Guest blog by Tracey Stone, Head of Parent Supporters at Netmums
Netmums is clear that specialist support and services for perinatal mental health are essential.
As one of the UK’s most diverse, inclusive, and supportive parenting communities, attracting millions of unique users to the site every month, Netmums is acutely aware of how great perinatal mental health needs are. We engage with our community across social media as well as on the site, listening to parents’ worries, and signposting to appropriate and reliable support.
Top 5 concerns new mums have about their mental health
- If I tell people how I am feeling, will they take my baby off me?
- Everyone else seems to be coping. Is there something wrong with me?
- Having a baby was all I ever wanted and now I just want my old life back.
- I feel like we [mum and baby] haven’t bonded.
- I’d do anything for my baby, but I am doing it because I ought to not because I want to.
How we help
Netmums offers a free online, seven-days a week, Parent Supporter Service with a virtual Drop-In Clinic facilitated by health professionals. Here, with its diverse forum, we provide a safe environment for peer support, allowing members to chat with each other in a trusted and moderated space. Alongside this, Netmums continues to offer straightforward, easy-to-access information on mental health for both mums and dads.
Top 5 things mums wish they were told about maternal mental health
It’s OK to not be OK
Around 1 in 5 women experience mental health problems during and/or after pregnancy, so you are not alone in feeling the way you do.
Being honest is important
It absolutely is! First, please be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. If something isn’t quite right, speak to someone you trust as soon as possible, ideally a GP, midwife, or health visitor.
Help is available and, with the right support, you can feel better.
What support is available if things start to feel wrong
The support you may be offered will depend on the symptoms you’re experiencing, and what is available in your area. This might be a charity, a specialist perinatal mental health service and/or local psychological therapy.
How sleep deprivation can make you feel
Sleep deprivation can make you feel like you cannot concentrate on simple tasks. It can have a significant impact on your mood and your ability to get through your day well.
What is normal / when to ask for help
You are the expert on you, your mind, and your body. If you don’t feel like your “normal” self, it might be time to ask for support.
Please remember that speaking out is a sign of strength and a way of looking after yourself, which in turn will help take care of your baby.
Netmums is a proud member of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and recognises the significant difference we can make by working side-by-side and speaking out as one.
Together, we want to #MakeAllCareCount, ensuring that all women, babies, and families in the UK have equitable access to comprehensive, high-quality perinatal mental health care.