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Maternal Mental Health is important at ALL stages of being a mum

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This week is UK Maternal Mental Health Matters week.
Savvy bloggers published and promoted posts all week. Crappy bloggers like me post at the end…
And there you have it.
Mental health in a nutshell.

Comparing yourself to others. Finding yourself lacking. Overly self critical, even vicious.
If one of my children had the same self loathing that I have, I would be devastated. To me, they are the most precious thing in the universe and to think that they cannot see their own light shining within is absolutely horrifying.
My mum reads my blog (Hi, Mum!), I know this will be hard to read but I’ve had a glass of wine and am typing from the heart.
Maternal mental health concerns should not end at the end of the postnatal stage. In fact, the postnatal stage was actually one of the happiest for me (as my 2017 post explained).


But we are fed this image or supreme happiness that comes with having children. This is wrong and this is damaging.
Children are hard work. They are wonderful, terrible, inspiring, crippling, beautiful, hideous, selfless, selfish. Childlike yet often wiser than their parents. Simple and honest, aware of the world around them: their understanding could teach us a lot. It is relentless but the most worthwhile thing we will ever do.

My health visitors with Matthew and Anya was amazing. They made me realise that I was giving my children the best start in life and acknowledge that I might not see that due to the intensity. They told me of parents that had no toys or books, whose only entertainment were the cigarette butts in an ashtray.
It is now that my children are older that the doubts are settling in. Responsibility for their own mental health has taken precedence over my own. I have no idea how I will cope with the teenage years…
Chris is king of the compliments but I cannot bring myself to believe them. How can someone as wonderful as him put up with me?

 

Work-wise I have just taken on a 5th job temporarily (but fingers crossed) and been offered a 6th. What do they see in me that I don’t?
My children come to me for advice and acceptance. Why is it so easy to give to others but keep from ourselves?
I am not writing this for affirmation. I do not think my feelings are exclusive to mothers or women. Mental health is complex. Human beings are complex.
Be a mum but be yourself, don’t forget who you are.

Love yourself, just a little.
Believe in yourself and trust others that see the beauty in your soul.
You are not alone. You are better than you imagine.
You are you.

 

 

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10 comments

  1. I’ve recently done a parenting course and I was amazed at how many people actually suffer during pregnancy and beyond. I think it’s a good thing there’s so much more awareness around mental health. Means people can reach out for help when they need it.

    #GlobalBlogging

  2. Laura, you have a lot going for you! You should love yourself a LOT! Children model what they see, not what they hear. Look at all of your accomplishments, especially your healthy, happy children. Tell yourself every day that you are worthy of love, even if you don’t believe it at first. Fake it until yo u make it! You are a strong woman!

  3. Such an important topic & thank you for your openness. I think that’s a very good point – there is quite a lot of understanding for new mums but it somehow seems to fade… #globalblogging

  4. I can vouch for the teenage years being tricky. Being stable yourself is so important for the impact you have on your kids. Be kind to yourself and make time to make yourself feel healthy and happy is my best advice for a happy you and happy kids. #GlobalBlogging

  5. Firstly you will cope with the teenage years- it may not be a whole lot of fun, but you will be surprised at what you cope with and can manage (and even ‘fix’ or solve). Secondly, cut yourself every time you put yourself down and literally correct yourself (as you would a friend). Kanye it up. We’d all be so much happier with a little Kanye in our head. Be your own hype man. Also focus. Focus on the immediate project/action. If you are truly focused, that little voice goes silent, and you’d be surprised at the confidence it brings. 6th job offers? Sounds like you’re doing a pretty awesome job actually.

  6. You explained how I feel about my children perfectly, Laura! They are hard work. They are both selfless and selfish. They are learning but also wiser than me in many respects. I learn from every day but they can be exhausting. That’s parenthood and I also agree that our mental health in all stages of parenting is super important. How can we be effective in our parenting if we don’t look out for our own well being? It doesn’t get talked about enough I think. #GlobalBlogging

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