This week is World Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. The aim is to raise awareness of maternal mental health issues and to promote the help and support that is available for those who require it.
Pregnancy and the period after birth can be particularly challenging and now, more than ever, it is normal to feel extra stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or upset.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised worldwide that 15.6% of pregnant women and 19.8% of women who have just given birth experience challenges in relation to mental health.
It is important to be prepared and equipped to try and face these added stresses and what better way to do so than with the aid of a ‘TOOLBOX’.
Our INFANT clinical psychologists Leanna Fogarty and Dr. Margaret O’Rourke have put together a quick summary of the essential tools that you need in your toolbox!
Tools for you Toolbox
Tool 1: GROUNDING: Try to ground yourself by becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings. Slow them down and try and connect with your body by relaxing and breathing. Refocus and engage with the world around you.
Tool 2: UNHOOKING: The main aim is to try and unhook yourself from unhelpful and intrusive thoughts. NOTICE that a difficult thought or feeling has hooked you. Realise that you are distracted by a difficult thought or feeling, and notice it with curiosity. NAME the difficult thought or feeling, then, REFOCUS on what you are doing.
Tool 3: ACTING ON YOUR VALUES: Choose the values that are most important to you. You and only you can decide which values are most important to you! Then pick one small way that you can act according to these values? What will you do? What will you say? Even tiny actions matter!
Tool 4: BEING KIND : Everyone is in this together, you most importantly, realise this and respond with kindness. Unhook from unkind thoughts by noticing and naming these. Being kind to yourself will help to give you energy, motivation and positivity to help others.
Tool 5: MAKING ROOM: The aim here is to push out all those negative thoughts and feelings. This is very difficult to master, but with time and practice and the right tools you can accomplish this. Instead of fighting with the thought or feeling, allow it to move through you, acknowledge it and move on.