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Postnatal Depression: A Darker Shade of Blue

Elaine Hanzak

Elaine Hanzak (@elainehanzak) is an author and speaker who uses her experience with postnatal depression and bereavement to deliver keynote presentations on overcoming loss and perinatal mental health.

She is the author of two books, “Eyes Without Sparkle: A Journey Through Postnatal Illness“, which today’s discussion is based on, and the follow-up “Another Twinkle in the Eye: Contemplating Another Pregnancy After Perinatal Mental Illness“.

In 2016 Elaine was nominated for the “Cheshire Woman of the Year” Award for her contribution to community services, and in 2017 she was a finalist at the British Journal of Midwifery Awards in the category of contribution of a non-midwife to mid-wifery practices.

In today’s episode Elaine shares her experience of postnatal depression. How despite dreaming of motherhood her entire life, a traumatic labour, months of sleep deprivation, and the pressures of aspiring to be the perfect mum, eventually caused her to spiral into a period of depression, self-harm, psychosis, and eventually being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Having since made a full recovery, Elaine tells us what the experience has taught her about motherhood and life, and she also offers some simple self-care practices to help future mums avoid a similar fate.

 

Related Links

Hanzak.com – Elaine’s website

Elaine Hanzak Facebook Page

Maternal Mental Health Alliance – a UK coalition improving the mental health of women and their children during the perinatal period

Book Recommendations

     

Image courtesy: Jake Guild

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Maternal OCD: Striving to be Supermum

Dr. Fiona Challacombe

Dr. Fiona Challacombe (@DrFionaCh) is a research fellow and clinical psychologist working at the Maudsley Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, and the Section of Women’s Mental Health at Kings College London, where she specialises in maternal OCD and anxiety.

She is patron of Maternal OCD, a voluntary organisation dedicated to raising the profile of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for mothers.

Along with Prof. Paul Salkovskis (see episode #004), she is co-author of “Break Free from OCD: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with CBT“.

In today’s episode we explore how and why OCD manifests during the perinatal period, the nature and content of the obsessions and compulsions, and what causes maternal OCD? Is it down to hormonal changes, living in risk averse society, or the evolutionary desire to keep our children safe from harm?

We explore why maternal OCD is given such little attention compared to other mental health issues, whether or not this condition has long term ramifications for the children of parents with OCD, and most importantly how to seek treatment.

 

Recommended Links

Maternal OCD

OCD Action – A national (UK) charity for anyone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD-UK – Supporting children and adults affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

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Image courtesy: Julian Fong