Thursday, 14 August 2014

We should be ashamed of this

It has long been recognised that childbirth is a pretty dangerous activity to undertake. Pre-eclampsia, post-partum haemorrhages and infections, there is the ripping and tearing and then all the hazards associated with the pain relief. For as many generations as hominids have had massive heads, women have been dying trying to birth them.Of course, now that we have modern medicine, antibiotics and doctors that wash their  hands, it isn't nearly as dangerous as it used to be.Good old science.

Its not all great news though, because medicine largely continues to suffer from a sort of Cartesian schizophrenia, maintaining a steadfast blindness to conditions of the mind, rather than of the mind's more tangible transport: the body. And so it is that the United Kingdom in the year 2014 must report an embarrassing fact: one of the leading causes of postpartum death in this country is suicide.

Women are dying, not because our technology is inadequate, or because we are too poor to pay for the necessary treatments, but simply because not enough value is placed on the mental wellbeing of new mums.

Sign the petition

I'm so lucky and relieved that I didn't go down with postnatal depression myself. But early motherhood is so exhausting, frustrating, boring and lonely that I can easily see how a slippery slope can be started on.Mothers don't deserve to be shut up indoors and rejected by society the way they are.

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