Topic: Maternal Mental Health Matters: Pregnancy and Birth During the Pandemic
Pregnancy and childbirth are pivotal events in women’s lives. For many expecting and new mothers the pandemic has filled this time with fear, stress, anxiety and uncertainty.
May marks Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, an event celebrated globally to raise awareness and help end stigma around maternal mental health.
“Raising awareness around maternal mental health allows us to change the narrative around the realities of motherhood. Motherhood is not all cuddles and baby kisses, but can be filled with sleepless nights, personal sacrifice, and self-doubt. By normalising the conversation around mental health, women who experience changes to their mental health during pregnancy and postpartum will know these changes are common and they’re not alone,” Patience Riley, a Licensed Professional Counsellor, tells Vanity Fair.
Seven in 10 women hide or downplay their symptoms. Seeking help is not always easy due to stigma surrounding perinatal mental illness as well as fear of looking like an incompetent mother and, at worst, their baby being taken away.
Wendy Davis, Executive Director at Postpartum Support International and global awareness organiser says, “Dedicating May as MMH awareness month and sharing global stories of recovery helps us share the information, connection, and resources that tells families that they are not alone and there is help available. We know that wellness is not just an absence of illness; it also includes connection with others who understand, access to informed support and treatment, and empowerment that comes from accurate information.”
V.F. spoke to eight women about what it is like to be pregnant and a first-time parent in different countries amid a global crisis.
Topic Discussed: Maternal Mental Health Matters: Pregnancy and Birth During the Pandemic
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