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Published:Saturday | May 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Yvonnie Bailey- Davidson, Contributor

Pregnant and mentaly ill

Dear Counsellor,

I am pregnant and am being treated for schizophrenia. I was diagnosed at age 25. I am glad for the pregnancy, but I am worried about the medication and its effects on the baby. My illness is under control, but I am on preventive medication. I am not depressed, but I am afraid.

- Johanna

Dear Johanna,

Many people with schizophrenia have children. An individual with schizophrenia has the same needs as others but needs to be supervised by family and doctors and other members of the health team. Some medication is reported as safe in pregnancy. Talk to your psychiatrist and obstetrician about these issues. People have needs for friendship, a spouse, a job, shelter, and family. It seems that you are on prophylactic medication and if you can't do without it, then you will need to continue with it.

It is stressful to have many children, so you will need help with them. Is your mother alive? She could help with the children so that you can work. It is not wise to have the children too close to each other because it will be stressful. Some women get depressed after the birth of their baby, so your health team needs to be aware of this and supervise you closely.

I hope that you are a praying person because you need to do this activity very often.

Parenting tips

Dear counsellor,

I would like some parenting tips for a five-year-old child.

- Maureen

Dear Maureen,

Discipline can seem rather challenging to parents. We all want kids who are healthy, productive, and wealthy in the fullness of time. Usually, children are explorers and can get themselves in deep trouble. As a parent, you need to provide close supervision and engage in conversation with your child. Safety is important. You will need to conceal medicines and poisonous substances. Your child should be told over and over again why he should not touch certain things. When your child is showing good behaviour, you need to recognise this and hug him. Children like attention - positive or negative. Catch him doing the right thing and praise him. Some persons use physical punishment, which can become abusive. Never correct your child when you are angry and upset.

Encourage conversation with your child about the proper way that to behave. Children learn quickly that you must do what others are doing and not what they say. Be a good role model and your child will follow you for better or worse.

Email questions and feedback for Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to yvonniebd@hotmail.com or call 978-8602.