Your first breath. Your first gaze. Your first cry. You have just departed from the security of mums womb. You are in a room full of voices you do not recognise. It’s cold. You cry louder. Suddenly you feel something. You recognise her smell. You have spent 9 months inside her, you were created inside her, feeling her emotions, listening to the sound of her voice. You will feel soothed as soon as you are close to her again, as soon as you feel her…but, she does not want to hold you.
For most women who become mothers, that is not how they feel after giving birth. They feel: joy (finally 9 months later and it’s all worth it !); relief (for some mothers this was their 4th IVF attempt-they can hardly believe they are holding their baby); empowered (I can do this again. Now!). Most have no qualms about nursing, they respond to baby’s cry, they are attentive to baby’s cues. However, for 10% of pregnant women, and 13% of new mothers who experience a mental health disorder, primarily depression, pregnancy and motherhood are a period of fear, anxiety and panic (WHO). In Greece, it is unknown how many of these women or new mothers, seek help in order to treat this most common pregnancy complication.
Motherhood has deep roots embedded in Greek culture. Despite this, womens health services adamantly exclude awareness and treatment of mental health disorders. The need for evidence-based practices drawing from attachment theory, developmental psychology, and neuroscience for maternal and infant mental health is paramount.
SOPHROSYNA’s core is the infant-that new life that cannot yet speak for itself but can feel far more than we are able to understand.