World MMH Day

It’s World Maternal Mental Health Day
by Andrea Bates

for the PSI Blog
May 3, 2017

7- mamababyPSICan you imagine it? Voices all over the world coming together to support women who are struggling. To help raise awareness across the globe for women everywhere who are grappling with maternal mental health.

Women like you.

The expectant mother who feels so consumed with worry that she can’t imagine months and months of this and wonders what she will do when the baby arrives.

Women like you.

The brand new mama who can’t go home just yet because of delivery complications and can only focus on her fears.

Women like you.

The new mama who was sent home, but who had to leave without her little ones because they arrived super early. The mama who returns every day and, when she can, sleeps there at night. We see you.

Women like you.

The mother who cannot sleep at night for fear that something will happen to her.

Women like you.

The mom who cannot bear to hear the baby cry—and so she hides until he stops.

Women like me.

Who watched my infant learn to crawl with anxiety and trepidation as I thought of all the things she would be getting into after that.

Women like my friends.

Who struggled beyond words and when the words finally came, they thought it was too late. But then they found help.

Women like those who make up my sisterhood.

Women who worried so much, but thought that since they didn’t feel depressed they had to be fine. Women who found themselves back in the hospital after baby was born—but for a slew of new reasons.

Women who take medication. Women who don’t. Women who go to therapy. Women who don’t. Women who search the internet and find themselves resources, reaching out to send an email, or to pick up that phone to call the warmline, or a friend, hoping to talk to someone on the other end who will listen.

Women everywhere who can’t shut the intrusive thoughts off, no matter how tired they may be.

Women who don’t get enough sleep and are scared they may never sleep again.

For each of these women, we share the reminder that they are not alone. We share a loud ‘Me, too!’ for those who need it. We remind them that this is not their fault. We teach them that maternal mental health and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders go beyond depression.

We help them understand that they are not alone. Never alone.

Are you one of these women?

We are here for you. Reach out. Speak up. We will listen.

Do you know a new mom?

Ask her how she is doing. LISTEN to what she says. Because no matter how many people you think are listening to her? There are often way too few. Nobody’s asking. Everyone wants to know how the baby is. How baby is sleeping, eating, pooping, even. Nobody is asking mom if she’s getting rest. If she’s eating regularly. If she gets to take a shower when she needs or wants to. Ask her if she is sleeping. Ask her if she needs anything. Ask her if she is okay.

World Maternal Mental Health Day is an initiative to ensure that people everywhere learn and understand that the life changes that come with pregnancy leave women more vulnerable to mental illnesses. Take note of this statement. Recognize the truth in these words. Whether they apply to you or someone you know and care about, don’t ignore them.

We can help. We’re here to listen. And you’re never alone.

Contact Postpartum Support International at 800-944-4773 for support today. Or find your local volunteer.

#maternalMHmatters #connectthedots

About the author

Andrea is a native New Yorker living in NC who has become quite accustomed to wearing flip-flops year-round. An LCSW, she works part-time, benefiting her social media addiction, and volunteers regularly for several non-profit organizations helping women in need of support. Andrea has been published on sites like Carolina Parent, Postpartum Progress, Scary Mommy and Midlife Boulevard. You can also find her at her own website, Good Girl Gone Redneck, writing about her life as a mom, her family, important causes, and incredible books you absolutely must read.
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