I recently reached out to my community via @luella.and.rose to ask for help gathering information regarding to maternal mental health, specifically from the group of women who feel as though their experiences are going unsupported, unrecognised or invalidated. The drive to support this group of women stems from my own battle with anxiety and panic. I felt completely unprepared for the hormonal, psychological and emotional changes following becoming a mother, and while I was unwell, I was not unwell enough to warrant specialist care – apart from access to an online tool. Admittedly, it was thoughtfully created, however what I wanted was a more holistic, comprehensive, and person-centred package of care. After an enormously positive response to my post on Instagram, I decided to create a short questionnaire in order to streamline this process of sharing and make it less anxiety-provoking. Here are the questions that I am hoping to have answered. If they feel relevant to you, please email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact page. ALL RESPONSES AND COMMUNICATION ARE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. Thank you so much for your time!
- Have you sought professional help for your mental health? If so, who did you approach and what was the outcome?
- Do you have any previous experience with mental ill health (it doesn’t have to be formally diagnosed) that predates pregnancy and motherhood?
- What is your support system like? Do you have someone to talk to? Please consider non face-to-face support, such as online/social media.
- Did you feel prepared for any emotional changes you experienced during or after pregnancy? For example, did your midwife speak with you about depression, anxiety, or adjustment challenges? Please specify if you felt any were NOT addressed, or not addressed adequately.
- Did you receive any mental health support or practical advice during pregnancy, such as coping tips or tools, as well as references/resources to acquire further information? If so, who provided these to you, what were they, and have they proven helpful?
- Is there anything else that you would like to share or which you feel is significant?
What am I going to do with this information? Well, ultimately, I would like to collate your responses and share them with one of my contacts who (among other things) carries out maternal mental health research and whom is championing more support for women who fall into the (currently underserved) sub-threshold for care. I have previously discussed collaborating with him on research which would enable us to identify themes, with the end goal being to inform policy, however I know that the logistics and realities of this are complex and lengthy. I have decided to put together a free ebook utilising this information as well as my training in mental health nursing (+ contacts obtained through it) as well as my experiences of mothering with anxiety.
What do you think of the idea of an ebook? Is there anything in particular that you think ought to be included?
*Note: if you would like me to email you these questions please send me a message via the contact page.
**Image is completely unrelated (but beautiful!) however, I don’t know it’s source. Please let me know if you know it.