This is the first of the Why It Matters series that I have read, and I am deeply impressed that so much insightful information is packed into this densely thoughtful little book, although I feel that it may have the wrong title. I feel this because any new parent or parent-to-be could learn a huge amount about what they might feel or be feeling, why this happens, and many strategies to protect against or cope with it.
Psychologist Mia Scotland creates a very vivid picture of what perinatal depression is, for those who have never experienced it, and then sets it firmly in its cultural context. The central theme here is support, the concept of the village that it takes to raise a child, and how hard it is in these modern times to manage without this. Her writing style is strong and clear, and she includes a great explanation of research and evidence, and the limitations of applying these to individual circumstances. I found the whole book to be excellently evidence-based and sensible, and at the same time striking a mother-centred and deeply feminist tone.
Even though the section on actual therapy for perinatal depression is quite small, the book offers a range of preventative strategies that would certainly be useful for most new parents. Rather than simply exhorting the mother to seek support or take care of herself, Scotland has plenty of practical ideas about how she can do this, and how other people can help.
This is a sensible, informative book, which I would recommend to parents, expectant parents, and people who work with parents: an absolute must-read.
[Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of Why Perinatal Depression Matters, which you can obtain from the publisher’s website here.]