Maternal Mental Health Week 2020: Advice for Mum’s during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Maternal Mental Health Week is coordinated by Perinatal Mental Health Partnership. Their theme, this year, is ‘Supporting Mothers During Difficult Times’.
For many, becoming a parent is one of the most exciting yet possibly overwhelming milestones in life. Now, with the added pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, many new parents are experiencing additional anxieties, such as financial insecurity, health concerns and the issue of healthcare support and resources being drastically reduced.
Furthermore, due to the lockdown measures in place, families are being forced apart for what has already been an extended period. Childcare and playdates with family members are no longer an option, causing further strain for parents working at home and possibly juggling the needs of their other children. Sadly, the special time of introducing a new arrival to family and friends has also been taken away from so many.
Throw into the mix sleepless nights, endless feeding and changing and it is easy to see how self-care can be pushed the bottom of your priorities. They say you should always put on your own oxygen mask before anyone else’s, although caring for a demanding little one can often mean your own needs are overlooked. Your mental health is important for your own wellbeing, as well as your child’s. Read on for our tips on manifesting healthy strategies into your undoubtably busy lifestyle…
Sleep deprivation is an almost certainty and can have distressing effects on your mood, concentration and emotions. When your baby is sleeping, rest when you can. If you are at home with a partner or family member, take it in turns to be with the baby while the other sleeps. Creating a routine that allows for downtime can be beneficial to your own self-care and have a positive effect on your relationship with your baby and family.
Communication is key when times are hard. Having open and honest conversations can be difficult yet reaching out and expressing how you are feeling may be beneficial. If you are a single parent and living alone please do call upon your friends, family or midwife if you need someone to talk to. There are many forums online where you can chat to other mums who will be in the same position as you. Please reference the links at the bottom of this page for helpful online resources.
Parenting can be tiring, so venturing out doesn’t always seem like an appealing option to some. Ensuring you adhere to the current Government guidelines spending time outside for exercise, you may find taking a stroll with your child for a breath of fresh air can lift your mood and help you recentre. Furthermore, going out as a family may help break up the day, and you may find it a good opportunity to talk and reconnect. Alternatively, if it is possible to take it in turns to have some alone time, perhaps going for a walk or run, can be helpful for mindfulness, allowing you to be emotionally available when you return.
Find some time to do something that makes you happy, such as having a nice bath, watching a programme you enjoy, cooking, or reading. Motherhood can be overwhelming so prioritising jobs and chores to make room for yourself is important. You could even try making a list for the day, making sure there is space for just you, even if it’s after your child’s bedtime.
There are many ways you can utilise technology to stay connected to loved ones. Motherhood can be an isolating experience at the best of times and now, sadly, the opportunity to meet up with friends, and with other mothers at baby groups is not an option. However, websites such as Channel Mum has helpful support groups and resources. You could also video call your family members, especially if your child is used to seeing them.
Make notes about your baby’s developments and milestones by taking pictures and videos. This can be a nice keepsake to show them when they are older, or you can show this to your family and friends online. This can also be a great tool to remind you that, even in difficult times, you are doing a great job!
‘Baby Blues’ and feelings of fear or being overwhelmed are normal for many mothers. However, if you feel you are struggling, please contact your GP or Midwife and seek help. If you are affected by any of the issues mentioned above, please seek help by referring to the below links. Similarly, if being a new parent is impacting your relationship, please contact us.
Written by Frankie Freeman