Very often, motherhood is very different from what we expect. For some new moms, who see anxiety and depression creep into their lives, the contrast is even greater. As part of Bell Let’s Talk Day, Canal Vie is broadcasting this Wednesday Mom, why are you crying?, a documentary directed by Jessica Barker.
Posted at 6:00 a.m.
Updated at 8:11 a.m.
Émilie, Stéphanie, Sarah and Cathy (Gauthier, the humorist) are four women for whom motherhood was not populated by unicorns but rather by anxiety, symptoms linked to depression, even psychosis for some. Losing contact with reality, one had to be hospitalized after giving birth. Another was faced with the heartbreaking choice of terminating two pregnancies because her overreaction to hormones put her health at risk.
Cathy Gauthier, who had already confided in her postpartum depression, returns to this episode in the documentary. “For me, the suffering was: you have your knee open and it bleeds, launches the one who became a mother in 2018. But depression does not bleed. If, overnight, you started bleeding from your eyes, the world would take it seriously. However, 20 years after the publication of the work Mom, why are you crying? by the French child psychiatrist Jacques Dayan, research, care and mentalities have changed little, noted Jessica Barker at a press conference.
In the weeks following childbirth, 70 to 80% of women experience irritability, mood swings or concentration problems, underlines in the film the Dre Tuong Vi Nguyen, from the McGill University Health Centre, specializing in reproductive psychiatry. This is called the “baby blues”. One in five women who have severe “baby blues” will develop depression.
Mother of two daughters, Jessica Barker did not experience what the women in her film testify to. Rather, it is the story of her neighbor who was the spark plug. “I was flabbergasted when she told me what she was going through. »
This documentary, initiated and hosted by Jessica Barker and directed by Patricia Beaulieu, is broadcast as part of Bell Let’s Talk Day, an initiative to encourage conversation around mental health. ” [La santé mentale périnatale], it’s a subject that we don’t talk about, ”lamented Jessica Barker, in an interview.
I found it strong as an image. We are each on one side of the street. We have the same socioeconomic reality, as a couple for a long time, two children, and she is going through something difficult while I have absolutely nothing.
In an interview, the Dre Tuong Vi Nguyen, who herself went through postpartum depression after the birth of her son, says about half of women who develop mental health issues after childbirth are on their first episode.
There are biological factors like genetics and hormones, but also external factors. “Characteristics valued in society like working a lot, being a perfectionist, when applied to motherhood, it can create a deceleration injury, explains the Dre Nguyen. We try to slow down to get to the rhythm of the child, but we also want to be efficient and up to par. »
As a demonstration of the taboo that surrounds the subject, Jessica Barker’s neighbor refused to testify. “She didn’t want to be on camera, but she wanted this film to exist,” explained the host. Let’s be there for our neighbours. We have to take the pressure off them that it’s their fault. Mental health, you don’t choose it to fall on you. […] We don’t know what will happen to us, but let’s be there for each other. »
Some and not only some, since it is a subject that does not only concern women. In the film, a father recounts how he and his wife went through this ordeal in solitude. Host and producer Jean-Philippe Dion also recounts his daily life alongside a mother struggling with mental health problems. “It’s important that guys see the film, if only to realize that it’s one of the things that can happen,” argues Jessica Barker. The place of men is to be warriors in this context. They’re going to have to fight for their wives to have care, to take care of their babies, and to pay attention to their own mental health. Since they are not safe either.
For women in distress, it can be difficult to find help. If she did not want to put this reality at the heart of her project, Jessica Barker nevertheless hopes that it will fuel the discussion and increase the pressure.
The film presents the Grande Ourse pilot project, which was set up by the CHU Sainte-Justine to improve screening and management of mental health problems in women during the perinatal period.
However, it is currently the only initiative of its kind in Quebec. In the meantime, women are directed to LigneParents, 811, their family doctor or their CLSC.
An accessibility problem that the Dre Tuong Vi Nguyen. “We are so overwhelmed by the demand. We are nine reproductive psychiatrists in Quebec. We are not in all the centers. Women often have to wait several months before getting an appointment.
“The more we normalize it by saying that it is one of the things that can happen, the more there will be early diagnoses, believes Jessica Barker. If no one told you that it could happen to you, you just think you’re incompetent, that you’re a bad mother. That’s what pains me the most. »
January 26 at 7 p.m. at Canal Vie. Catching up on Crave and Noovo. that.