Having a baby is a huge life event and it is natural to experience a range of emotions whether that is during pregnancy or after your baby arrives. It is okay to say that you are struggling, there is no manual saying what you should or should not do or how you should or should not feel.A ‘ maternal or perinatal ‘ mental health problem is one that you can experience at any time from becoming pregnant up till one year after your baby arrives. This may be a new mental health problem or an episode of a mental health problem you have experienced in the past. It can affect women of every culture, age, income level, and race. Partners may also experience mental health problems at this time too.
There are effective and well researched treatment options available to help women to recover. The pandemic has brought stress and difficulties to many people especially pregnant women being unable to have their partner or close friend with them during antenatal appointments and the early stages of labour and for mums with their new baby being unable to see close family and friends or attend social mum and baby groups. It has caused isolation and loneliness for many pregnant and postnatal mums.
However help and support is available so should any women pregnant or in the first year following the arrival of their baby feel in need of any help and/or support please contact your: Midwife, Health Visitor GP
They are all able to offer support and/or refer to the appropriate service/resources necessary.The following resources may also be of help:
www.valleyssteps.orgAn organisation offering a range of free online courses to help mental and emotional well being i.e. mindfulness, stress control, self care and they also offer information and resources across their social media platforms. Take Time Out is a 30 minute online session once a week which offers meditation and relaxation practices and will be very beneficial for both pregnant and postnatal mums.
www.tommys.orgOffers a pregnancy hub which is midwife led information, support tools and news and also offers information for women after birth and where to access help and support.
www.pandasfoundation.org.ukOffer empathy and support for parents affected by perinatal mental health problems.Support can be accessed via email, support groups, social media and face book groups.They offer a helpline every day 9am till 8pm : 0843 2898401
www.apni.orgAssociation for postnatal illness They offer a chat box on the website and provide support to mums experiencing postnatal illness.They offer a helpine Monday till Friday 10am till 2pm : 0207 386 0868
www.mind.org.ukOffers information and signposting to support for women experiencing perinatal mental health problems.
www.dadsmatter.uk.orgA free service providing support for dads who are worried about or experiencing depression, anxiety , post traumatic stress disorder.
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is all about raising awareness and the importance of help and support being available for women, their baby, partner and family.
By Lynn Rodgerson
Wellbeing Course Practitioner