Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week Reminds Us That Our Stories Matter
It is often the stories that we don’t share that are amongst the most important ones. I know that after I gave birth to my son 21 years ago no one knew that I was hardly eating and regularly crying both in private and in public. It was only years later that I felt comfortable sharing that with others. And yet it might have helped me, and other women, to open up about what I was going through. That way I may have been able to receive the proper support as well as help other new mothers to not feel so alone.
The fact is that entry into parenthood is not always peaches and cream. No matter how traumatic our childbirth and postpartum experience is, we are frequently told “well the most important thing is that the baby is healthy” and when that isn’t the case we hear “you have to be strong to handle the situation”. If we aren’t careful we will think we have no right to feel anything but unadulterated joy upon the birth of a child. But it just doesn’t work that way, does it? Becoming a parent can often be filled with depression, anxiety, fear, and other overwhelming emotions and thoughts.
The truth of the matter is, maternal mental health disorders are the most common pregnancy and childbirth complication. New parents of all cultures, ages, races and income-levels deal with these conditions. However, we know that, in the United States, maternal mental health issues disproportionately burden women of color and those with low incomes.
It is time our society shed the stigma of maternal mental health disorders so that new moms can get the support they need and deserve. Here at MomsRising we are clear that moms’ stories have helped fuel the way for some of the recent progress made on maternal mental health .
On the occasion of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week we encourage you to share your story about postpartum struggles and help our society turn the tide on maternal mental health.