I have not written much this year but I come back with exciting news and a refreshed mind and focus. My previous post on Zimbabwean Birth Stories steered me onto a journey that has been incredible and worthy. From discussions with many pregnant women, new and old mothers, I stumbled upon an issue that I felt needed urgent attention. Post Natal Depression (PND). Sigh.
Time to speak out about Post Natal Depression.
It is never easy to talk about any sort of mental illness within our Zimbabwean and African communities in general. Riddled with whispers of witchcraft and curses, mental illness becomes a taboo subject by default. A private matter that most families would rather sweep under the carpet. What hope is there then when mental illness affects a new mother? What happens then when the maternal instinct, that is expected to kick in when a mother holds her baby, does not kick in? What impact does this have on the mother? On the baby? On the father? On the rest of the family? I had to find out.
In conjunction with HonaAfrica.com, we produced this short documentary, Am I Not A Mother? with the aim to give women affected by PND a voice.
The HonaAfrica team and I, are pleased with the overwhelming response to the documentary. Using the hashtag #PNDinZim on Twitter, dialogue has been ongoing and encouraging. On Facebook, response has been fantastic as many other mothers share their stories. I am encouraged that our main aim of raising awareness and acknowledging that PND exists within our Zimbabwe community has been successful.
…imprisoned feelings, mental torture, barbed hope…