Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Week is 3rd-7th May 2021.
 
I have worked with a lot of maternal mental health issues. Women who have been trying for a baby, women who have sadly suffered miscarriages, women who have struggled whilst being pregnant, women who have delivered their babies but sadly never got to take them home, women who have struggled with post natal depression….
 
Maternal mental health is and can be so very difficult to talk about and manage, all of those different emotions and feelings; scared, shame, disappointment, love, not loving enough, sadness… there are so many to consider.
 
BUT you are not alone. Talking and sharing how you are thinking and feeling can really help. It can be that one thing to make the difference.
 
If you or someone you know is struggling, then please reach out. Tell someone, anyone. I promise it will be one of the best things you can do.

Postnatal Depression or Baby Blues- what's the difference?

Baby Blues is a very common thing that most moms experience. This normally happens about a week or so after baby is born, hormones are unbalanced, our body has undergone a huge transition and we just don’t know if we are coming or going. I remember sobbing many times trying to make a cup of tea!
 
Postnatal Depression is a very different thing. It may start off with feeling out of sorts, but it just doesn’t go away. Feelings and thoughts can become very low and you can feel an utterly sense of hopelessness.
 
Do not struggle or suffer in silence. You are not alone and you will be able to get the help you need.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Let’s talk about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a recognised behaviour which a lot of us have/may have experienced, but did you know about postpartum OCD?
 
Postpartum OCD is an anxiety disorder that can appear when you are pregnant or after baby is born. You can experience intrusive or unwanted thoughts or behaviours that will be related to any perceived dangers towards your baby. These thoughts can be terrifying and can leave you feeling scared, ashamed and frightened.
 
Some of the common thoughts whilst experiencing postpartum OCD can be:
 
  • Images of you seriously hurting or damaging your baby in any way
  • Fears that baby will get or had a serious illness
  • Not feeding baby or giving certain foods/drinks as fear that they are poisonous
  • Constantly going over the days events to see that nothing bad had happened to baby

Persistent thoughts like this will affect your every day to day life so it is hugely important that you seek help immediately. Speak to your GP, midwife, health visitor, family or friends. There will always be someone who will listen.

Feeding your baby

Let’s talk about breastfeeding. This can be a one of the major things that new moms worry about about.
 
Should I, shouldn’t I? Am I doing it right? Is the baby getting enough milk? Why does it hurt so much? When should I stop?
 
The list of anxieties around this subject seems to grow and grow.
 
These questions are all relevant but the thing to remember is that there isn’t one correct answer! You choose your own way, to suit you and your baby’s needs. You DO NOT have to feel pressure from anyone else. If you choose to breastfeed then your midwife will help you. If you choose not to then that is OK as well.
 
Please do not push yourself to do something because you have been told you have to. Your life, your rules!!
If you are someone or you know someone who is struggling, be kind, show them support, ask them how you can help.
I have lots of experience of working with maternal mental health, so please get in touch.

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