Pregnancy and Mental Health
Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!
May is the month for mental health, and as the month comes to a close I can't help but think that with all of the chaos this last year has brought there's never been a more important time to check in with yourself! So let's check-in together. How are you? How have you been? And, maybe most importantly, what have you done to help support yourself and your mental health lately?
These questions, though incredibly simple in and of themselves, can be ridiculously difficult to answer! Take it from a professional bottle-upper, emotions can be tricky! Mental health is something that tends to get tossed to the wayside unless we're in crisis, but crisis isn't the only time you need to prioritize it! Just as you'd go in for a routine physical or dental appointment to take care of your PHYSICAL health, you should also be making sure your MENTAL health is up to snuff. Luckily, though mental health has had a tendency to be overlooked in the past, there has been a rising interest in mental health awareness, especially after this past year.
Mental health awareness month began way back in 1949, made official by the Mental Health America organization whose founder, Clifford Whittingham Beers, had extensive experience within the mental health field throughout his life both personally and through his family members, all of whom suffered from varying mental health disorders. His experiences shed light on how grossly overlooked and mistreated the mental health field was and can still be, and ultimately drove him to work towards change, lead to his organization, and to his book "A Mind That Found Itself".
How does all of this tie into pregnancy? Mental health plays a huge role in everyone’s day-to-day lives, and this is incredibly present both during pregnancy and after! The thing is... we all hear about the main mental health concerns post-pregnancy. Baby blues, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety. We know of these and, whether or not we think we'll suffer from them, we know to look out for them. But what about DURING pregnancy?
The overwhelming majority of information we receive during pregnancy is about how beautiful the process is. We see mamas to be and hear about their excitement, their joy, their overwhelming sense of connection and love they feel towards their baby-to-be. But the reality is that this rose-colored picture of the perfect, joyous pregnancy that you're "supposed" to experience, isn't what all mothers experience. And if your pregnancy isn't looking or feeling like the happy, joy-filled time you might have expected...there's NOTHING wrong with that or with you. In fact, there have been recent studies that point to nearly 20% of pregnant women contending with some form of mood or anxiety disorder. And honestly? Pregnancy is HARD!
As a pregnant woman, you have to deal with a lot. There are so many unknown factors, you don't know what your morning sickness might look like, how tired you'll be, what your new routine might look like including everything from what you should/shouldn't eat to what skincare ingredients you might want to avoid, you're creating a whole other human being! All of this can weigh heavily on anyone, and stress can run HIGH.
The very simple takeaway from all of this is that it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be stressed, feel sad, feel depressed, or overwhelmed whether it's surrounding your pregnancy or otherwise. And above all, it's okay to get help! If you're pregnant, talk to your doctor about how you're feeling. By taking a moment to simply check in with ourselves and those we love we can help improve and maintain our mental health. There is no shame in needing or wanting help, there is no shame in looking out for your mental health.
For more resources on mental health and pregnancy check out some resources we've gathered for you below. ♥️
American Hospital Association - Mental Health Awareness Month
National Alliance on Mental Illness