I know that, as UCM members, most of us are now unlikely to be having a baby ourselves, but we all have daughters, granddaughters, nieces or friends who may – and who may, in turn, be struck by the devastating effects of post-natal depression.
Recently at our UCM meeting we had a talk by a very articulate young mother who had been stuck by this terrible condition after the birth of her baby girl. She spoke very movingly about how she and her husband had been so looking forward to the birth. They had lots of support from a loving family. Yet this awful thing happened. She could not bear to touch her baby. She could not get out of bed. She genuinely thought that she was going out of her mind.
After much searching, she finally found an organisation which gave her and her family enormous help. This was the Pre- and Postnatal Depression Awareness Society, PANDAS, which can be located at www.pandasfoundation.org.uk. I know that many mothers suffer from ‘baby blues’ after a birth but this condition goes far beyond that; it is on the increase and being recognised more.
As we are a loving and caring group, I ask you ladies to be aware of this condition – perhaps in your families or among work colleagues or neighbours or those who may not have families close by. Please pass on this practical and worthwhile information that PANDAS can help. Many parishes produce lists of useful agencies so please ask your own parish to include PANDAS.
This condition does not only strike first-time mothers, but can happen after the birth of any child. Concern over it fits in beautifully with the UCM’s fourth object, which is ‘to offer love, sympathy and practical help to the family in difficulties’.
I hope to see many of you at our Business Meeting on Saturday 22 February in the Gibberd Room of the Metropolitan Cathedral at 1pm.