Our ex­perts an­swer your burn­ing ques­tions.

Living and Loving - - CONTENTS -


Q| My one-year-old son has pre­ferred to be with his fa­ther since he was five months old.He ig­nores me when his dad is around and I must ad­mit I’m jeal­ous. I’m happy my hus­band has bonded so well with him, but I just don’t un­der­stand why our son be­haves this way.Is it a phase he’ll grow out of? A Chil­dren thrive in the pres­ence of love, ac­cep­tance and un­di­vided at­ten­tion. A child will nat­u­rally turn to the par­ent they feel safest with. It’s hurt­ful when your son ig­nores you, and many moms in this sit­u­a­tion feel jeal­ous and left out. Fo­cus on build­ing a dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship with your son, based on giv­ing him your un­di­vided at­ten­tion ev­ery day. Spend time play­ing with him and let him choose what and how he wants to play. Hold him on your lap, rock him and sing songs to him. Fo­cus on his needs and de­sires reg­u­larly, and give him the mes­sage that he’s safe with you in all as­pects of his life. With per­se­ver­ance, he’ll stop ig­nor­ing you and in­clude you in his life. Ilze van der Merwe, ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist


Q| Four years ago, I had a child even though a sperm count test showed that my hus­band was sub-fer­tile. When my daugh­ter was six weeks old, I had to go for an op­er­a­tion to re­move part of my cervix. I haven’t been on any con­tra­cep­tives since the birth of my daugh­ter, but have been un­able to fall preg­nant. I have tried med­i­ca­tion to in­crease ovu­la­tions and my doc­tor wants to check my hus­band’s fer­til­ity lev­els as well as whether my tubes are blocked. Please ad­vise whether this is the right course of ac­tion. A Four years have passed since your last preg­nancy and the like­li­hood of be­com­ing preg­nant de­clines by about 11% per year. Your age at the time of the ini­tial con­cep­tion is also an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion. A com­plete eval­u­a­tion of fer­til­ity is needed, which will in­clude re­peat­ing the se­men analysis, do­ing a hor­mone pro­file to eval­u­ate your egg quan­tity, and eval­u­at­ing the uter­ine cav­ity and pa­tency (open­ness) of your fal­lop­ian tubes. Eval­u­at­ing the cer­vi­cal mu­cus in your case is equally im­por­tant due to the pro­ce­dures you had as they may have up­set the del­i­cate bal­ance. Dr Stephan Volschenk, fer­til­ity spe­cial­ist


Q| My mother suf­fered from manic de­pres­sion and didn’t deal with it very well. I have a three-year-old son and had an anx­i­ety disor­der be­fore be­com­ing a mom, and post­na­tal de­pres­sion (PND). My hus­band would like to have another child, but I’m ter­ri­fied of go­ing through PND again. I also don’t want to cre­ate the same chaotic and scary child­hood I en­dured.How can I over­come this fear? I don’t want to miss my chance to have another child and re­gret it later. A It’s dif­fi­cult for chil­dren to grow up in the pres­ence of a manic de­pres­sive mother and I un­der­stand that it was chaotic, scary and painful for you as a child. You’re still car­ry­ing some of those fears and anx­i­eties. It’s pos­si­ble that your anx­i­ety is still very high and I won­der if you’re re­ceiv­ing any treat­ments – ei­ther in the form of med­i­ca­tion or ther­apy. This anx­i­ety won’t go away on its own and you need to see pro­fes­sion­als to help you over­come your fear of go­ing through PND again. You’re wise to wait be­fore you be­come preg­nant, be­cause if you go into another preg­nancy with­out re­ceiv­ing proper pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance, you may ex­pe­ri­ence de­pres­sion again. Share your fears and con­cerns with your hus­band. Tell him you don’t want to miss the chance to have another child, be­cause you may re­gret it later. How­ever, it’s im­por­tant you tell your hus­band you are plan­ning to get help, or he may feel dis­ap­pointed and up­set. This is the time for you to get heal­ing for your­self – you’re worth it! Ilze van der Merwe, ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist


Q| I re­cently went back to work af­ter ma­ter­nity leave. My hus­band and I de­cided the best op­tion was to leave our six­month-old baby with my mom one week, and then with my momin-law the next, drop­ping him off and fetch­ing him ev­ery day. I’m wor­ried this might be dis­rup­tive for him. Should we leave him with each granny for two weeks? A You’re very for­tu­nate to have two grand­moth­ers who are avail­able and will­ing to look af­ter your son. A two-week pe­riod is a long time for a baby and ev­ery times he goes to the other granny, he may find her too much of a stranger. I sug­gest you stick with one week per granny, be­cause your baby is al­ready in this rou­tine and he needs reg­u­lar con­tact with a per­son to feel safe with them. Ilze van der Merwe, ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist


Q| I’m 28 and had anorexia be­tween the ages of 15 and 19 years. Dur­ing this time, my pe­ri­ods stopped. They re­turned six years ago, but I’ve been un­able to be­come preg­nant. Could this be due to dam­age caused by the anorexia? A Anorexia does have an in­flu­ence on fu­ture re­pro­duc­tive po­ten­tial. It’s es­ti­mated that around 15% of fe­males who have had anorexia will have dif­fi­culty con­ceiv­ing. This is be­cause the se­cre­tion rhythm of hor­mones im­por­tant for con­cep­tion is ir­re­versibly dis­turbed. This group of pa­tients doesn’t have monthly men­strual cy­cles. There­fore, if you don’t have reg­u­lar cy­cles, you may be one of the 15%. If you do have reg­u­lar cy­cles, the prob­lem may lie else­where and needs to be in­ves­ti­gated. This in­cludes check­ing your part­ner’s se­men qual­ity and quan­tity, hav­ing a day-two hor­mone pro­file done, eval­u­at­ing the uter­ine cav­ity and fal­lop­ian tubes, as well as a la­paroscopy to ex­clude en­dometrio­sis. Dr Stephan Volschenk, fer­til­ity spe­cial­ist


Q| My baby is 21 months old. He has an undescended tes­ti­cle and has to have an op­er­a­tion as soon as pos­si­ble. Is there a chance of re­solv­ing it nat­u­rally? A In utero, the testes form in the ab­domen and nor­mally move down, or de­scend, to the scro­tum just be­fore birth. Undescended testes oc­cur when one or both testes don’t drop to the scro­tum. It’s the most com­mon birth gen­i­tal ab­nor­mal­ity. The ma­jor­ity of undescended testes will de­scend within the first three to six months of life. A drop af­ter this is un­likely. The testes should be moved into the scro­tum be­tween nine and 15 months of age by a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure known as an or­chiopexy. As your son is al­ready 21 months old,

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