Perinatal / maternal are interchangeable terms. They both relate to the time period between becoming pregnant and approximately 1-year after giving birth. Therefore you may see both of these terms being used a lot this month!
Perinatal mental health includes conditions that existed before pregnancy as well as any that develop during / after. Approximately 27% of new and expectant mothers will struggle with their mental health; whether they develop a new condition or an existing condition becomes exasperated during that time. Sadly, 70% of these mothers will down play or hide their condition; with suicide being the leading cause of direct maternal death within 1-year of giving birth.
This shows that there is still an awful lot of stigma surrounding mental health; especially in mothers.
Many mothers who are struggling with their mental health have stated that they had been scared of telling someone out of fear that they would be deemed unfit to care for their children.
Maternal mental health includes a wide range of conditions such as:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
And much more.
Struggling with mental health does not make you a bad parent. Going through pregnancy, birth and having to make adjustments to your day-to-day life is a very challenging experience; not to mention the every changing hormones!
However, if a mental health condition is not treated and it continues to impact on your life long-term, it can lead to significant, long-lasting effects which can in turn impact on your relationship with those around you; including your baby.
It is okay to admit that you need help and support, at the end of the day, you are only human!
Lean on your loved ones, your friends and your family for support.
If you feel as though you are still struggling and you need more intervention, reach out to your GP, your health visitor or your midwife for help. They can point you in the direction of some very helpful services and treatments.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone.
1 in 5 mothers are feeling the same way as you! This is more common that you may think and there is help out there for you, with no judgement.
We want to take this moment to congratulate all expectant and new mothers (and fathers!) and let you know that you are doing and incredible job!
Have Hope Always,
From Aimee and the team at SeeTheUniverse