One in five mums struggle with maternal mental health. Having a baby is a big life event. It's natural to experience a range of emotions, whether that's during pregnancy or after baby arrives. And it's ok to say you're struggling - there's no manual, nothing that can really prepare you for suddenly having this brand new human who is your responsibility!
That's what Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is all about - a weeklong campaign dedicated to getting people talking about mental illness while pregnant or after having a baby. This year the campaign falls on May 3 - May 9, with the theme ‘Journeys to Recovery’.
What is maternal mental health?
Many of us have struggled with anxiety, depression and loneliness after a challenging year, with parents at a greater risk of poor mental health according to a survey by the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
The research also found that women of colour and women from poorer economic backgrounds are more likely to experience mental health problems during and after pregnancy.
According to mental health charity Mind, a maternal or 'perinatal' mental health problem is one that you experience any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth. This may be new mental health problem, or an episode of a problem you've experienced in the past. Partners may also experience mental health problems around this time.
The most common perinatal mental health problems include:
Talking about postnatal mental health
Watch Sara, Holly and Kate talk about their experience of mental health problems after pregnancy.
Need to talk to someone? Here’s how to get help when you need it
What is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week?
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week is organised and led by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership UK (PMHP UK), who launched the first-ever UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week in 2014.
It's all about raising public and professional awareness of perinatal mental health problems, advocating for women affected by it, changing attitudes and helping families access the information, care and support they need to recover.
This year's focus will highlight how mums and families can seek support during this unusual time, alongside detailing the individual routes to recovery.
PMHP UK will provide a supportive platform for families and signpost them to vital resources and safe support which is what people need most at this time. The focus will be on ensuring parents feel well informed and supported at a time when anxiety is heightened for so many.
This year's daily themes
Each day of this important week also has it's own theme:
- Monday - What is maternal mental health?
- Tuesday - Reaching out for support
- Wednesday - World Maternal Mental Health Day
- Thursday - Support for friends and family & Looking after you and yours
- Friday - Your journeys to recovery
- Saturday - Paternal mental health
- Sunday - Reflections
To support maternal mental health week on social media, use the hastags #journeystorecovery and #maternalmhmatters
Read more popular articles
The link between sleep and postnatal depression - what you need to know
Self care tips for parents
‘As a black midwife I am acutely aware of the healthcare inequalities that are faced by BAME women’
Inspiring quotes about motherhood that every mum needs to read
Midwife Marley: 'Whatever choice you make around your birth, it’s yours'