May is mental health awareness month. The first week of May is maternal mental health awareness week. Approximately 1 in 5 women will suffer from some form of perinatal mental health issue. Yet, there is still such a stigma regarding reaching out if you are a mother (or significant other in support!) suffering from a perinatal mental health issue.
As a mother, you spend 40 (give or take) weeks in gestation. However, the average maternity leave is 6 weeks. The societal expectation tends to be through a lens of “bounce back” mode. I don’t know about you, but that equation doesn’t balance for me.
As mothers, we are expected to grow, nurture, care for, and cater to the needs of our children without complaint or expectation of care for ourselves. We are often shamed for needing a break, informed lack of sleep is part of what we signed up for, and expected to keep it together at all times. Feeling as if you are failing if you can’t show the world you can do everything all the time (often for everyone except yourself) is often part of our inner monologue. You may tell yourself you are a bad mother if you long for moments away from your child, feel overwhelmed, overly express emotions, or need help. Women have been doing this for centuries, so I can get it together and do this, too.
Being a mother is amazing. Being a mother is HARD. Trying to ignore the pressures of society across mental, physical, and emotional spaces is EXHAUSTING. Seeking internal positive self-talk and reminders that YOU are worthy is difficult.
You are a good mother. You are doing the best that you can in this moment. You are what your child needs. You do not have to expect yourself to do everything for everyone at every moment.
Take time to take care of yourself. It’s hard to care for someone else, if you aren’t cared for as well.
And if you need help or extra support, I’d love to listen.