Do you know three mums? I’m pretty sure most of us do.
The thing is, statistically, one of them is struggling with a mental health issue – right now.
And all of them – especially new mums – are, probably, battling loneliness at some point each and every week.
This week though, it’s maternal mental health week. It shouldn’t take a campaign to remind us that mums matter, but us mamas are pretty good at putting everybody else’s needs before our own.
And it’s doing us no good. One of the most scary statistics I’ve read is that suicide is the leading direct cause of death for mums within the first year after their child is born.
I’m not a new mum anymore. My little tearaway toddler has long left his babyhood behind.
But motherhood, at every stage, can be a tough, sometimes thankless task.
And the pressure can be immense. To feel good. To look good. To have a baby who sleeps well. Feeds well. Settles well. And the frantic pace of life means we almost expect these things to happen overnight. They don’t (as my didn’t-sleep-through-the-night-until-he-was-almost-two-tot demonstrated with aplomb.) Amy Ransom, author of the New Mum’s Notebook, says we need to shout loudly and often that it takes time to make the transition to motherhood. And we need to support each other.
Postnatal depression is no joke. It’s not something you can see (just because that mum’s managed to put a bit of lippy on does not mean she’s not lost in a fog of fear of failing her little one) and it’s indiscriminate.
So, consider this my big holla, one mama to all you others, a reminder that you’re doing a great job. And if you do feel you are struggling, please, please speak up. I promise you, you’re not the only one, and you deserve some support.
* @thenofiltermum launched her #thereforher campaign last week. She’s urging us all to be there for the mum that needs support. Look for her, find her and be THERE. You can show your support on Instagram with a selfie like mine…