Maternal mental wellbeing – self-care over self-doubt
I was the support system to someone very close to me who was dealing with difficulties with their mental health after suffering trauma. At this time, I also discovered that I was was 12 weeks pregnant expecting my second child, and at the time, my first son was only 7 months old. I was preparing to become a mother of two under two!
I soon realised I was too busy looking after everyone – everyone else apart from me! This is where 'self doubt' started to kick in and affect me. Am I doing a good job as a mother? Why can’t I stop thinking? And why is my heart racing at 100mph? I realised that I was never allowing myself to stop for a second to take a break. If I was going to carry on being the best version of myself, I needed to start taking care of myself too. This looks different for everyone; it might mean asking for some support so you can take time out to feel more like yourself again.
During that difficult time, a friend told me: “take all that love you’ve given everyone else and give it to yourself”. I began to realise the need to stop labelling ourselves as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and simply accept ourselves with an open heart and treat ourselves with the same kindness, care and compassion we would show to a friend, or even a stranger. Sadly, often there are times when we wouldn’t treat anyone as badly as we treat ourselves.
As parent or carer of any kind, it’s okay to stop and allow time to simply be you and spend time on yourself. I made a promise to myself going forward, that I would try to accept everything I was doing as a mother, loving, teaching, protecting, and to work on removing the self-doubt. The truth is, I like many others am doing a great job with all the hats I wear as a working woman, a friend, a sister, a mother and importantly being me, ‘Chrissy’. Sometimes we just don’t take the time out to see it.
Back in 2018, my goal was to create a space where I bring all aspects of motherhood together, which is when I had the idea for the Motivational Mums Club. After a number of events in early 2019, The Motivational Mums Club took a turn to focus on maternal mental health, a much-neglected aspect of becoming a parent. At the Motivational Mums Club, we offer free 1-to-1 mental health sessions for mothers and mums-to-be, conducted by a fully qualified NHS Mental Health Specialist. I also do my best to promote mental health awareness through my platforms and am a ‘Make Birth Better’ Champion.
If you’d like to hear more from Chrissy or access the free mental health sessions, you can visit the Motivational Mums Club website. You can also follow @motivationalmumsclub on Instagram.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing during and after pregnancy
Wherever you are in your pregnancy, it's important to focus on your own wellbeing as well as the baby's. Often, having a baby can be all-consuming and it’s easy to neglect your own needs, believing that ‘as long as the baby’s okay – everything is fine’. You are your baby’s parent – you matter more to them than anyone in this world. By taking care of yourself, you are doing the best thing for your baby.
It can be really difficult when we are busy and feeling anxious to ask for support, perhaps for fear of being judged or having people feel like you’re not managing. The truth is, whether social media tells us or not, everyone needs support in whatever form that takes for them. You don’t have to struggle through on your own if you need some extra help. Is there someone that can come over to watch the baby while you shower? Someone who can pick up a few essentials for you while they do their own food shop?
Our pregnancy and postnatal wellbeing plan helps you identify where you may need support and who might be able to help you. It can also help you plan for self-care ahead of the time, just like you would for a birth-plan. Try our free tool which gives you a PDF printable plan, to keep and guide you through as you navigate becoming a parent and taking care of yourself and your new baby.