8 Maternal mental health awareness week (3-9 May)
Over the past year we have become more used to people talking about mental health – although that is still a long way from addressing the issue, and from eradicating completely the stigma that tends to go with it. Many of the issues have been around for a long time, though the restrictions of the last year have made the problem more acute for many. Mental health is a big issue for new mums: as many as one in five struggle with it, both before and after birth – in some there may be pre-existing issues; there is the physical impact of living through pregnancy and birth; there are hormonal fluctuations; feelings of inadequacy when confronted with the responsibility of looking after a new child (they don’t come with an operating manual, and every one is different!); feelings of loneliness if friends and family are at work, and you can no longer socialise as before (made worse during lockdown); some not having partner/family support (or having them about, but that’s another issue), living in poverty, or multiple deprivation. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week endeavours to reassure new mums that they are not alone, and that help and support are available. It also tries to make the rest of us aware that this is a major issue, which affects a large number of families, and may affect the lives of children from the start. For more information visit NHS Inform which has links to various groups, or put ‘Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021’ in your browser
Lord, babies are lovely, but they can also be challenging, especially for the parents. Many encounter anxiety and mental health issues both before and after birth. Help them to find support and assistance both with parenting and with their mental health. Inspire those in decision-making positions to ensure that new parents have all the support they need – especially when they are living with poverty and other deprivation. Help the rest of us to try to understand the challenges new parents in the 2020s face, and to be supportive where we can
PS Stac Polly from Tanera Mor
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