Archive | July, 2013

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The inconvenience – and beauty – of birth

Posted on 21 July 2013 by hulda

I have been a midwife for more than a decade now.  I have always loved my job and found great fulfilment in it.  There are days in between that I find it really hard and in terms of family and hobbies, it is very unfriendly.   Probably around 6 to 10 evenings or nights each month, plus one to two weekends each month are usually taken over by births or breastfeeding problems.  Additionally, we would like to go out on our boat a lot but very often cannot, as we need to be close by shore, should anyone go into labour.  As for Shenzhen trips or Macau weekends, – pretty much never possible.  Most holidays, my husband goes first with the children and is then joined by me. 

Recently I have been training for a 250 km Race in Iceland that will take place in 2 weeks.  This has taken its toll and pretty much all extra time, so my poor babies have been neglected by their mother as a result.  But even this is hard to do when on call.  Who wants a sweaty midwife who has been hiking in 30 degrees for hours, into their birthing room?  So all long distances have been on hold and it is stressful plus I need to have all my equipment with me for the homebirths, so I can never leave the car far away. 

A glass of wine?  Not so much.

A trip to Bali?  Not either.

Birthdays of my kids?  Seldom.

 

Each birth requires at least 4 weeks of commitment around it, and each one I also must hope that it does not overlap with another birth, therefore, not too many can be booked.  Additionally, each time there is a birth, there are usually around 5 to 10 other pregnant women who need to be rescheduled, some of which have come far away for their consultations with me. 

 

So from all of this, you can see that births and on-calls are highly „inconvenient“. 

 

Therefore, it pleases me immensely when I get to experience these same births eventually, with the families, and feel how this is all worth it.  I find it truly amazing to be a part of the experience where fear, pain, stress, noise etc. is NOT a part of labour, but rather it is replaced by some real Zen, peace and quiet.  The very peach that should surround every birth.  Where the parents are in the main role, as well as the baby, and the rest of us are bystanders that inspire and help, but don’t take over. 

Recently, I have together with my great team of other midwives and staff been very busy with births, including 2 homebirths and a few other births in hospitals, where luckily the doctors and medical team has been respectful and wonderfully professional to the families. 

Sitting there in the quiet, waiting for the births to unfold, giving it all the time it needed, is something that not everyone understands how important is. 

And seeing the little head slowly emerging and the parents quietly but enthusiastically gets the little baby into their hands and onto chest immediately, without any „procedures“needing to be done – just so important. 

Here in Hong Kong, there is so much need for support of normality in labour and birth.  Reading through Facebook pages, news, blogs etc. sometimes it saddens me how little support there is out there.  I read yesterday about myself as having „burnt my bridges with certain hospitals. “  Stories of my co-workers that have had the same are always regularly out there.  Not with any explanation of that IMG_6215these bridges are actually burnt while supporting  patients’ rights. It makes me tired and sad.

Although there are many who are also very supportive about normal births, these voices need to be louder. 

It does not all have to be about a natural birth.  It needs to be about good births, normality.  Support.  Women led – or family led care.  Based on the needs of the family.

I am proud to say that that is what midwifery is about.  This is why I love my work can proudly say that my whole team of midwives at Annerley also do.  We are a private practice that could so easily start to focus on the „inconvenience“ of births.  And make you think that you „need“ this and that.  But we don´t and I hope all of the families we have supported feel the same. 

Dear all mothers, fathers and babies – thank you once again for making it all worth it, allowing me and us to be a part of your births and for proving hundreds of times that births can be normal and peaceful, a good experience.  And for reminding us of that even if births are not very predictable, it is all completely worth it.

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allison heilczer

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Postnatal depression – symptoms and solutions

Posted on 15 July 2013 by hulda

A pregnant lady dreams of having a happy, healthy baby and becoming a mother who bonds easily with her baby. Despite the anticipated sleep deprivation and meltdowns, she looks forward to profound moments of joy with her baby.

Baby blues

She gives birth, and that fine line between pregnancy and motherhood disappears: she enters a role that changes her forever. With this change, she probably experiences the “baby blues” — a condition that more than half of women experience. She may feel sad, anxious, overwhelmed, find herself crying sometimes, questioning whether she is a good mother, and not be able to sleep or eat well. After a few days or weeks, though, these symptoms typically subside. The mother, albeit tired, feels like the baby blues’ veil has lifted.

Postnatal depression

But, what if that veil does not lift? What if she finds herself feeling depressed for a few weeks or months afterward? About 10-20% of women develop postnatal depression, and although it can show up soon after delivery, it may also appear any time during the first year. And, while postnatal depression is most common in women, men may also develop it.

Here are some common symptoms of postnatal depression, but please note: postnatal depression is not one-size-fits-all, and this list is not exhaustive; if you suspect postnatal depression, then please talk to a healthcare professional.

  1. Loss/Increase in appetite 
  2. Insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time
  3. Overwhelming fatigue and irritability
  4. Lack of joy
  5. Feeling guilty or shameful and often alone
  6. Trouble bonding with the baby
  7. Withdrawing from friends/family
  8. Loss of interest in sex
  9. Desire to harm one’s self and/or the baby
  10. Difficult concentrating and memory loss

Parents often wonder what causes postnatal depression in the first place. Even though it can manifest in a parent with no history of depression, the likelihood of developing it increases with a history of personal and/or family depression, depression during pregnancy, having a complicated pregnancy and/or delivery, having little or no support from one’s partner, financial or other stress, and having a sick and/or colicky baby. The fluctuation in hormones after giving birth is also thought to contribute to postnatal depression.

What to do if postnatal depression is suspected

First, know you are not alone, and it is treatable. To be treated, you need to be screened by a professional. Oftentimes, a combination of medication and talk therapy is suggested albeit treatment must be tailored to an individual’s needs.

At Annerley, we know there is a need for women to share their experiences with postnatal depression, and starting in August 2013, we are launching our postnatal depression group. In it, women will explore their emotions in a secure, confidential space with other mothers. There will also be a practical component to this group including tools to promote healing.

While postnatal depression is a condition no mother wishes for herself, help is available, and growth is possible.

allison heilczer

Allison Heiliczer, Annerley psychotherapist, runs the Postnatal Depression Group and offers private consultations to support mothers.

By Allison Heiliczer

Click to learn more about the Annerley Postnatal Depression Group.

 

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Being a natural mother: Postnatal depression and the baby blues

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Being a natural mother: Postnatal depression and the baby blues

Posted on 13 July 2013 by hulda

 

Playtimes Maternal instinct articleOur culture sets the bar high when it comes to being a natural mother, but the truth is that most mothers struggle a little bit, and some mothers – some research puts the number as high as 1 in 5 – suffer postnatal depression.

In this article in Playtimes, Hulda talks about the the maternal instinct and suggests that while many aspects of mother’s love may be inborn, nature does need a helping hand from a ‘nurturing’ community, whether it be from  mothers, friends or aunts – or midwives.  Hulda says: “It is sometimes harder to feel the empowerment of maternal love when you are isolated – and sometimes you need support from others to be able to enjoy the relationship with your baby even more.” This is particularly true for expatriate women who may not have the support that they may have had back home.

Hulda also suggests that perhaps we are our own worst enemies, trying to do it all too soon. Hulda provides advice on how to slow down, and manage your own and others’ expectations.

Finally, Hulda also outlines some of the risk factors for postnatal depression so that high-risk mothers can be more aware, and take preventive action if possible.

Read the full article online : Playtimes – Basic Instinct

Other parenting resources

  • Postnatal Group – Starting in August 2013, Allison will start a postnatal depression group. This will only be open to women suffering from postnatal depression. The goal is for women to have a safe environment to explore emotions and also connect with others going through similar experiences. In addition, there will be a practical component to the group, which will include tools to aid in healing.If you think you are a candidate for this group, please email Allison. Allison@annerley.com.hk
  • Article - Simple Steps to Joyful Parenting.   Tip 1: Switch Your Focus  - Spend 5 minutes each day focusing on all the things in your life that are good and positive and beautiful. We have become so used to dwelling on our problems and our pain that it’s no wonder we struggle to see the joy in every moment. Read more.
  • Article – The Seven Secrets of Motherhood. Orla Breeze writes: “I’m really putting myself on the line here. I may even end up being excommunicated from the Church of All Mothers but darn it, I’m going to reveal the secrets of motherhood. Yes I know I’m not supposed to but hey, rules were made to be broken so hang on to your baby flab because here we go…”. Read more

 

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