May is the month to appreciate our mothers, but also bring awareness to the silent struggle that is mental health. New and expecting mothers face lifestyle, body and hormonal changes. While each woman’s experience may be different, maternal mental health “disorders” can arise during pregnancy, after pregnancy as well as other points of motherhood. Women who experience depression or anxiety during this time are more likely to have difficulties bonding with their children, as well as decreased well-being for themselves.
Mothers who do not receive adequate support from their families or communities may struggle even further in managing these disorders. It is therefore essential that mothers be provided with access to proper resources and care so they can get the help they need. It is also important for mothers to have a supportive and understanding community to turn to so they can feel safe, secure and empowered. Here is more information on maternal mental health and how we can help the wonderful people who brought us life.
Who is at Risk?
Research shows that any woman can experience maternal mental health disorders. However, those who have a history of mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety, are more likely to face these challenges during pregnancy and after giving birth. Additionally, mothers who suffer from poverty or lack social support may be at an increased risk. Oftentimes, if someone in your family was affected mentally by pregnancy or after, your chances of being affected are increased too, so talk to the mothers around you to prepare yourself well.
Effects of Mental Health Disorders On the Mother & Infant
Maternal mental health disorders can have a profound effect on both the mother and baby. They may experience guilt, low self-esteem, and difficulty bonding with their child. Additionally, some women may face difficulties in breastfeeding, due to decreased physical and emotional energy. Effects can vary from mother to mother but generally result in decreased well-being for both parties and a higher risk of physical and mental difficulties in the future.
Newborns of mothers experiencing mental health disorders can experience emotional and physical delays, developmental problems and a decreased ability to form secure attachments. If left untreated, these issues can cause long-term mental health effects for both mother and child.
Why Maintaining Mental Health is Important
It is essential for mothers to be healthy and well-supported in order to raise a happy and balanced family, as well as take care of themselves. Mental health plays a crucial role in parenting, as it influences everything from communication styles to attitudes and behavior. Mothers with good mental health are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of motherhood and have a better chance at creating positive environments for their children.
It is even more essential for moms to receive assistance to ensure that mental health conditions do not lead them down a dangerous and unfortunate path. If left untreated, these issues can cause people to feel hopeless and helpless, driving them towards actions they would otherwise never entertain, such as hurting themselves or those around them.
How to Manage Maternal Mental Health
Mothers need to take the time to care for themselves and to reach out for help when needed. Here are some tips on how you can manage your mental health:
Take time for yourself: Make sure to set aside at least 15 – 20 minutes each day for self-care. Once a baby comes along, mothers don’t get much time to themselves. It is important to take a break and practice activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Connect with others: Seek out family, friends, community and professionals who can provide emotional support. Talking to others, whether it be just about your challenges or a regular outlet, can help to relieve stress and anxiety as well as show you you’re not alone.
Practice healthy habits: Get enough rest, eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly to keep your body and mind in balance. You need to keep your mind strong and fed to be your best self.
Seek help from a professional: If you feel overwhelmed or find yourself struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Maternal mental health disorders need to be addressed in order for mothers to feel safe, secure and empowered. With the right resources and support, mothers can learn how to manage their mental health and create a positive environment for both them and their children. By taking the time to care for our minds, we are setting up ourselves, our families and our children for success.
Steward Health Care is Here for You
At Steward, we understand how challenging it can be to manage your mental health as a mother. We also recognize the importance of providing support and resources that can help mothers dealing with mental health issues. Our network of providers are dedicated to helping mothers feel empowered and supported in their journey.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out to us today for more information on how we can help. You are not alone — we are here for you every step of the way!
Common Questions About Maternal Mental Health
How can I tell if my mental health is being affected by motherhood?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed more often than usual, it may be a sign of growing mental health disorders. Additionally, if you find yourself excessively worrying about the well-being of your baby or experiencing difficulty bonding with them, these may also be warning signs that need to be addressed.
What are the signs and symptoms of maternal depression or anxiety?
The signs and symptoms of maternal depression or anxiety can vary from person to person, but some common ones include feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty sleeping, losing interest in activities that used to bring joy and experiencing feelings of guilt or shame. It is important to reach out for help if any of these feelings persist for more than two weeks.
Are there any lifestyle changes or treatments that can help me manage my mental health?
Yes, there are several lifestyle changes and treatments that can help you manage your mental health. Taking time for yourself, reaching out for emotional support, practicing healthy habits, and seeking help from a professional are all great ways to start managing your mental health. Additionally, medications and therapy might be recommended by your doctor as treatment options.
When should I seek professional help for my mental health?
Seek professional help if you are experiencing severe or distressing symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Appetite changes that result in unwanted weight changes
- Struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in things you usually find enjoyable
- Inability to perform usual daily functions and responsibilities
Also, If you find yourself struggling with depression or anxiety and have noticed any of the signs or symptoms mentioned, then it is important to seek professional help. This can be done through your primary care provider or a mental health specialist.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.