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Well Women Newsletter Issue 2, Term 2, 2009

Helping You and your family cope with Postnatal Distress

Welcome to Parenthood! When our first born shot into our lives like a beautifully wrapped atomic bomb, we had no idea about the club we were joining. We had been young selfish ‘thirty somethings’ for a long time and we had quite a neat set up. This all ended the day bubs arrived. The fears and anxieties produced by being parents of one tiny prodigy surpassed travelling around the world's hotspots by a long shot. Joining the ‘parents’’ club did not come in a ‘Lonely Planet’ format. If we were to be seen as serious, we had to listen to the heart beat with a foetal doppler, sing songs to the foetus whilst playing Mozart, wrap in designer sheets, buy coverlets for those dirty infection riddled supermarket trolleys, clothe in merino sleep sacks, rub skin with special natural organic balms, place in front of baby Einstein DVDs, feed wholesome home-made baby food, attend baby gym, jumping beans, mainly music and baby yoga, and still look good after no sleep and a layer of vomit.

A treat from Spa du Vin

crying? Leave her crying? The Baby Whisperer? Dr Spock? Super Nanny? We tormented ourselves with questions like, “Is her head okay?” “Is it misshapen?” “Is it flat?” “What is that spot on her tummy?” “Get a glass so we can test for meningitis!” “Quick phone the Plunket Line!” “Is it really only a heat rash?” “Will Phenergan or Tixylix make her sleep?” “Will it make us sleep?” Chamomile, lavender, teddies with heart beats, room heaters, dummies, lined curtains, blinds, wool blankets, cotton blankets, sleep suits, m usical m obi les, rainforest tapes, whale noise, white noise, no noise. Place her on her back, her front, her side, strapped into pieces of white material with twenty velcro strips, wedge her head between two triangles of foam, swaddle! Choose the lot!

Every mother knows that a relaxing day at a spa will cure many ills - it just rarely happens! For some of the members of Well Women, it did happen - all thanks to Spa du Vin. They chose Well Women to launch their new concept - Mother’s Haven. The morning or afternoon package consists of tea or coffee, a tasting plate of delicious treats (scones on this occasion), a manicure, pedicure or ½ hour massage AND complimentary childcare!! Our ladies certainly enjoyed the experience and some even went on to treat themselves with a haircut and dinner with friends! Ordinarily, the package costs $45 and can be run for any group of mums. For more information, be sure to contact Lucy Jones, conference & events co-ordinator at Spa du Vin, 500 Lyons Road, RD1, Mangatawhiri Valley, 09 233 6314,

By the tenth week, we were seriously tired, hugely insane and it all came to a head, when twenty minutes down the road, with no baby in the car, we were still When she didn't sleep, we fussed listening to “Wake up Geoff” by the obsessively - one of us frantically Wiggles and singing “Romp Bomp a flipping through books which gave Stomp” with Dorothy the dinosaur. conflicting advice, as the other Confirmed. We no longer had paced the floor. Should we leave her brains. to cry or pick her up? Rock her or take her for a drive? Controlled Written by Andi Chapman, mother to Liliana and Hélèné

"There is nothing as disempowering for a women who has just become a mother, who then has feelings of depression and/or distress - that rob her of enjoying her new baby. Feelings that tell her she can't manage, that everything is overwhelming, that she is on her own but can't be bothered. And to know that there is no magic answer. The first step is to ask for help, and to keep asking until help starts to arrive - which is where Well Women comes in. We've been there, and some of us are there now. And being with others who share parts of your journey makes the steps easier to take. Of course the other steps might be professional help from GP/counsellor/Mental Health Services; medication; exercise & more exercise; enough sleep; respite from being a mother 24 hours a day; Any number of other ideas that can give a mother increasing health." Kim Myhill, social worker, now mostly recovered from PND

Inside this issue: Welcome to Parenthood!


A treat from Spa du Vin


Food for Mood


Knowing what you need and want


Junk Play


Who Are Well Women?


Useful Contacts


Our Supporters


Term 2 Calendar


Food For Mood Although it’s more common to reach for a piece (or four) of chocolate, rather than a carrot stick, in times of crisis, good nutrition can really help improve your mood - and bad choice food only provides a quick fix or high and leave you feeling empty hours later. So, re-evaluate what ‘fixes’ your mood. Did you know that salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and consumption of the fish is a natural way to treat depression? There are studies that indicate that people who suffer from depression related to stress have low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their body - so get out your rod and reel! Brazil nuts may also help lift your mood as they contain selenium - although too much of this can prove toxic for your system so eat these nuts sparingly. Why not include them in a healthy mix of other nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds) and dried fruit (raisins, pineapple, cranberries) and maybe include some chocolate chips too!! This is something that you can make up at the supermarket and include the children. Ask them to measure out a certain weight of each item and once home, have fun putting them in to a container and shaking them all up - fun for all of the family!

Knowing what you need and want “We’ve been married for 7 years; he should know what I need when I feel like this by now” Women in our society are not so good at accepting offers of help (and I might add) most women are not very good at asking for help either. It is believed that a “perfect” mother does not need help and she “should” be able to do everything herself. This can result in women suffering on their own way too much and feeling guilty for needing help. And then, I often have clients complain that their partners do not meet their needs, that they are unsupportive, and that they behave in ways that are unhelpful. Sometimes this may be true of course, but is it always? Ever noticed this? • He tells you he loves you, and you don’t believe him • He tells you that he finds you beautiful and you assume he’s lying • He says he’ll come home early to help and you feel guilty • He has to work late and you think he doesn’t care about you A common struggle I have observed with new mothers in distress is that they do not feel entitled to ask for help. If it’s hard to accept or ask for help, then how do new mums begin to construct what it is that they do need help with? And then, if they can’t even think, how do they begin to ‘know’ what they need? So how can a woman’s partner begin to help when it is so hard for the PND sufferer to know herself; and then voice her own needs? It’s as if the partner is meant to know what she needs help with and to be able to read her mind! How many of us have done that before? When a woman (or man) is experiencing postnatal distress this can become even more difficult, as some of the symptoms of PND includes inability to concentrate, apathy, fatigue and feeling ashamed, making it harder to ask and accept help whilst desperately wanting and needing it. In my work as a therapist I spend time with my clients

helping them to firstly feel ok about needing and asking for help and then we begin to work on articulating what it is they need help with, both in terms of practical help and support and emotional support. Sometimes it is not even the ‘doing’ that new mums want help with which can be confusing to some partners. He might say “I’m doing all the right things; what else do you want from me?” Of course he’s thinking about practical support. Women with and without postnatal distress need equal amounts of emotional support too. This support I define as “being” support … the kind of “I want you to be with me” support. Often what new mums experiencing PND want and need is to be sat with, to be held, and to be listened to as she struggles to tell what it is like for her. Often there are no answers, nor are they needed. And of course, this is frightening for her partner, to sit and watch her in so much pain and not be able to fix it. The journey is often about learning to sit and stay with her, to tolerate this and not go away. My challenge to you is this: To have a conversation with your partner and talk about the differences between practical help and emotional support. • To have a think about what you need help with so that next time you are asked if you would like help you are able to say “yes please” • To ask for help when you need it and to be specific about what help you need • To have a conversation with your coffee or support group about asking for and receiving help and how it is for others • To remember the pleasure you feel when you are able to help someone else, just as they needed it.

Susan Goldstiver Registered Psychotherapist The Postnatal Distress Center 1 Taylors Rd, Mt Albert 09 8464978 or 021 333021

Who Are Well Women? Well Women is a group for women who are suffering from (undiagnosed or diagnosed) Postnatal Distress. We meet every week (during the school term) at a venue in Franklin and have a group discussion facilitated by a qualified Social Worker. We discuss anything that is ‘on top’ and playing on our minds. On three occasions throughout the term, we have a speaker who is invited to come along and share their expertise with us. This could be a clinical psychologist, dietician, someone specialising in bonding & attachment, play therapist, masseuse or anyone who might be able to assist with the path to recovery for PND sufferers. We are a Non-Profit Organisation who rely on sponsorship for childcare - an essential component in the effectiveness of the group sessions - and for other aspects of running the group. We welcome new members and offer an initial discussion with a social worker, who can assess the needs of an individual more effectively. Contact us via any of the following means: Phone: Kim Myhill - 0211588134 (daytime) Or 09 2328581 (evenings and weekends)

Our Supporters

Useful Contacts Phone Numbers

• Well Women: Phone: Kim Myhill 0211588134 (daytime) Or 09 2328581 (evenings and weekends); E-mail:; Blog: • Awhinatia Community Mental Health • • •

Please support those who support us! Bogaart's Hair Design & Tanning Studio 42 Edinburgh Street Pukekohe (09) 2388766

Tania Loveridge Hairdesign

Centre - 09 2951200 Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Phone: 09 300 7010 Lifeline - 09 5222 999 Manukau Community Mental Health Team 09 261 3700

With you the client in mind

Shop 4, Patumahoe Road Ph: 09 2363735 Mobile: 027 7222778

Pukekohe branch

Websites (Suicide Prevention) (Postnatal Psychosis support group) • • • • • • • • • • •

Pukekohe branch

Susan Goldstiver Psychotherapist 09 232 8581 or 0211 635 606 accommodation@881homestay 881 Tuakau Bridge – Port Waikato Road, Te Kohanga, Tuakau, RD3

Term Two Calendar Well Women sessions are available to those suffering from Postnatal Distress. You will need to be referred in to this group so please contact Kim Myhill on 021 1588134 (daytime) or 09 2328581 (evenings and weekends) or e-mail for further information

Week 1

Monday 27th April

Well Women group session

Week 2

Monday 4th May

Susan Goldstiver, Clinical Psychologist

Week 3

Monday 11th May

Well Women group session

Week 4

Monday 18th May

Well Women group session

Week 5

Monday 25th May

Well Women group session

Week 6

Monday 1st June

Public Holiday

Week 7

Monday 8th June

Well Women group session

Week 8

Monday 15th June

Well Women group session

Week 9

Monday 22nd June

Play Therapy

Week 10

Monday 29th June

Well Women group session

Speaker sessions are correct at the time of printing. They may be subject to change

If you have any suggestions or recommendations regarding speakers, please e-mail

Well Women Newsletter Term 2  

Newsletter for women and families struggling with ante and post natal distress