“Explain more about what maternal mental health means because some people didn’t really care about their mental health until things started getting out of hand… I know most of us in our country, we don’t really care about mental health when you’re pregnant. So I think this is gonna be really helpful.”
In this series of audio clips, Fatima* shares how her living situation and a lack of respect for her autonomy impacted her maternal mental health as a newly single mother seeking asylum with a two-year-old and another baby on the way. Fatima also talks about her positive interactions with midwives, health visitors, and community support workers from Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) member organisation, Refugee Women Connect.
Please note: It is vital that we listen to the experiences of women, babies, and families from across our society if we are to ensure the system works for all. However, these stories can be difficult to hear and listener discretion is advised. If the contents of Fatima’s audio clips cause you to think of anything that has happened to you or someone you know and you feel upset, worried or uncomfortable, please see our support page for a list of services that may be able to help.
What maternal mental health difficulties did you face during and after pregnancy?
What did your midwife do to support you?
Did you find your health visitor helpful?
What other support were you offered in your community?
What are the main challenges facing pregnant asylum seekers?
How can maternal mental health support for asylum seekers be improved?
How could you have been better supported with your mental health?
The MMHA is hugely grateful to Fatima for sharing her unique experience to help raise awareness of perinatal mental health in the refugee and asylum-seeking community, reduce stigma and influence positive system change. We would also like to thank Refugee Women Connect for facilitating this conversation and for everything they do to support refugee and asylum-seeking women in the UK.
*To protect her anonymity, Fatima is a pseudonym.