Maternal Mental Health

The perinatal period is the time directly before and after giving birth. These moments can sometimes be especially difficult for new mothers. With all of the changes in the household and family dynamic, combined with hormonal and physical changes, it really can take a toll on one’s mental health. Every woman has a different experience with pregnancy, and some find the experience to be a confusing and upsetting time. While there has been an increase in awareness for perinatal mental health issues, such as postpartum depression, there is still a certain stigma surrounding them.

Some women feel as though if they experience perinatal anxiety or depression they won’t be as fit to be a parent. This, however, is not true at all! Many women experience some level of mental health issues either before or after giving birth. While this is certainly not the case for everyone, it is still important to be aware of your mental health and wellbeing as a new mum. Keep reading for some tips that can help you have more awareness of your mental health before and after pregnancy!

Understand the changes that may happen.

Pregnancy brings a lot of obvious physical changes to the body, but there are a lot of other mental changes that a woman goes through when preparing to give birth to a new baby. The bodily changes can bring up issues with self-esteem and confidence in some women. With hormones constantly fluctuating, some women have mood swings that can be difficult to handle or understand. Sometimes women even report that during and shortly after pregnancy they didn’t even feel like themselves! On top of this, the stress leading up to the birth of the new baby can be difficult for some to manage. Changes in the family dynamic and household operation can be very stressful, especially if you are also a carer for another child or relative.

While there is much more of an awareness about the mental health of new mothers, actually going through it yourself can be quite difficult.  Take the time to educate yourself about how your mental health can be affected during and shortly after pregnancy. As a new mother, there are no questions that you want to be the best that you can be! Understanding the changes that might occur can prepare you for what’s to come and allow you to have a better understanding of your emotions as they arise.

Plan, plan, plan!

The excitement leading up to the birth of a new baby can be stressful, especially if you have caring responsibilities as well. To lessen this stress, plan things in advance! Many families find that preparation makes a massive difference! Gathering baby supplies, setting up the nursery, packing a hospital bag, and creating a birth plan can help mothers have more peace of mind.

Find your support network.

Having a support network of people available to help you out when you need it is so important. This is especially true when you are adjusting to having a new baby in the house! Having friends or family members around that can help you out when you need it can be extremely beneficial. New mothers often don’t have too much time to themselves. The help of a spouse, for example, can allow you to have some alone time to relax and destress.

Know when to ask for help and that it’s okay!

Many women feel like as new mothers they need to be cheerful, happy, and thankful when taking care of their new baby boy or girl. However, some who are dealing with things like postpartum depression (PPD) feel exactly the opposite. The symptoms of PPD are very similar to regular depression, as new mother’s suffering from it feel extremely sad, fatigued, and even irritable. If this is something you are experiencing, know that you are not alone! Understanding that these changes have happened within you and knowing when to reach out for help is so important! Many women experience changes in their mental health during and after pregnancy. Many reports actually state that more mothers experience mental health issues than we may realize!

Need more support?

If you or someone you know is a new mother struggling with her mental health and the stress of caring simultaneously, don’t worry! Suffolk Carers Matter is here for you. We offer free support, advice, and guidance and even have a free counselling service available should you need it!

CALL us on 01284 333035 – open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-2pm.

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