Our experts answer your burning questions.
HE PREFERS HIS DADDY!
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
WE WANT ANOTHER CHILD
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
TERRIFIED OF HAVING PND AGAIN
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
ANOREXIA SIDE EFFECT
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,