestion necessary, this is a real must both for families and health care professionals." Luce, mother of two boys and considering another baby
Elaine is a writer and speaker at conferences, workshops etc, developed from her experience of puerperal psychosis and bereavement. (www.hanzak.com) She frequently participates in TV, radio and other media discussions, and is the author of Eyes Without Sparkle: A Journey Through Postnatal Illness (Radcliffe Publishing, 2005).
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