Self care is essential for good mental health.
For many, it is also something that can have a major effect on their mental health, before and for a long time after the birth.
The month of May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month.
It is estimated that one in five mums will experience some type of perinatal (during pregnancy) or postnatal mood and anxiety disorder.
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month is the 3rd to 7th May and is a good opportunity to not only ask how baby is doing, but how mum is doing. It creates more awareness and starts conversations around this topic -helping to break down barriers and decrease the often negative stigma attached to mental.
Living with a mental health illness can be very frightening and lonely. You may feel you are the only one who is feeling this way or you are failing. You are not alone nor failing, maternal mental health awareness is about sending this message out to mums. Mental Health does not discriminate. Anyone, regardless of age, background, relationship or financial status, can face a mental health issue.
Maternal Mental Health, needs more awareness and support services, especially for mums during pregnancy and the first year after the baby is born.
What you can do to help your wellbeing and mental health:
•Self-care can be anything from taking 10 minutes each day to enjoy a cuppa; to joining a group or enrolling in a course; having a relaxing bath filled with Epsom Salts and lavender essential oil, exercising and Journaling.
• Journaling is a brilliant technique that helps you to sort out and process your thoughts and feelings. At the end of each day, rate your mood; write down any negative thoughts and ask yourself is it a fear based thought or belief and what real factual evidence have you got to say this thought is real. Finish off by focusing on three things you are grateful for. By doing this daily for a month you will increase your self awareness and find it easier to focus on what you are grateful for. Before bedtime gentle guided meditation or breathing exercises ( YouTube is a great source) can help to clear your mind and relax your body.
• Talk to someone. A family member, friend, partner or counsellor. Once you tell someone how you are feeling you will feel a weight has been lifted.
• Learn more about your mental health – knowledge is power. Read or listen to podcasts, join groups and talk. With a need for more awareness and support, I created and facilitate an online CBT based workshop for mums, called ‘Minding Mummy.’ It offers a safe space for mums to learn positive coping techniques to help their well-being and mental health. Our next Workshop is Saturday 22nd May from 10am to 1pm, via zoom. For more information please email mindingmummy@gmail
If you don’t feel like yourself, and have any concerns about your metal health or are displaying any of the above illnesses and symptoms for longer than two weeks, please reach out and talk to someone such as a midwife, public health nurse, counsellor or doctor.
There is no shame in doing so and it not a sign of weakness. There is effective treatment available such as counselling or medication. Suffering from a mental health illness can be lonely, scary and difficult. But with the right help and support, women can and do recover.
Take care, Sarah.