Mothering Our Mental Health

Becoming a mother is one of the biggest changes a woman will ever experience. All aspects of our life will change – our bodies, our relationships, our lifestyle, and our priorities. Though one thing that is not talked about enough, and is our mental health.

When we first have the baby, we are so excited and people visit us and it’s all so new and wonderful. We are smothered with love, gifts, help, and attention. Though there comes a point when the visitors stop, the offers of help cease and life begins as a ‘new normal.

Poor maternal mental health is on the rise. In particular, where I live has the highest postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.
There are several factors that contribute to the well-being of a mother. They are environmental, socialization, and emotional.

Mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to look after it.

Modern society can be very isolating for new mums. Previous generations seemed to have it a little easier with women traditionally staying at home. There was often a network of support readily available to help new mothers, practically and emotionally. Mothers in this day and age are not always privileged with this type of support as we are often so busy, caught up with our own lives.

When I first became a mother, no one had warned me about the isolation I was to endure. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣I was far from any family and although I had a few well-meaning people, I constantly felt alone. I had plenty of friends willing to help but as I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby and none could really relate to what I was experiencing. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣I felt that the whole world was going on outside without me. I was jealous of my husband who could step out and join the world whenever he pleased but as a breastfeeding mother, I didn’t feel I had the same opportunities or freedom. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

I wish I had an inner circle of mothers who could truly understand what was going on and who were experiencing the same. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣I needed someone to tell me that I was doing a good job and my feelings of struggle were normal and a common feeling nearly all mothers experience. Instead, I struggled in silence and most sadly, by myself. ⁣⁣⁣⁣

We need to remind ourselves that we humans, especially women are social beings. We depend on interpersonal relationships and we need and thrive on connection with others. Social media can be a great tool to reach out to others but it has also been proven that it can lead us to feel more lonely and out of touch.

In order to support our mental health, It’s so important new mothers are able to fill our connection cup with others.

5 ways to fill up your connection cup and support your mental health

Phone instead of text

It can be so easy to send a text but pick up the phone instead and have a chat and that interaction with someone. Even better if you can find another Mum to become phone buddies with!

Reach out

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness it is a way of staying strong. Ask family, friends, or parents who have experienced the same. There are so many local services to help you, remember everyone needs a little help from time to time!

Move your body

Exercise keeps the brain AND body healthy. It can help improve your mood, help you feel more energized and can provide a more positive mindset. Join a gym that has a creche, join a baby-wearing dance class, or go for a pram walk and coffee with a friend.

Go to a baby group or playgroup

Playgroups are a great way of connecting with other mothers. In fact, playgroups are actually more for the mums, than they are the babies. All the mums there are in the same boat and you all need each other. Put on a friendly face and get chatting to others.

Hire some help!

During that fourth trimester, the days can seem long and lonely. If you can spare the cash, invest in hiring some help. Whether it’s a cleaner for the housework, a nanny or a postpartum doula, there is a fantastic network of people who can be there for you when you need it most.

The most important thing is not to suffer alone. Make sure you receive the rest and recovery your body needs after birth but do so whilst still receiving that interaction and connection you need to support you emotionally.