Hope for new mums

I remember watching an ad on TV a few weeks before I had my first child. The mum was sitting up in bed, new babe in her arms looking calm and beautiful . This picture stuck in my mind and I naively presumed that this was going to be me in a few weeks’ time. Roll on 4 weeks later- new beautiful baby for sure but I was one exhausted mum with a crying baby I could not settle and I looked and felt a wreck. The first six weeks were a fog and gradually, with help and support from my loved ones, the fog gradually lifted. I was much more prepared when I had my other children and learnt to be a lot easier on myself. I often encourage new mums to be kind to themselves and remind them the ‘art of mothering’ is a lifetime journey, which at times goes fantastically well and other times can leave you feeling like you are inadequate and maybe even a failure.

There are situations however when the fog does not lift- the exhaustion continues, the bonding with the baby does not seem to be happening and the days are spent in tears, where every little task seems to be mammoth and there are just too many hurdles to cope with the day. I have walked this journey with young mums and the most difficult challenge is that mums feel they have failed on something that is supposed to be ‘ just natural’.

The reality is that postnatal depression is real and more common than many people realise and there is no shame in seeking help. I have noticed, however, that this step can be incredibly hard as the pure nature of how a mum is feeling makes it hard to even approach a doctor or a friend for help. What new mums need is people around them to give practical help, not judge and encourage support wherever they can.

If we see a mum who has had a baby continue to struggle and showing signs of feeling depressed, then we as individuals need to do all we can to gently support and encourage her to seek help. Mums, their babies and their families need and deserve support and we are blessed to live in a country that can provide the help that is needed.

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