Any mum that has suffered through postnatal depression or anxiety knows that it is a silent disease that feels like your all alone in the hopelessness that is your mind. But now the new drug Zulresso that promises some relief for that is paving the way to give these women some hope for a better tomorrow, but are we losing touch with what’s underlying deep underneath the surface and the real issue here??
I was that mother that wanted this pain to go away and as I became a mother at the age of 24, I really didn’t comprehend the emotional, physical and mental impact that becoming a mother would take on my body. I also had previous childhood trauma that resurfaced for me at the birth and brought fear head on through my arduous labour process that only exacerbated the way I felt. So, I walked out of the hospital with a newborn baby in my arms and I had no family support, no ‘village’ no postnatal plan and a husband that had to go back to work not long after we brought our baby home and so anxiety crept in which then led to a feeling of constant dread and that’s when depression took hold.
So, I can understand these mothers that want a drug to take this all away and feel ‘normal’ again, I really do!! But is this the answer? I don’t think so. I think we have lost touch with what’s really important and that is giving women that holistic support during her pregnancy and paving the way for her to make a postnatal plan that incorporates her being well nourished, loved, heard, supported and create that ‘village’ beforehand so she has someone to turn to when she may or may not start to feel like it’s all too much. I also fear that this drug eventually will get over prescribed like we do with other interventions in birth where it’s a one stop fix for any mother that says she’s feeling sad instead of looking at the whole picture.
At the moment this drug is only offered intravenously at $34,000 per treatment and because it has such adverse side effects like dizziness and unconsciousness it means that mums would need to be admitted to hospital to be monitored for these effects and in the trials that they did for this drug they had a big placebo group which had promising results themselves so what does that tell us?? I truly believe that if women are given the proper counselling, nourishing food, birth debriefing, breastfeeding support, someone to be there with their baby so they can get sleep and taking care of them in those first 6 weeks at least then we can have healthy mothers in every way. We can have women that can function without drugs to keep them going and that can bond with their babies and most of all be happy functioning women like they should be. Let’s make that change, let’s make those plans in pregnancy so that we aid mothers in every way possible to be the best that they can be.
By Moran Liviani