From post-partum Psychosis to post-natal depression and antenatal anxiety, you name it I’ve probably had it. 

And a survey suggests that a staggering 81% of women have experienced at least one episode of a mental health problem during or after their pregnancy. Low mood was experienced by over two thirds of these women, anxiety by around half and depression by just over a third.

Only 7% of the women who reported experiencing a maternal mental health condition were referred to specialist care and for 38% of the women who were referred, it took over 4 weeks to be seen, with some waiting up to a year for treatment. Care across the country varied significantly with a 20% difference in referral rates in some areas, and the type of care received also varied – in one area only 8% of women were referred to specialist maternal mental healthcare services, compared with 50% in another. Survey by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

As this week marks maternal mental health week I thought I’d share some of my most-read and most revealing blog posts on my struggle with mental health and being a mum. 

Mad Mums? – My Post-partum Psychosis

Eating Disorders Awareness Week: GPs are the gate keepers to life-saving support

**Trigger warning self-harm:** To the girl with the cuts on her arm… 

World Mental Health Day: Anybody can have a crisis 

Mental health: When anxiety gets physical

Eating Disorders at Easter: How to care for someone suffering 

I also spoke to other bloggers who have shared their experience of mental health problems…

  • Alex at Better Together Home said: “These words (Mental Heath) carry so much stigma in our society. You can have a physical ailment and everyone is understanding, supportive, empathetic. But you try and tell someone that you have a mental health illness and suddenly it’s awkward, uncomfortable, and you find them looking at you a little differently – or just staring at you seemingly worried that you are about to snap and hurt them.”
  • Jessica at That Mummy Blog said: “I had been honest with my midwife and health visitor from the start. Stating I didn’t feel anything (for my baby), but their advice was pointless. Bathe together, do skin to skin, look into his eyes, breastfeed him. I was doing all of this, but I couldn’t force him to connect with me. He would wriggle and scream, the only time he seemed to be upset, other than when he was hungry, was when I tried to cuddle him. They were sure I would figure it out. So I plodded along.
    “I went to my usual baby groups, reconnected with old friends I had lost touch with due to my sickness. We seemed like the perfect, happy family on the outside. On the inside I was becoming increasingly low, depressed, frustrated and incredibly anxious and paranoid. I was determined everyone was looking at me. That they could see we didn’t bond. That everyone would talk about me. Thought that I wasn’t coping. That they felt sorry for my children.”
    Jessica also writes about taking medication for her mental health, here.
  • Amy at Amy and Tots writes: “After the birth of Zara, I noticed quite significantly when they baby blues hit. My anxiety went through the roof and I never noticed the blues going. I was crying a lot and I just felt like I didn’t really want to be here anymore. I kept telling myself that my children would be better off without me because at least they had a daddy and family that actually wanted to interact with them. I was only getting out of bed in the morning once Darren was ready to leave for work, and that was only because I had to get up because there was no one else to look after the children. I didn’t want to get up and spend my time with them.”
  • Julie at Mummy It’s OK adds: “I’m glad that I am well and nearing the end of my  postpartum depression recovery. However there is and will always the fear that I will relapse, but I’m a Postpartum Depression Survivor and I’ll keep going! It’s time for us to start enjoying life as a family and for me to enjoy being a mummy and a wife again. I’m ready to be the mum I know I am. I am not scared and anxious like before. I’m ready for the challenge – bring it on toddler – hahaha. I’m sure my little man will keep me on the right path, he is the shining light in the dark, the best reason to fight and recover, to stay well and never give up. I will not let it take me back to that place again – its already taken close to 3 years of my life – 3 years – I’ve lost from my life, from my family, from my baby.”Well no more I’m done with you now. I have won – you have not. I am stronger than you – Goodbye Postpartum Depression – I am a Postpartum Depression Survivor.”