Monthly Archives: July 2014

They call it the baby blues

I’ve been thinking about postnatal depression and how it is often called the baby blues. That makes it sound like an interlude of melancholy between bouts of normal parenting. Postnatal depression is so far from this: it can be terrifying, bleak and overwhelming, and all the more so for it being such a hard thing to talk to others about.

I read the blog of a young women suffering from postnatal depression who described how she’s terrified to talk about it, but at the same time, she wants others to know what she’s going through. For her postnatal depression isn’t about the bond someone has with their baby and their ability to parent, or the inability to cope with a huge life change. For her it’s about her fear that she’s a terrible mother. She worries that her baby doesn’t like her, and these thoughts keep her up at night. She feels detached from the world; that she’s failing her child. At her absolute worst, she thinks about harming her baby, and then about taking her own life.

Being able to talk to others about feelings like that is enormously daunting, particularly when facing the fear that you might be seen as an risk to your own child or even have your baby taken away. When postnatal depression is discussed, people’s ignorance and judgemental attitudes sometimes come out. This young woman had friends tell her that post natal depression ‘is just tiredness’, that those suffering ‘just need to snap out of it’, ‘need to realise how lucky they are’, and, the absolute worst, ‘some people don’t deserve to be parents’.

I’m reminded again of how much we can fear other people’s mental anguish. When it’s hard to understand it’s so much easier to just condemn or dismiss. We need to always remember that no one with post natal depression is suffering through choice, no one wants post natal depression. And that those suffering can be helped through their suffering: what they will need is the compassion, acceptance and kindness of those they love and the help and understanding of professionals.

Meditation Flashmobs

Recently I stumbled across an article on a meditation flashmob. I’m intrigued by the idea of all these very different people gathering in public places to join together in what is usually a private, solitary pursuit.

You might be wondering, what is a meditation flashmob? A meditation flashmob is a gathering of people that sit in meditation in a public location, usually no longer than an hour. They are organised a month before via social media: Meetup.com and the Wake Up London weekly newsletter.

The intention is to raise awareness of meditation in public, unite people from all backgrounds, cultures and faiths together and send positive intentions out to the world. These individuals come together to celebrate their very real capacity to generate peace here and now: this being the peace of meditation that they can offer to our cities and to the world.

What has the response been like so far? What was the first one like? The first one surprisingly had a big turn-out. It was in the middle of Trafalgar Square on a hot Thursday evening in June 2011. Not long after the event invitation was set up, it seemed like it went viral; hundreds of people signed up to attend week after week.

One of the participants described, when it was time to start, sitting down in the middle of Trafalgar Square. A bell was sounded. When she opened her eyes to join in the sound bath (which is when everyone can chant sounds together towards the end), to her amazement, there were hundreds of people sitting in concentric circles around her. She had never imagined that being in the middle of Trafalgar Square could feel this peaceful.

The flash mob finished with three sounds of the bell, and she opened her eyes again and looked around, feeling so much gratitude to the people sitting so beautifully around her.

What a simple, powerful, unusual way to celebrate our capacity to create peace within ourselves!