Maternal and child healthcare has always been a stigmatized topic in India. On a broader level, any topic surrounding women has been stigmatized outside of up to Tier 3 cities. Getting back to the topic, problems surrounding maternal and child healthcare have existed since humanity has, but India has failed to recognize them and still blames it on the women or the child.
Problems surrounding postpartum depression and perinatal depression, which are sometimes used interchangeably but differ in the timing of the depressive episode onset that usually s tarts during the pregnancy itself and affects the mother after the delivery, are neither talked about nor common knowledge. Abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, preeclampsia, preterm labor etc. are still considered taboo in most parts of India and hospitals aren’t equipped to deal with it. The fact that going to therapy might give you the label ‘pagal’ and still kept a secret gives you a very good outlook on how the situation is for women who need therapy after a miscarriage or stillbirth but never receive it because of this stigma and worrying about what society will say or think. Women are often blamed for miscarriage when in reality it is out of their control and more traumatizing for them than for anyone else. They should be treated with the most care and concern and need therapy to get over the loss of a child they carried. They often start blaming themselves and doubt if they’ll ever have a child, which is the last thing they need. They need support and encouragement; they need both physical and mental care.
Society often thinks that all mothers have baby blues and should be obsessed behind their child but that’s not the case for mothers going through postpartum depression have a ‘disinterest’ in their child because of which they get labelled as a cold mother when they are beating themselves up and have feelings of guilt for not being able to take care of their child.
India raises children on age old beliefs and customs that are not suited for this day and age. They assume that the simplified life of the yesteryears hasn’t changed and the social pressure and the weight of the expectations of their family to achieve doesn't affect a child mentally, but it does. A lot of people in college joke about how they’ve gone through a traumatic childhood and the surprise on their face when they hear that I enjoyed my childhood reveals how the social pressure has affected them badly. It’s honestly very frustrating to hear that they have not gotten the mental care they needed and that parents have failed to recognize what they might’ve done unconsciously and ended up scaring someone they loved for life. India needs to start adopting research that has been done in the west proving how every child has different needs and there is no one formula to raise a child, they need to adapt to their children’s needs. A child born with Autism or Down Syndrome is labelled as ‘defective’ and seen as a failure on the mother and the child which is messed up. We the youngsters need to change it; we need to realize the importance of maternity and child healthcare. Although I haven’t even begun to touch on the lack of physical capabilities in hospitals because it’s an issue that is far larger and far more complicated than can be covered in a short article. The mental aspect has just been touched upon and is much deeper where I would encourage you all to research yourself, it’s a real eye opener.