The shock of childbirth - should there be more support for new mothers?

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So you've just given birth for the first time... The past 9 months have been spent fantasisning of being united with that little life that's been growing inside you.  You have been wanting to meet that little being that's been kicking away inside you. Your baby's room is decorated and filling it are clothes, nappies and a dozen pairs of scratch mitts that you'll never use. Whether you've had a joyous pregnancy or one that hasn't been the ride you were quite expecting, birth is the moment that many, seemingly slow, months have been building up to.

But as I said - you've just given birth for the first time. Chances are you are in shock. It's no secret that childbirth hurts however when you are pregnant you dismiss it slightly as 'women all over the world do it - it's can't be that bad'. School boy error!

Many women suffer mental trauma from childbirth, the first birth particularly and I wonder how closely post natal depression and post traumatic stress disorder are related?

So I have to ask the question - in an age where the government is pushing (and rightly so) to monitor and educate women over weight gain in pregnancy and supporting breast-feeding mothers, why is there no main stream emotional support for women who have given birth? And I'm talking  about support for everyone - from those who have had a horrendous, invasive birthing experience to those who did it without episiostomy or intervention.

If the government wants to help the PND rates this would surely be a good first step ? I myself suffered from Post Natal Depression on a few occasions - the last time horrifically so, it's awful to say but I wanted Ozzy to disappear, I didn't eat of drink for 7 days and cut off my own hair with blunt scissors - it was a dark, dark time for me and my family, and I'll be open and honest with you here - even now nearly 2 years after that episode of PND passed I still cannot bear to properly talk about the whole experience.

What do you think - were you supported emotionally and mentally after you gave birth?

Do you or did you feel that you needed to be?