ABH Maryland

Mental Health On Mother’s Day And What You Need To Know


Mental Health On Mother’s Day And What You Need To Know

  • Family

Becoming a first-time mother is the biggest life-changing event any woman can have. Overnight, you have a new primary job: motherhood.

Mothers have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and many don’t discuss their mental health struggles while they hold everything together for the family. From pregnancy to the day children leave the nest, motherhood is filled with mental health hurdles.

There’s not just one type of mother. There are “traditional” mothers, as society defines them — women who raise children in a household with a committed partner. But there are also single mothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, teen mothers, mothers who went through years of fertility treatments to have children, mothers who had to turn to other options when those fertility treatments fail, mothers who lost a child to miscarriage, mothers who gave birth to stillborn babies, mothers who lost a child to an illness or accident, and don’t forget maternal figures who aren’t your “mom” at all.

For women without children, whether due to infertility or losing a child along the way, Mother’s Day can be a trigger all its own. Sales run wild for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but some companies are letting you opt out of these holiday email campaigns to avoid reminders of losing a mother or child, or in many cases, not having them to begin with.

On average, 7 out of every 10 women hide or downplay their mental health symptoms. For women worldwide who give birth, as many as 1 in 5 experience some form of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, or PMAD. Potential mental disorders for new mothers include postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, postpartum bipolar disorder, and postpartum psychosis.

What causes postpartum mood disorders?

Postpartum depression and other maternal mental health needs come with a lot of stigma, but the “baby blues” are one of the most physically explainable mental illnesses.

After women give birth, whether to a healthy baby or a stillborn baby, they experience a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone. Physical changes to the thyroid can also cause new moms to feel tired, sluggish, and depressed months or even years after birth.

Any new mom can experience postpartum mood disorders, but they are at higher risk if they have a history of depression, postpartum mood disorders with past pregnancies, or a baby with special needs.

Mothers everywhere are often afraid to discuss their symptoms and feel like an outcast — like a bad mom for needing help. The stigma that motherhood is a perfect journey, especially played out on social media, leads many mothers to think they’re not good enough when they can’t juggle work and family with no hiccups every single day.

What is invisible labor?

Societal norms dictate that women are typically the caregivers, cleaners, chefs, chauffeurs, and overall managers of the home. This puts a tremendous amount of invisible stress on women and mothers to remember to pick up the dry cleaning, get a birthday present for that birthday party this weekend, make it to the dog’s grooming appointment, and don’t forget about the bake sale!

thoughtful middle aged woman

While many modern dads are chipping in with more household responsibilities, women are conditioned to take on loads of invisible labor that can lead to anxiety and depression. Mothers also handle most of the household emotional labor, helping children and partners process their feelings, and deal with “unpaid work” — delivering services expected of them with no compensation, like running errands or cooking every night.

Beyond traditional Mother’s Day, another holiday is celebrated — World Maternal Mental Health Day. On the first Monday in May, just a few days before Mother’s Day in the United States, nations around the world focus on the specific mental health needs of mothers.

How to Help a Mom in Need

When it comes to mental health, no one can fight an uphill battle alone. If you’re a mother struggling with depression, postpartum anxiety, or any mood disorder, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to set up an appointment, and help stop the stigma of mothers being “too strong” to need help.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.