Becoming a new mum is a huge life event that can be both emotionally rewarding and challenging. Perinatal mental health issues affect up to 20 per cent of new and expectant Mums and here at CPSL Mind we offer essential support for those affected.
Mums Matter is an eight-week group course designed for Mums who are experiencing mental health challenges in pregnancy or within the first two years of becoming a parent. Getting help at the right time can make a massive difference as shown by the story of one of our Mums.
After struggling to bond with her first child following a difficult labour and significant health problems in her second pregnancy, she began to experience increased anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Many of her loved ones had no idea she felt suicidal, “after a while I told my husband” she says “but it was hard to admit things we’re that bad. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure to be coping when you’re a Mum so it’s hard when you feel like you’re not. I tried to access help before coming to CPSL Mind but felt quite judged which in some ways made me feel worse.”
“I was at my lowest before coming to CPSL Mind, feeling scared and not knowing where to turn. My initial assessment was a real turning point for me, it felt like she really wanted to understand what I was going through and I didn’t feel judged.”
Our Mum admits that attending the first Mums Matter group session was hard and recognises “other Mums probably feel scared about attending”. She says, “I was really anxious during my first session but always felt supported and by the end I was really glad I came. Without the support I had from CPSL Mind I don’t know where I’d be”.
Throughout her time on Mums Matter she learnt lots of techniques to manage her wellbeing which she still uses today. She says, “I learnt lots of ways to manage my mental health day-to-day including breathing exercises, recognising achievements, not thinking too far ahead and doing things for myself like reading and swimming. Connecting with other Mums in the group was also really helpful and made me see that I am not alone.”
A key part of our Mum attending the Mums Matter sessions was that she was able to bring her children to the group with her. She says, “I was able to bring my boys to the group and that accessibility for Mums is really important.
“Having my boys has been the best thing I’ve done with my life, but it has also been very hard at times and from going to the group I’ve learnt it’s okay to admit that. I would encourage any mum who is struggling with her mental health to come to the Mums Matter groups, it really helped me. I haven’t had suicidal thoughts for a long time now and I am in a much better place”.
Our Mum is continuing to use the self-help techniques that she learnt during the sessions and is now attending a peer support group for Mums to maintain the connections she has made.
If you’d like to attend please visit cpslmind.org.uk/perinatal-service/