Reviewed By: Jamie Michele

Shining the Light on PND: The Journey From Darkness To Healing From Post-Natal Depression by Namita Mahanama is a compassionate guide for countless women who struggle with depression after the birth of a child. Mahanama begins with her own story, providing a profoundly honest account of the depths of her depression following the birth of both of her children and the very real, very dangerous state of mind she was in. She uses this together with her professional expertise as a pharmacist to address the stigma and encourage women to come into the light with those who have also suffered. She explains exactly what PND/PPD is, what it is not, what it does, who it impacts, ways to cope, treat it, and ultimately make a breakthrough.

Shining the Light on PND is perhaps the first book I’ve read on post-natal/postpartum depression that embraces both scientific and homeopathic principles. It is also written for readers who are currently in the throes of PND. This scientific and holistic combination is significant because mothers who are grasping for help are extremely vulnerable. Namita Mahanama is empathetic without removing a mother’s choice by stating categorically what is good. Yes, explore the medication because this is a legitimate biological issue and not just in your head, but also set up an alternative and try the Pranayama breathing techniques. Take a bath. Give your little one a baby massage. Talk to people who love you and want you to be whole and healthy. I would have been deeply moved and guided if I’d had Mahanama’s book a few years ago, but thankfully it is here now for those who desperately need it. Very highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Dr Shailja Chaturvedi (Psychiatrist)

Something which never cease to amaze me is the creation and the delivery of a human child, as fragile as a rose petal and as strong as the iron, which inspired me to read this book.

After reading 300 engrossing pages, I felt compelled to write this review.

It is a well written book easy to read and understand. As one continues to read, it becomes engaging and convincing, that it is coming from the heart of the writer, who has travelled through the challenging road of PND. I was impressed with the genuine and deep emotional connection of a young modern mother to her exclusive devotion and unconditional motherhood.

Namita gives the hope of a bright ray of sunshine to the dark and treacherous journey of PND through her own reflections of the illness.

The book is about family, motherhood, nurturing and resilience: a journey which expanded into growth and maturity for herself. The vivid description of the mental state she herself went through, though does not soften the reality of PND, but fills up the new mother, with rewards of recovery at the end of sufferings.

The writer does not shy away from the fact that despite all the precautions and best preparations she could not avert the 2nd episode of PND some 4 years later.

Namita’s own background of pharmacy, Ayurved and infant massage has given the book a balanced, honest and comprehensive view of the illness and its remedy.

With vast array of clinical symptoms in the book, it is easy to identify from the checklist, the possibility of PND. The writer presents PND as a complex and serious illness though responsive to multimodal treatment. Despite her knowledge and faith in Ayurvedic medicine she did nor recommend it as 1st line of treatment. Consulting a general practitioner and use of antidepressant medication was her preferred choice.

The advantage of personal account is that it covers even the minute events and issues, which may be otherwise missed. Namita has successfully addressed these with practical advice.

Namita’s main objective steadfastly focused on doing best for her boys throughout the book, which complemented her treatment and full recovery.

In her sensible and practical way the writer tries to break the barriers of stereotyped beliefs like replacing breast with bottle.

The writer is well aware of the complexity of the multitasking role of today’s women with equal participation in the male dominated world without compromising the maternal instinct and the responsibility of a home maker. She warns against information overload.

I liked her idea of volunteer mothers and grandmothers for home based support to the mothers with PND.

I was impressed with Namita’s skills in metamorphosing her adverse experiences into an idealized self: indeed growth and self evolution. In retrospect I felt that PND may have been a blessing in disguise driving her to reflections and self analysis ” being pushed to the ground with so much of ferocity and cracking so badly resulted in re emergence as a realigned person”.

In 24  Reflections, Namita outlines the lessons and wisdom learnt from her personal experiences and professional guidance and with honesty and openness, which will be invaluable for the readers.

It was interesting to note that Namita’s writing skills emerged in her early childhood and has finally taken the form of this book as a professional writer.

The book though titled PND will be useful for any young mother.

As Namita has said that the boys have been her teachers, I can echo the same that I have learnt a few things from her book.

Shining The Light on PND is an excellent source of knowledge not only for preparing the best management strategies for PND by combining the best of Eastern and Western medicine, but for refining life skills for a balance, happy and accomplished life.

I congratulate Namita for creating this outstanding by- product of her PND.


Reviewed By: Asher Syed

Post-natal depression is incredibly difficult for a family, but it is perhaps more traumatic for the child in the home who is not old enough to understand what is happening. Namita Mahanama and her children’s picture book, My Mummy After Our Baby: A Journey of Hope and Healing, addresses the needs of these younger children and is a tool to convey information in an age-appropriate way. The book begins with a little boy named Ayden who has a beautiful relationship with his parents. An ethereal glow emanates from his mother and they are all excited for the newest family member to join…but everything changes when Ayden’s newborn brother and mother return home, and the glow is replaced by a pall of darkness.

My heart shattered when reading through My Mummy After Our Baby by Namita Mahanama. The transition from Ayden and his parents being so happy and basking in the light of his mum’s energy to this unbearable grey has a crushing impact on Ayden. Ayden does what any child would do and blames the newborn. The mum he knows is gone and he is left with the shell of the person he loves the most in the world, and who loved him. The illustrations contrast both the good and bad, and the way Ayden is shown that by just being himself and loving his mum, the glow and warmth will return, is perfect. It is not his responsibility to heal his mum, but the suggestion that he tell her how much he loves her and simply plays in front of her is beautiful. What a fantastic children’s book!