Friday, 12 September 2008

Marce Society Conference - Friday

Today began with a paddle and walk on the beach with my room mate Jane. One of those moments that I knew I did not miss teaching!

We got smartened up and then had a wonderful breakfast at The Manly Pacific hotel hosted by The Gidget Foundation, which was officially launched in November 2002 and since its inception has raised over $270,000 to support established organisations supporting woman and those around them affected by Perinatal Anxiety and Depression.

The main speaker was Deborah Thomas, editor of the Australian Woman's Weekly who gave a very moving account of her personal suffering. She also stressed her eagerness to help save lives by spreading awareness of postnatal illness so I gave her my details!

Then it was the main conference with a great keynote address by Atif Rahman from Liverpool University. He gave a wonderful presentation about his work in Pakistan and a study to deliver a psychological intervention to depressed mothers and their infants through non-specialist village based health workers. This report was due to be published the next day in The Lancet.

Next was Jane Ussher from the University of Western Sydney who gave us 'Rejecting Raging Hormones: The Socio-Cultural Construction and Experience of Reproductive Distress'.
See her books at,%20Jane%20M

I attended a session called 'A brush with death' which was about women's experience of significant postpartum haemorrhage, by Jane Thompson. This was especially of interest to me as I had suffered this when Dominic was born. In written comments women reported fear and trauma; heightened anxiety; sense of failure, loss and disappointment; disempowerment. Postpartum symptoms included excessive fatigue and fear of future pregnancy/birth. Women also questioned clinical decisions and care. Women reported some post-traumatic stress symptoms. Conclusions were that women experiencing PPH are at risk of hysterectomy, readmission to hospital in the 4 months postpartum and report symptoms of post-traumatic stress. They may need clinical review and follow-up. But basically more TLC and information!!

After lunch I listened to Timothy O'Leary from Frances Perry House, Melbourne, talking about his 'Father's Time Program'.
Fathers in these groups are encouraged to be positively anchored during times of stress - a frank, open discussion about these issues leaves pre-natal fathers feeling much more purposeful about their transition to parenthood than simply encouraging fathers to 'get involved'.

There was opportunity to view the many posters, including one from the support group of which I am patron.

The evening was spent amongst an international group of 6 Americans, 2 French, 1 Dutch and me from the UK. We had a wonderful meal at the end of Cabbage Tree Walk in Le Kiosk.

Kathy Wisner and Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal who are the next two Marce Presidents were amongst the merry dinners! We discussed the next two conferences to be held in Pittsburgh in 2010 and Paris in 2012!

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