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Love & Fear – its impact on Mental Health

Birth Preparation

To begin this short essay on mental health I’ll start with two important questions.

Can the Calmbirth prenatal education classes make a positive contribution to the mental health of pregnant couple’s as well as to the children of the next generation?

And, what has happened to our humanity over recent times to create such an epidemic of mental health problems?

Those two questions are worth exploring during the month of October, which has been designated as Mental health month. Here are a few thoughts for people to consider, that is, if they elect to do so about this incredibly vast complex topic of mental health viewed from my perspective as a Calmbirth educator and from my background within the nursing profession over the past 45 years.

Addressing the second question first… According to statistics it would seem that the numbers of mental health problems globally are increasing at an alarming rate. To begin, here is a snapshot from available statistical information from various sources. The World Health Organization (WHO) soberly outlines just how immense the problem has become. In 2017 (WHO) estimated that 586 million people are living with depression and anxiety and that 800,000 people die globally each year from suicide.

The Australian organization, Beyond Blue, in 2016 reported that over 3,000 people between the ages of 15 & 44 die annually in Australia from suicide and it is estimated by the year 2030 depression will be the leading cause of disability and death. [1]The Australian broadcast commission, (ABC) our own ABC’s TV and Radio network fact check department shows that one in 11 people (1,927, 900) have been subjected to violence by a partner since the age of 15… the breakdown is one in six women (1,479,900) and one in 20 men (448,000) [2]And domestic violence certainly comes under the umbrella of serious mental health problems.

The above statistics of global mental health problems paint an overwhelming and tragic picture and just only in several of the diagnostic classifications relating to people’s mental health. Repeating the question, what has happened to our humanity over recent times to create such an epidemic of mental health problems?

One could reason there are multiple factors that are contributing to this bleak picture. To name a few one could say poverty, ignorance, wars, injustice, addictions (i.e. Alcoholism, Gambling, drugs both illicit and prescribed, to name a few addictions) and corruption at many levels, and I’m also sure the breakdown and breakup of many family units.

One can check the Australian Bureau of statistics for an overview of the divorce rates during the last two decades. The figures are disturbing, just one example, in 2015 alone there was 48,517 divorces granted in Australia.  And I’m sure that where the circumstances surrounding the divorce of the parents was not a very amicable separation, then no doubt their children will have been affected mentally and emotionally. I’m sure many of the above mention factors as well as others factors play a major part in this bleak snapshot of what is happening to the mental health of humanity in this present time globally.

Returning now to question one… Can the Calmbirth prenatal education classes make a positive contribution to the mental health of pregnant couple’s as well as to the children of the next generation?

As Individuals, one cannot tackle the whole world’s mental health problems. On the other hand, one can make a positive contribution in the profession where one is planted. As Calmbirth educators we have an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the mental health of the couples who attend our classes and therefore one could reason to the next generation.

I think it is correct to say that over, and through a long period of time many different components will be needed to securely assemble an individual’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Which in time this more mentally together person’s contribution will then ripple out into the community where he/she lives in the relationships they form and the contribution to the community they live in.  And like any structure a foundation is essential if the structure is to stand and thrive.

Contemporary science convincingly demonstrates that the foundation of an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health is predominantly shaped for each individual during their in-womb experiences, their birth experience and the first six years of their life. Yes, one could safely say this is where the foundations of an individual’s physical, emotional and mental health is being arranged and laid down if one looks through the lens of a holistic model of health

Calmbirth prenatal classes are designed to address the mental and emotional aspects of relationships… During the classes, the Calmbirth educator provides the couples with knowledge and teaches them skills that can allow each individual, each couple a number of opportunities for healing of mental and emotional problems.

The goals of Calmbirth classes can be outlined in the following way:

  • To reduce fear and or anxiety about childbirth through knowledge.
  • To highlight the importance of fostering positive relationships with each other and their baby during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond.
  • To teach couples effective tools that will allow them to work together as a team during the labour and birth process and encourage them continue to consolidate their ongoing loving relationship with each other and their baby during, and within the journey of parenthood over the rest of their life time.
  • One could say that the Calmbirth classes are therapeutic in nature and it is within this therapeutic calm atmosphere and caring environment created by the Calmbirth educator that healing of mental and emotional problems is facilitated and accomplished by the individual/couples within themselves. Those particular goals of Calmbirth and final few thoughts bring one back full circle to question one…

Can the Calmbirth prenatal education classes make a positive contribution to the mental health of pregnant couple’s as well as to the children of the next generation?

Personally, I have received a great deal of feedback from many couples that their attendance at Calmbirth classes has indeed assisted them greatly in the area of their mental and emotional health. I’d like to end this short essay with a few words of wisdom echoed by two biologists based on their scientific research, insights that have been offered by mystics, poets, and song writers for thousands of years…

Chilean Biologist Humberto Maturana states…“Love is the one emotion that expands intelligence”[3]

Bruce Lipton states…”The most important growth factor for a human being is love. Love is what provides harmony to the system, love is an energy that coordinates make the community a whole functioning system”.[4]

On the other hand, Lipton will demonstrate that fear causes the system to pull itself apart and go into protection. One could argue that underlying many mental and emotional health problems there is a great deal of fear.

So, Calmbirth educators keep spreading the love and in doing so you are making a real contribution to the mental health of couples, their babies and the community as a whole.  

References

[1]Sources: Australian Midwifery news, Vol 17 Spring 2017 P 45: Emma Hill, student midwife: & From Mathers CD, Loncar D. Projections of global mortality and burden of disease from 2002 to 2030. PLoS Med. 2006 Nov;3(11): e442 information from a PowerPoint Presentation by Dr Craig Hassed Calmbirth conference Cronulla 2017 [2]ABC: Fact file: Domestic violence in Australia Fact Check has scrutinised the available data on domestic violence and talked to experts to present this guide to what the data does, and does not, show. [3]Words spoken from the Documentary, “People V the state of illusion” [4]Words spoken in the documentary Nature, Nurture and the Power of Love

 

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