Post natal group gives mums hope

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 07:01 14/11/2012

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The birth of a child is one of the greatest joys one can experience, but for some women this can result in anxiety and depression as a result of perinatal distress.

The causes of this distress, which includes postnatal depression, are unclear but there are a range of risk factors, such as illness during pregnancy or a difficult pregnancy or birth.

"It can also happen to people who have none of these risk factors," said Post Natal Depression (PND) Marlborough co-ordinator Jordie Kotze.

"I suffered with postnatal depression with my third child. There was no real reason."

Some 15 to 20 per cent of woman, or about 100 in Marlborough, suffer from perinatal distress, she said.

She explained that the PND trust was set up in March last year after a group of family councillors and mental health workers saw a need further support for women who had suffered with perinatal distress.

"The brain is a slow healer and while you can recover from perinatal distress in six months, you often need a few years of support after that, and that is what this trust is about," Jordie said.

The trust provides ongoing support through a weekly group for mums called Stepping Stones, held at St Andrews Church on Wednesdays from 10am till 11.30am. There are activities to keep little ones busy while their mums chat.

The trust also offers evening presentations to early childhood centres to help educate the community and raise awareness.

"When I was suffering with postnatal depression there wasn't any support, which made it very tough, but now there is a good support network for mums to turn to," said Jordie.

They are fundraising for a proposed perinatal family support centre, to be run in conjunction with other community groups.

November 19 to 25 is Perinatal Mental Health New Zealand Awareness Week, with PND Marlborough taking part through a buggy walk and picnic next Saturday, November 24, from 11am, at the Picton foreshore.

They will also run a street appeal, raffle and stall on Friday, November 23 in Blenheim's CBD.

For more information contact Jordie Kotze on 03 578 0318, 027 326 6070, Rozanna McDonald on 03 578 6491, email pndmarl borough@hotmail.co.nz or see PND Marlborough Charitable Trust on Facebook.

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- The Marlborough Express

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