OK, so even if you’re not a mom yourself, 9 out of 10 psychologists agree that you probably have one…. So let’s take some time out to celebrate how awesome moms are, and to learn about their mental health needs!
What is Maternal Mental Health month all about?
Maternal Mental Health Month takes the month of May to raise awareness and changing attitudes about some of the most common issues that mothers experience during the transition to parenthood. Although most of the movies and media depict a smooth process in which the mother takes to parenting naturally and hits the ground running, the reality is that many moms struggle. In fact, 1 in 5 moms suffers from postpartum depression. So this month is about building and strengthening support networks to empower women to identify resources and personal capabilities.
Early parenting is rarely an easy transition and is considered a time that can be challenging for both new and experienced parents. Parenthood is characterized by several significant changes across physical, emotional, psychological, and social domains. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how transition to parenthood is a time when both moms and dads are in need of more social support as it is common for new parents to become isolated or withdrawn. It is also common for new and experienced parents to find difficulty fulfilling their basic self-care needs and to find their transition from woman or man to mother or father as overwhelming. Many new parents may not be seeing their friends as often, have difficulty managing priorities, exhaustion, and changes in your relationship with your partner.
Men and fathers can help foster support for their spouses and help create an environment of support to confront the challenges that both mothers and fathers face during parenthood including the lack of support for each other. Fathers can be supportive of mothers during early parenthood by openly communicating and encouraging their spouse to find and/or interact with other women or parenting groups. As mentioned in a previous blog, this will help develop strong connections not only in your relationships with others, but in your relationship as well, as you are helping to promote a foundation for support. Some helpful resources men and fathers can use to support mothers include joining Mom and Dad clubs and groups in San Diego, connecting with support coordinators through Postpartum Support International, and/or connecting with other parents.
Join us in bringing awareness to maternal mental health, and who knows—maybe one day we will include all genders and go with parental mental health awareness month in July once we’re through International Fathers Mental Health Day in June!