No Mother is Alone: A New Clinic Provides Emotional Treatment Prior and After Pregnancy at the Bnai Zion Medical Center

Fueled by the fusion of a need and our purposeful intention, this new clinic seeks to change the perception in order to shape the reality revolving around a pressing issue in Israeli society. Noting the societal misconceptions surrounding post-delivery depression among new mothers, the Bnai Zion Medical Center decided act on the side of proactivity. Accordingly, we recently opened a clinic with the two-pronged goal of raising social awareness of post-delivery depression and treating post-delivery depression.

The clinic combines a slew of interdisciplinary treatments including psychiatric evaluation, medication and alternative treatments including homeopathic, guided meditation, hypnosis and other treatments bent on minimizing emotional symptoms.

"During pregnancy and following delivery, many women suffer from emotional disorders and distress as a result of the significant changes in hormones as well as the drastic physical symptoms which come along with the pregnancy process," explains Dr. Odile Robicsek, Head of the Mental Health Unit at the Bnai Zion Medical Center. Dr. Robicsek elaborates that "during pregnancy, symptoms of depression and anxiety may occur as a result of the many challenges involving the feminine affiliation, complex relationships with their spouses, lack of psycho-social support, feelings of insecure and blame, fears from the expected delivery, concerns to the baby etc. The delivery causes a significant change among couples along with the need to build again the family balance, support and the new roles inside the family.” The pregnancy processes as well as the process of becoming a new mother are the two most emotionally, physically, psychologically and mentally exhausting processes a woman could possibly go through. Soon-to-be new mothers and new mothers in Israel needed a clinic to give them the tools to fight what is now being called Baby Blues.

Baby Blues is a condition exceedingly common among new mothers. Thirty to seventy percent of mothers express symptoms of this condition in various degrees. Our goal at the clinic is to create awareness in order to give community members the tools they need to identify this condition- so we can treat it.

Symptoms of Baby Blues in new mothers often manifest themselves through changing moods without reason and/or hyper-apprehension surrounding routine activities. The difficulty surrounding this condition is that symptoms often subside within a day, thus leaving no need for treatment. However, all signs related to the symptoms of Baby Blues must be taken very seriously.

Despite the ambiguity surrounding this condition, experts all agree on the fact that no mother is immune from this condition- and this new clinic was designed to meet the needs of our diverse Israeli citizens we treat at the Bnai Zion Medical Center. Baby Blues affects women of all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. If a new mothers moods remains low or rapidly deteriorates, there is need to seek evaluation and emotional treatment.

Postpartum Depression occurs in ten to fifteen percent of women who express sleeping disorders, lack of appetite, low mood, lack of functioning or even thoughts regarding death. Many studies have proven that Postpartum Depression increases the ability for returning to the blues of depressions past.

According to Dr. Robicsek, due to lack of knowledge and social stigma surrounding this very serious condition, many women are left undiagnosed. Without a diagnosis, treatment cannot occur. However, beyond whether or not a diagnosis occurs, the lack of societal knowledge surrounding this statistically prevalent condition has kept tens of thousands of women from seeking treatment. The stakes for the mother, newly born baby and entire family could not be greater. Hence, treatment or the mere seeking of treatment could be the difference between life and death.

Beside possible threat of death, many researches indicate the irreversible damage that could occur when this condition is not treated. The damage of the cognitive and motoric development of the baby and the effect on the emotional bonding between the mother and her baby are just two of the extremely hazardous risks, which are likely to manifest themselves when this condition remains unnoticed or untreated.

At our new clinic, the treatment for emotional disorders prior to and after delivery is designed for the mothers, but also for their families in order to build the necessary supportive family unit. This is built on the consensus among experts that the family unit is just as dependent on mothers as mothers are dependent on the family unit. Hence, the web of family interdependency points towards the mounted seriousness and attention that this condition deserves. Medication is provided to mothers upon psychiatric evaluation. Due to the fact that the medication goes through breast milk, the process of prescribing medicine is done in collaboration with a breastfeeding consultant and a pediatrician.

Dr. Robicsek explains that in most cases there is no need for medications as early intervention mixed with proper psychosocial treatment may improve the emotional symptoms without reverting to medicine.

Dr. Robicsek and her associates believe that emotional treatments along with alternative procedures of the complementary medicine can play a significant role in fighting emotional symptoms.

The Mental Health Unit at the Bnai Zion Medical Center believes in the collaboration between the conventional and complementary medicine brings healing to patients as well as the greater family unit.

We are ready to educate, raise awareness and treat the new mothers of tomorrow and beyond!

Ahava Children Perform for President Rivlin

A core value of Israeli society is caring for its most vulnerable citizens and populations. Attempting to transform lives from darkness to lives of light, value and promise is a central and contiguous goal of Israeli society. The State of Israel is blessed to have slew of organizations fighting for the lives of at risk youth.

Recently, Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises, an organization that uses soccer as medium for teaching unity and respect, gathered together organizations dedicated on a joint mission of helping Israel's youth. Mifalot is chaired by former Member of Knesset Avraham Burg who hosted the event- along with a very special guest.

President Reuven Rivlin was also present and spoke about the future we are all building together for greater Israel, an Israel that builds itself starting with the youth, our youth, the future of Israel.

Present at the event was our very own singing group from Ahava Youth Village! Together, singing in unity, our family at the Ahava Youth Village! The President loved the stylings of the Ahava choir and showed great enthusiasm dancing and moving around the room

The event further illustrates the hope organizations like Mifalot and our very own Ahava Youth Village are creating for the State of Israel and its citizens.

Despite the challenges the participants of Ahava Youth Village face, those challenges were out shined by the light of praise and inspiration given to them by their very own President as he danced and smiled at the music they created for him, not as individuals, but as a collective.

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