Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week
This week sees the return of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week bringing attention to pre-natal and post-natal mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and PTSD..
Having a baby is a major life changing event and you can suddenly feel overwhelmed with the arrival of this new little person who is completely dependent upon you. Also, having a baby can often leave you feeling alienated and alone especially if you are the only one in your social circle to have a new baby. Factor in the sleepless nights that most parents have to contend with, perhaps a colicky baby or the pressure to return to a 'normal life' as soon as possible and it can leave you feeling exhausted and vulnerable.
It is so important to receive support during this important time in your life. A lack of support can lead mums being susceptible to one of the above maternal mental health conditions.
Happy Sleepy Baby is all about supporting mums during this perinatal period. Research has shown that bonding activities such as baby massage and baby yoga provide parents with many benefits that help post-natal depression, anxiety, etc. Massaging your baby provides both parent and child with a rise in oxytocin which is the ‘love hormone’ that encourages bonding and love between the two of you. It also lowers cortisol which is the stress hormone. Most mums comment that they feel much more relaxed when they have attended a baby massage session.
During baby yoga sessions we use breathing techniques for parents at the end of our sessions which calm the central nervous system and reduces stress. Also the fun exercises release endorphins which help combat stress and known to help manage mental health conditions.
I feel so passionate about supporting mums during the most vulnerable time of their lives. My classes are now small groups to ensure that parents have the confidence to attend a group without having to face a large number of people in a new setting, making it easier to take that big step of attending a class if you suffer with anxiety, depression, etc.
My baby massage and baby yoga classes are 4 weeks long. I feel it is important that parents attend a course for this long so you learn the techniques well and just as importantly you connect with other parents. Connection with others help you realise that you are not alone and more than likely another parent is feeling the same as you. I have also set up chat groups specifically for each class so that support for each other continues long after the 4 week course.
Please remember that if you are struggling after the birth of your child and suspect that you maybe suffering from a maternal mental health condition then please seek support without the fear of judgement. Help is available from:
PANDAS - http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk