Maternal Mental Health

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and so, I wanted to help raise awareness of this topic by creating a blog post about it, and in particular Maternal Mental Health (the awareness week for which was 3-9 May).

I’m extremely lucky not to have been particularly negatively impacted when it comes to mental health, but, nevertheless, I’ve had times when it’s taken a temporary dive and I think this will be the case for most Mums (and anyone basically, particularly since Covid!). So, I’m going to share below a few things that help lift my spirits when needed but first, for anyone who is really feeling like their mental health is not in a good place (or if you know of anyone who you are concerned about), I strongly urge you to contact your doctor or a local mental health helpline. Here’s is the NHS link to find support in your local area. For maternal mental health in particular please also see the Maternal Mental Health Alliance website.

As I mentioned, I’ve been very fortunate when it comes to my mental health but there are times when parenting is tough (particularly in those early newborn days when your hormones are still all over the place and you’re surviving on barely any sleep!) and I’ve had to make a conscious effort to pick myself up, such as:

  1. Talking to others - I can’t stress enough the importance and value of speaking to others! Be it your other half, friends, family or by seeking professional support. Talking openly and honestly about how you are feeling can really help take a weight off your shoulders

  2. Don’t bottle up your emotions - If you feel like you need to cry then do it! There’s no reason to hold it all together when you just want to let it all go. You may feel a whole lot better afterwards. Of course, if your emotion is something else (perhaps anger) then the best course of action will be to speak to a GP or mental health support line straight away

  3. Get as much sleep/rest as you can - I know, it’s not easy but don’t feel pressure to do the housework/cook dinner when baby finally naps. Our mental and physical health depends on us being well rested so don’t overlook this

  4. Look after yourself - all the simple things. Take a shower each day, get dressed, eat well. I can’t tell you how much better I always feel after a shower and getting out of my PJs. For me, it’s an instant pick me up. I also slap on a bit of lipstick to cheer me up too.

  5. Exercise - it doesn’t have to be anything vigorous. Just get out for a walk for a few minutes or try and do a bit of yoga/ meditation. Anything that releases those feel good hormones will help.

The above ”tricks” all helped see me through the tough newborn months, and I still turn to these methods today because, lets face it, when one parenting struggle comes to an end a new one starts! As I said though, if you’re feeling anything more than just a little down, or if it persists then please please reach out to a professional. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will be on the path to recovery. Especially with the restrictions that Covid brings, it’s particularly hard being a new Mum right now.

I also want to mention @eviecanavan on Instagram who is constantly raising awareness of maternal maternal health. I recently came across her account and following her has really helped raise my awareness of this subject - check her out for yourself. She has a lot of wit and humour which is always welcome! (this is just my own personal recommendation, not a collaboration/ad/referral).

Again, here are the links again the NHS to find support in your local area and for the Maternal Mental Health Alliance website.

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