- Posted by Snapclarity
- On May 10, 2019
Mother’s Day is the widely celebrated annual event full to the brim of happiness and gratitude. However, it can also be a complicated holiday with countless reasons as to why many women may struggle with this day. Beyond the lunches, Facebook photos, flowers and cards, it can also be a day that causes great pain.
It is important to recognize and appreciate that motherhood can come in many guises: the single mother, the mother who endured years of fertility treatment, the mother who accepts fertility treatment has failed, the mother who lost her child to miscarriage, the mother who gave birth to her stillborn baby, the teen mother, the “advanced maternal age” mother, the mother who adopted a child, the mother with joint custody of her children with Mothering Sunday not being her weekend, the mother who tragically lost her child, and the mother who perhaps has never felt so overwhelmed and disconnected from life as she currently feels right now.
If Mother’s Day is tough for you, you are definitely not alone.
The societal expectation and pressure for mothers to feel joyful on this day can feel heavy. Motherhood can be hard at times, both physically and emotionally. The self-stigmatization women place on themselves to be a happy and energetic mom, while simultaneously handling daily life challenges can silence them. And, this stops many women from reaching out for help for fear of being perceived as a failure.
Research suggests 7 in 10 women hide or downplay their mental illness symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges the debilitating nature of mental health disorders for mothers (primarily depression), and the effect these disorders can have on a child’s growth and development. If a mother is suffering from depression, it can be hard for her to take care of her own needs, let alone the needs of her baby or child, naturally causing her additional distress and anxiety.
Mental ill-health is prevalent in many motherly walks of life. It is vital we raise awareness of maternal mental health issues, and essential that women, as well as their family and friends, recognize the signs of maternal mental ill-health.
Signs of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and depression to look out for:
- Feelings of extreme sadness or anger without warning.
- Foggy experiences or having trouble completing tasks.
- ‘Robotic’ experiences, as if you are just going through the motions.
- Feelings of anxiety around the baby and your other children.
- Feelings of guilt and overwhelm with the perception you are failing at motherhood.
- Unusually irritable or angry.
Dr. Ariel Dalfen, a perinatal psychiatrist and author of “When baby Brings The Blues,” said in a recent interview regarding the stigma that still exists with postpartum depression:
“It’s ok to struggle. Just because you have a mental illness at this time doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a good mom, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to get better, it doesn’t mean your child is going to be taken away from you. It gives permission for people to speak up and get the kind of help they need at this time of life when they are really struggling. The reality is there are a lot of effective treatments; there is a lot of good care out there.”
3 thoughts to keep in mind this Mother’s Day:
You are the only mother your child needs. Please steer away from any self-inflicted pressure you may be placing on yourself. Your child does not need the social media ‘picture perfect’ pristine house, perfect dressed mom, or Instagram meal on the table. They just need you, your love and presence!
Acknowledge your incredible strength and the small things you accomplish. Realize your worth and don’t believe the negative self-talk you replay in your head. Your perception of yourself needs to be healthy so you can make the best choices possible as a mom. Show yourself more kindness than judgement, more credit than criticism.
Take a moment to mother yourself. Nourish and care for yourself. Try to avoid or reduce caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Remember these are just temporary fixes to a problem that needs and deserves greater support. Get as much rest and sleep as you can. Every little bit counts towards feeling better and able to cope. If you were sick with the flu, you would automatically rest in bed. Mental illness is no different and requires the same level of self-care to help restore and heal.
Share with someone you trust and talk about your feelings. Don’t be afraid to say if something feels wrong. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and does not mean you are failing as a mom for doing so. Talk to your family doctor or mental healthcare practitioner, to find out what support and services are available to you both locally and digitally. There is no need to suffer in silence. The sooner you get help and support, the better you will feel.
To all the mothers who are part of the beautiful and amazing diversity of motherhood, please allow yourself to take this Mother’s Day to celebrate YOU. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may be. Celebrate the incredible resiliency you have and continue to develop. Take great care of yourself and remember you ARE enough! You are doing a mighty great job, with many brighter days are on the horizon.