Updated: Feb 11
Firstly I’d like to say, these are the thoughts, musings and ramblings of a
Mother, Nurse, Baby and family wellbeing support service provider.
All expressions are my own and feel right at the time of writing and publishing as a blog.
I aim not to offend anyone, but understand you can’t please everyone at the same time.
This post took me a while.
I’m a nurse by background (a paediatric research nurse to be specific).
So I love reading the research and I love the stats.
Then I sat pondering about all the information I know or have recently read about Post Natal Depression (PND).
And it dawned on me, when we see NHS stats, saying that “10-20% of new mums experience post natal depression”, shortly followed by information that “7 out of 10” - (SEVENTY per cent) “of women who feel low in the year after giving birth, felt they needed but did not seek help”.
It leads me to question.
How valid is that "10-20% of new mums experiencing PND" stat?
It only means that of the new mums that year, 10-20% went and reported their mental health support need to a GP or other NHS service (hence they have the info).
That stat cannot possibly include people who sought mental health advice, support or treatment in private facilities or those who sought no help at all.
Firstly, You are not a STAT.
You are a human being.
So many complex, new, confusing and down right crazy rates of changing feelings.
And no-one and nothing should make you feel that they are not ok.
There are waaaaay more than 10-20% of new Mums feeling the way any of us could.
Just because some Mum's didn’t tell anyone doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Also, it will never make anyone feel better to think that only 1 in 10 or 2 in 10 new mums,
feel they are struggling!
It’s not useful to tell people who want or need support, they are not the majority.
We need to focus on the fact that regardless of the number of people experiencing mental health problems, they exist and are normal, there is no shame, no
Dad’s are also affected by mental health struggles and PND. I’m just writing this as a Mum, from a Mum perspective at a time where there are a lot of new mums stats being published.
Of course your GP can be incredibly helpful, I am by no means taking anything away from what is a totally overrun and overworked NHS.
But what is also useful are amazing charities like Pandas- PANDAS is a community offering peer-to-peer support for you, your family and your network. (see below for links to organisations and charities).
You can and should seek mental health support where ever and however you like.
At any time.
It does not need to be within the first year, you do not need to feel you're at breaking point, or that no-one will take you seriously.
If you feel you need help, then you need help, there is no shame in that.
Do not be put off by stats.
You are more likely one of the many not the few, not as the stats suggest.
Asking for help, is a strength not a weakness.
Dad’s also experience PND and are far more likely to if their partner does, my words here are not to exclude Dad’s anywhere, I’m just very aware that my client demographic are women… other, potentially struggling, Mums.
So new parents, I feel you, I am you! We are all allowed to feel whichever confusing, unknown, new, up-down, weird and wonderful feeling we feel, and this is okay!
You are not crazy, you’re not loosing your mind.
With the right support, you will be okay!
Hormone imbalance, sleep deprivation and the constant new worries and experiences…
Topped off by the dependence of a tiny new human, is something impossible to love all day every day!
You mental health and wellbeing can and over time will impact on your physical health.
It comes full circle.
If we sleep better, we manage stress better, then we can eat better, our bodies are nourished, we have more energy to maintain healthy relationships with ourself, partners, children and friends, then we feel more content, even happy, then we thrive, then we sleep well again!
Please, if you take one thing from this… Be Kind To Your Mind!
You are not your every thought, you are a wonderfully imperfectly perfect human!
If you ever attend a class or course with me and feel you want to talk, please always ask to talk to me at the end, pop me an email or DM me. I’m not a mental health professional, I’m a Mum, with some experience of having a teeny baby in a pandemic and know of few wonderful services like those mentioned above.
FACTS NOT STATS-
Post natal depression (PND) can come on up to 1 year after your baby is born.
Fathers can also experience PND.
PND comes in varying degrees - some mild, moderate or severe.
Not all those who need mental health support have PND.
Not all those who have PND need medication.
PND is an illness, from which you can recover.
If you ask for help you are more likely to feel better sooner.
Help can remain confidential if you want it to, unless there is an immediate risk to yourself or those around you.
You do not have to have had a previous history of mental health diagnosis or support, to get support.
You will not be judged by asking for help.
You don't need to announce or tell friends or family that you sought help if you don't want to. However if you do decide to, there's another layer of help right there.
Gingerbread is a charity supporting single parent families to live secure, happy and fulfilling lives. https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/
Tommys is a safe space for those who have previously lost a baby https://www.tommys.org/
PANDAS is a community offering peer-to-peer support for you, your family and your network.
Mind - Provide support and empower anyone suffering from a mental health problem.
Mothers for Mothers - A support network of mothers who have experienced mental health issues with one or more of their own babies. A wonderful directory of support for a world of specific conditions or concerns.