Becoming a parent can be exhausting, especially in those early days, it can really affect your mental health. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be compassionate to yourself & to accept support from others.
The NCT have a useful list of top tips for taking care of yourself after having a baby
It’s common for mums to experience a period of distress around day 5 after having their baby, this is generally quite short lived & what we refer to as ‘the baby blues’. However for around 1 in 10 women this develops into something more prolonged & may require you to reach out for some mental health support. Some mums experience this during their pregnancy too & it can include worrying about bonding with their baby.
Talk to us – we’re here to listen
Don’t hide away & feel like you’re the only one feeling like this, we promise you you’re not; keep talking – our groups are the ideal place as our peer supporters are trained to listen & can signpost on if we think you need some further support.
“Accessing support is scary, but it’s out there. You are worthy of it’”Beth – Early Nourishment Peer Supporter
It can be really helpful reading stories of those who have lived experience of struggling with their mental health; Rosey of PND & Me shares her story on her page & hosts a weekly ‘PND Hour’ chat on her twitter feed. Other pages of support include Eve Canavans ‘Smalltimemum’ blog, where she talks about her experience of postnatal psychosis & what support is available for mums experiencing perinatal mental health issues.
Taking medication during pregnancy & beyond
You may be worried about taking medication for your mental health during pregnancy or when breastfeeding; please do not stop suddenly, consult with a professional before making any decisions. There are many medications which are ‘safe’. Check out the BUMPS website & The Breastfeeding Network for more information
Local services that may be of support include:
- TALKWORKS – who work with a range of difficulties including mild/moderate anxiety & depression, OCD & birth trauma. Pregnant women and mums to babies under 1 year get seen as a priority (as well as armed forces personnel & their families). You can self refer to this service via phone or online
- Devon Partnership Trusts Perinatal Mental Health Team – for women experiencing more moderate/severe difficulties with their mental health, or those who have a significant mental health history which may need to be considered in order to give them the best support possible; there is our local perinatal mental health team. They work with mums from conception up until 1 year postnatal. Please speak to a health professional if you think you need a referral
- Jasmine Lodge Mother & Baby Unit (MBU) for mums who are requiring inpatient care we are super lucky in Devon to have a brand new mother and baby unit; meaning mums can stay and be cared for near to home with their baby.
- Splitz Domestic Abuse Support – 0345 155 1074
Other helpful links
Here are some other links that you may find useful:
- Royal College of General Practitioners Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit
- Perinatal Positivity by Formed Films with real stories of men & women who have struggled with their mental health around the perinatal period
- The Compassionate Mind Approach to Postnatal Depression by Michelle Cree is a great read for anyone & is available at the local library
- When you’re struggling with your own mood it can be hard to focus on what your baby needs; check out this article from the NCT on ‘How to cope and keep calm with a crying baby’
Dads…..you matter too!
- Dads can struggle with their mental health in the perinatal period too; please speak to a health professional if you need support & don’t feel embarrassed to talk to your support network about how you’re feeling. You can also self refer via phone or online to TALKWORKS
- Check out Fathers Reaching Out for the campaign for support for fathers mental health
- The DadPad is full of useful information for Dads – this is only available if your local area have commissioned it. We are lucky that it is available for anyone living in Devon & Cornwall