Happy May! A new month, a new season! While flowers are blooming all around us, so are mothers and families! May is maternal mental health awareness month so let us embrace and celebrate them!
Maternal wellness encompasses a variety of elements. There's physical wellness, of course. As moms, we try our best to follow up with our OB/GYN's, our family physicians, eye doctors, etc. What else constitutes a mothers' wellness? Community outreach? Playgroups? Getting the laundry done....checking off all of the to do's? Dare I mention.....the mothers' mental health?!
A new mother is more at risk of developing depression or anxiety in the months following childbirth than at any other point in her life! It is imperative that we make maternal mental health a priority in our follow up care to new families. This can occur in a variety of settings - OB/GYN offices, pediatricians, moms groups and support groups.
Maternal mental health is not just important to new moms but to "established" moms as well! It can be a struggle to define yourself beyond a mom once you've stayed home to raise you children for a number of years. Now that the older kids are in school all day, what's your role? This disconnect from where you found yourself for so many years can be very disorienting. Without the proper education, support and nurturing, these moms are at risk for depression, anxiety and struggles with low self esteem. It's vitally important that we support these women in the next chapter of their life - mom and also a new woman with a new sense of purpose!
So, as you're buying that Mother's Day card for your mom, wife, sister, consider what you're personal message of support will be for that special woman in your life. Will you support her mothering, her personal and/or professional dreams, her creativity?
Because the expressed support of our loved ones means so much more than they know......