Mama’s Mental Health Matters
Posted on May 12 2021
“Some days, all a mama needs is a hand to hold, quietly offering silent comfort. Someone to comfort us in our weakness, bathe us in kindness and embrace us in love. Then tomorrow we can begin the day refreshed, with love in our hearts and a smile on our face.” Ali Flynn
Without getting any more sentimental, truer words were never spoken. From the words of Mila Kunis in the movie Bad Moms, “Parenting is freaking hard!” It’s even more challenging for us moms who have to balance between being wives, employees, friends and entrepreneurs.
Numbers Don’t Lie
If you doubt how hard it is being a mom, the statistics are clear. At least 1 in every 5 mothers experiences a mental health issue that makes it difficult to be her best self. The issues we are talking about here eclipse more than your typical postpartum depression. Today, mothers face severe anxiety disorders and depression that persist far longer than the first year of giving birth.
According to experts, these mental challenges have as much to do with the hormonal changes after birth as they do with our day-to-day activities. As most women will testify, it feels like you never have a minute to yourself once you give birth. With time, the accumulation of sleepless nights, exhaustion and over-stretching ourselves beyond limits can take a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing.
While motherhood is supposed to be a source of immense joy, many mothers report feeling sad, exhausted and emotionally drained all the time.
Why is a Mother’s Mental Health so Important?
Everyone’s mental health is important, however, us moms are the glue that hold the family together. The 1 in 5 mothers facing mental health issues means a whopping 750,000 kids are not getting the optimum amount of motherly care they deserve. In essence, it means many moms don’t have the ability to cope with all the pressure that comes with parenthood and life in general. This equates to us not being able to be the best lifeline for our kids.
Research shows that kids raised by parents with mental health issues experience greater emotional, psychological and behavioral problems because of the attachment between mother and child.
What can be done?
Well, a lot can be done once we admit to ourselves that we are struggling and may require some help. Seeking assistance from a friend, our partners or a professional, is the first step to gaining control of our mental. Many mental issues, such as depression and chronic anxiety, can be effectively treated with medication or different forms of therapy.
Treatment aside, here are some proactive things we can do to protect and maintain our mental health, while tackling all that comes with motherhood:
As moms, our entire lives become about taking care of other people, whether it’s the kids, our spouse or our parents. Heroic as that maybe, we cannot pour into everyone without replenishing ourselves. Self-care, in this case, is taking some time to do things that fill you up and revitalize you.
This ranges from getting enough sleep, eating proper meals, going to the salon for some “me time” and doing other things you enjoy. In short, we must do what is necessary to take care of us.
2. Nurture Your Friendships
Among the first things to suffer when women become moms is friendships. We pour our all into our children and forget about our social lives. From experience, a glass of wine and hearty laughter with friends can be all the medicine you may need to go back home and be the best version of yourself. Time with friends, whether on the phone or in person, can fill us with the energy we need to keep giving of ourselves.
3. Find Reliable Support
Everyone needs physical support. Have that person or persons that will take care of your children so you can have some you-time. If a partner/spouse can hack this, well and good. However, hiring someone, even if it’s on a part-time basis, can go a long way.
For me, living in Texas without any immediate family, my mother-in-law is physically there to take care of our boys whenever my husband cannot. She is always willing to give a hand when she sees I’m overwhelmed or need assistance.
4. Find Stress Relievers
Stress relievers can be many things. For some, activities like yoga, meditation and working out help. For others, bowling, dancing or a visit to the gun range work better because of the adrenalin. Whatever you choose to do, the idea is to let go of all the stress and replace it with some feel-good hormones.
After all is said and done, you must be kind to yourself in the face of all you are going through. We must take our mental health as seriously as we do our physical. Try to prioritize self-care above all else. If you face some mom guilt when trying to take care of yourself, remember that an empty mama can be of no help to her littles.
Until next time Kuties!