Moms Are Struggling with Their Mental Health…Here’s Why.

Mental Health. It seems like a hot topic right now, right? Everywhere you look, you’ll find a celebrity speaking out about their mental health struggles. A mom friend is on your timeline talking about her maternal mental health journey. There are even teens in high school who are struggling in the aftermath of online school.

With mental health being such a hot topic, why does it feel so taboo? Especially when it comes to moms? Why does it feel like no one wants moms to express their struggles with maternal mental health?

How Pregnancy Affected My Mental Health

Going through adulthood with depression and anxiety was difficult enough for me. I remember hoping and praying that my first baby would heal my brain and heal my heart. But being pregnant was a whole new level of anxiety for me. The worst-case scenario was on my mind constantly. I had not even heard of perinatal depression and completely ignored the signs of postpartum depression.

I became a master at hiding depression and anxiety throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Finally, I reached a breaking point after having my second daughter. I knew that I needed help with my mental health. Getting to that point of saying, “Yes, I’m struggling, and yes, I need help,” was one of the biggest reliefs for my heart.

Throughout pregnancy, women go to the doctor several times. These checkups ensure that mom and baby remain healthy, which is fantastic. But I cannot remember one single time I was asked about how I was feeling mentally during my pregnancy.

Then, I had my baby. Both of my girls were well taken care of in the hospital after birth. They were checked on multiple times and had a variety of tests done to make sure they were healthy. I was cared for physically for one full day after giving birth, then took my babies home after 1-2 days. I remember many doctor’s visits for both of my girls within just a few weeks of leaving the hospital. But what about me?

The Problem with Maternal Healthcare

After 9 months of pregnancy, many hours in labor, 3-4 days in the hospital, and then another 6 weeks postpartum, someone finally asked how I was feeling mentally.

Why, as mothers, is our mental health not taken more seriously? Why do we get one questionnaire in the hospital – as most of us are sitting there in newborn bliss – and then one questionnaire 6 weeks later?

10% of mothers are suffering not only from prenatal depression and anxiety disorders but also postpartum depression and anxiety disorders. Why are we not taking more care of mothers’ mental health during and after pregnancy?

The Pressure of Motherhood

Moms are often expected to do it all – have a beautiful, happy pregnancy, then give birth to their perfect babies, “bounce back” within a few months, take care of other children if they have them, not work outside the home but also still work to help support their families, keep a clean house while also giving their undivided attention to their babies, make sure their spouse is also taken care of because they’re the one working outside the home – all with a smile on our faces and a baby on our hip. The list is never-ending.

Moms have so much pressure put on them to not only live this idyllic, blissful life with their children but also do it happily without complaining. It’s no wonder that so many women suffer with their mental health.

As a mom who has struggled for many years with anxiety and depression – not just in pregnancy and postpartum – I love seeing women who are finally speaking up. Women who are saying, “Hey, this mom thing is beautiful and wonderful, but it is hard, and I am struggling.” I love seeing women who are no longer quiet about their mental health. They also recognize the need to use their voices to empower and encourage other moms to speak up and get help.

Can we please, as a society, allow moms to express their hurt, struggles, and feelings without being told to “stop complaining”? Let’s allow mothers the space to express these things without being told that their feelings are not valid because they chose motherhood. Because yes, we do choose motherhood—even knowing the toll it can take on our mental well-being—because we love these little humans more than anything.

My Biggest Takeaway

One of my biggest takeaways as a mother who does have anxiety and depression is that speaking up helps. Seeing women on my feeds on social media using their voices helped me significantly on my road to seeking help and recovery. And if my voice helps empower even one mom to speak up and advocate for her own mental health, then I am happy.

I’m a mom of two beautiful girls. I work full-time from home. I will forever cherish this life I have, and this time, I get to not only take care of my girls but also work for a ministry that I am so passionate about. But… I also have anxiety and depression.

To that mom who has a story like mine or is having a hard time speaking up: please, do not give up. You are not alone. You are a wonderful mother and were chosen to be the mom that your children need. Be kinder to yourself and advocate for your mental health.

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