Mothers need more support

Women often feel that they have nobody to turn to when parenthood overwhelms them

Abu Dhabi needs support groups that will help expatriate mothers to cope with the pressure of life. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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Many first-time mothers-to-be focus on the birth of their child. It is only after the birth that they begin to realise it was only the beginning. Some women suffer from postnatal depression and others from emotional issues. What complicates matters is that they have to perform so many domestic tasks, including caring for the new baby, while having to cope with these issues. The pressure can become too great. These challenges can be particularly daunting for expatriate women, who have to raise their newborns or toddlers without any support from their extended families. For them, getting emotional help is just as important as preparing the baby’s clothes. This is where the role of support groups such as Abu Dhabi Mums come in. As Louise White, the chairwoman, pointed out: “People feel that they are not being reached and they are not sure about what to expect and where to go.” Another Abu Dhabi group, Footprints in the Sand, helps families affected by miscarriage, still birth and neonatal death.

Unfortunately, there are not many like them. As The National reported yesterday, delegates to the annual Bright Start Conference on Women’s and Children’s Health has called for more help for new mothers, particularly expatriates.

It’s not just about access to information and medical support, but as the capital expands and the population increases, there will be a growing need for places where mothers can get together to talk, exchange experiences and ideas and simply get a break from the four walls of home. These could be informal places set up with some support from the Government, charities or companies. They could provide space and refreshments and also help arrange visiting speakers.

For many mothers, just the chance to have company and the ability to talk to somebody who is having a similar experience could make the world of difference. These places will also offer expatriate mothers the opportunity to interact with Emirati women, thereby fostering cultural understanding.