Postnatal Depression occurs when a woman experiences a strong feeling of despondency following childbirth. The symptoms for this type of depression can include a mother’s difficulty bonding with her infant, as well as a disconnection with her family and society. Mothers tend to blame themselves, and lack the will to do things they used to enjoy.
According to the World Health Organization, 20% of women in developed countries suffer from Postnatal Depression. In addition, American Psychological Association’s data show that as many as 1 in every 7 women are affected by this depression.
Handikos Mitrovica was able to offer this counselling program to help women with support from the Kosovo Women’s Fund (KWF). “Depression in Mothers of Children with Disabilities and People with Disabilities” initiative, helped 47 mothers and their special-needs children.
“Ever since I was put in contact with Handikos Mitrovica and participated in the sessions and meetings hosted by this organization, I have received a lot of help. Sometimes when I’m not in a good mood, but I cannot come to the meetings, I try to remember how we have been advised to keep calm”. These feelings were expressed by a mother who has a child with disabilities, during a group session organized by Handikos Mitrovica, in December 2018.
Xhevahire Balaj, a psychologist for Diakone Kosovo, emphasized that Postpartum Depression is caused by hormonal changes from giving birth. The depression can get worse if the new-born baby is disabled.
“Mothers put themselves last, giving their utmost to the child’s care they deem to see that child as the centre of everything”, stated one woman present.
Direct beneficiaries of this initiative were the mothers of children with disabilities and the young people with disabilities. During this four-month initiative, the topics as follows were discussed: Postnatal Depression signs and symptoms and its way of manifesting, identification and expression of the emotions, embracing a positive approach for stress coping, evocation of positive life experiences and the application of relaxing techniques.
Participants expressed their gratitude for this initiative, which took place for the first time in the Municipality of Mitrovica.
Myrvete Hasani, Executive Director of Handikos Mitrovica highlighted that these meetings proved to be a crucial help for mothers and people with disabilities.
The following recommendation emerged from this initiative:
To establish counselling in health institutions, respectively in the Gynaecology Department, where others of children with disabilities will have the opportunity for counselling and support from a psychologist / social worker. This recommendation will be sent to the relevant local and central institutions. In order to advocate for the opening of counselling centres in health institutions, Hasani held several meetings with representatives of the Municipality of Mitrovica as well.