And here you are in the midst of it all.
A new name & a new identity.
A role you never trained for but are expected to become an expert in overnight.
Battling through the exhaustion, fear & worry with the strength from a love like no other.
Are these tears of sadness or happiness?
Honestly? I do not know.
The first week in May marked ‘Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2023’ but – here’s the thing – maternal mental health matters 52 weeks, 365 days & long, l o n g nights a year. You matter. There never has been - & never will never be – a ‘one size fits all’ for supporting mothers & each one of you will find peace from different sources but what is important is always remembering that it is okay to not be okay. Below I’m going to share some of the best mother to mother advice I have
ever received for those times when nothing seems quite right:
G O O U T S I D E
When it feels as though the air is choking you & the walls are caving in, when the neighbours are getting louder & your baby’s cry is deafening – go outside. Walk to release endorphins, breathe the fresh air in deeply, feel the wind or rain or sun on your skin & know that everything is temporary. This phase and these feelings will soon come to pass. Better days are ahead.
H A V E A S H O W E R
On days when all you have done is scream & shout & slam doors & then feel guilty about doing all of the above - put baby down somewhere safe & have a shower. Let the water wash away the stresses of the day (or night or morning or afternoon…you get the gist) A fresh start does not come with the rising of the sun, at any point you can reset & begin again.
N O U R I S H Y O U R S E L F
The kindest thing you can do for yourself is nourish your body. On your worst days, I can guarantee that feeding yourself healthy and nutritious food will be the furthest thing from your mind, especially when you’ve been feeding another constantly for what feels like forever, but food is a life source & it is essential for you. The right food is an instant mood booster, it keeps our blood sugar levels in check & it gives us the energy we need to keep going. You are a priority. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential.
T A K E T H E H E L P
Society has us believing that everybody is making it as a one-mama band but the truth is it takes a village. Asking for or taking help is a sign of strength & courage; of how well you know yourself & how much you love & want the best for your baby. Take what you need before you are left trying to pour from an empty cup.
If you, or somebody you know, are in the maternal trenches then speak up & speak out because, if nothing else, I can say this for certain you are not alone & we will always be stronger together.