ABSTRACT

In the United Kingdom many women entering motherhood feel unhappy. Between 2% and 6% of them will be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more than 20% will be diagnosed with postnatal depression and treated with antidepressants. Most of these women will not need the provision of pharmacological resolutions for what, in effect, is a dissonance that arises from being fed imagery and lies about the joys, and not the realities, of motherhood. Pregnant women can attend labour preparation classes and still not be prepared for what might be a traumatic birth. Coping strategies and effective support need to be prioritised by midwives and maternity management structures in order to prepare women undergoing these transitions in a realistic and truthful manner. The technological focus of Western society undervalues the pragmatic needs of mothers, leading to a destabilisation of their emotional health and a reduction of their confidence in themselves as they negotiate these transitions.