When I was awarded the Future Leaders Scholarship I made a commitment to better the lives of Australians. Each day I aim to improve the experience of motherhood for new mums by reflecting on the past and imagining, researching and writing for a better future.
To take something that has hurt us and endeavour to make that different for others is a privilege and one which I am committed to. There is so much work to do ensuring the lives of women postpartum are healthy ones.
The research in this area says that postpartum distress is largely inevitable - this is supported by the number of women who report it - up to 80%. It suggests that a degree of unhappiness is inevitable – normal – when we have a baby which as we can all attest is accurate.
If we were living like we used to in the villages of the past, we would simply go outside, talk to the other mums and carry on.
A big reason for the problem of PPD is the way we live today. These are modern times – the time of the NON-village. As an individualist culture we are separated not only geographically but psychologically – We have lost the village and all the good it brings, we strive for independence and on top of this, as women, we often take on two roles in breadwinner and mother.
Today we live alone, and the research tell us that we, as mothers, suffer alone.
What we know from the literature – is that women won’t ask for help –
There is still enormous shame and stigma and a sense of having to be happy and be the perfect mother, able to manage it all. We wont tell because like me, walking down that street, we feel like we have failed.
“Many women rather than seeking help, simply try harder.”
To connect is Primal - We know it’s the way we were and the way we should be
In terms of becoming a mother, its how we learn about what to do, how we share the load, how we regulate and release our emotions and its how we feel normal.
We connect for validation, for appraisal, for guidance and for empathy.
Big solution to this problem of disconnection and isolation is peer to peer support.
Social support in the postpartum period is key to wellbeing
Social support, in particular peer to peer support, buffers the effects of the distress and provides the support necessary for the down days to be down days and not accumulate into weeks, months and even years. It says that just by sharing with others who understand, that women get much of what they’re after.
Research shows that women want:
Peer to peer support
Informal, from women who have experience
Someone they can build a trusting relationship with
No competitiveness – someone they wont compare against
The Village Foundation aims to address isolation and depression through prevention - by providing support through various means and applications.
Stay tuned for news about our App, currently in development.