Having worked in Perinatal Mental Health for 6 years and in between becoming a mumma myself, maternal mental health is a subject very close to me. Though my years of professional working for Family Action Perinatal Services across Leicestershire and Derbyshire, I have seen many mum's from all walks of life make their way to recovery following what they saw as the darkest time of their lives. Working in the UK and for the Australian Red Cross and now for a Health Service, I have supported women to acknowledge their feelings and educated them and their partners to understand what is happening and helped them in their road to recovery.
What is Perinatal Mental Health?
Did you know 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads can experience Perinatal Mental Health difficulties. If these difficulties are not supported adequately, they can result in difficulties with bonding and attachment as well as relationship struggles. Having a baby can be the most exciting moment in many couples lives, however, for some it can be the most difficult time. Unfortunately, mental health still carries a lot of stigma with it and so many mothers stay silent in fear of feeling judged or feeling like a failure. Many couples do not know what help they can receive and where to seek early support to help their early parenting journeys. As part of the hypnobirthing course I deliver, I discuss the signs and symptoms of mild- moderate Perinatal Mental Health to educate my families to know what is happening and how to manage the feelings.
Understanding what your are experiencing and seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a sign of positive self reflection.
Sometimes it's OK to not be OK. Speak up and ask for help.
If you recognise any changes in mood in yourself, or your partner please seek support from the organisations below:
Speak to your medical professionals. If you are still pregnant, speak to your midwife about your emotions at your appointments. They are not just there to do your physical checks and baby check; they are there for your emotional support too. If appropriate you can be referred for more specialist support through the MINT clinic.
If you have had your baby, your midwife will be asking you at your postnatal checks in regards to your emotional well- being; again if you notice anything unusual about yourself please speak to them. You will have a 6 week check for you and baby with your GP and Health Visitor, where they will again ask you in regards to your emotional well- being. Please be honest about how you are feeling so they can help you appropriately.
If you are worried about medication and the effects, there are safe ones to take during pregnancy/ breastfeeding but please speak to your GP in regards to this so they can advise in accordance to your medical history.
Alternatively, have a look at NHS Every Mind Matters. They have some useful Apps and information if you are caring for someone with mental health.
Open PAWS provides perinatal anxiety support through tools and techniques.
PANDAS Foundation provides information and support for anyone experiencing perinatal mental health.
Postpartum Men provides information and support for men experiencing perinatal mental health.
Royal College of General Practitioners provides information for you and your family.