Next week is maternal mental health matters week. A chance to raise awareness of the importance of maternal mental health and the wonderful support and resources that are available. It’s so good to see mental health being talked increasingly in the media- as one of those unseen things in life it is crucial as so much of it is hidden.
Motherhood is amazing, hard, beautiful, difficult and such a mixture of emotions and experiences. We are needed, filled with love and our identity can be questioned as we transition into a new role or add children to the family. Life can just be busy- with good, normal, everyday things.
When I look back to the seasons when I felt most overwhelmed by motherhood, the thing I needed most (but didn’t realise) was to take a little bit of time regularly to process and reflect. Instead, all the struggles, thoughts, joys, expectations and confusions were stored in my head for later, quickly becoming as overwhelming as all the needs in front of me. Because I wasn’t allowing myself enough reflection or processing time I was completely unaware of my own struggles with postnatal depression. Only in retrospect when I finally realised what was going on, the darkness I was in, could I realise that I had already walked through this before. When we allow daily life and all the things that need doing to take over, it is easy for our being to become consumed and confused.
Sometimes we need to take five.
It is easy for us to spend twenty minutes scrolling social media, an hour watching tv, and mindlessly switching off, but it can be so hard to allow ourselves some real time out. It is hard to give ourselves permission to truly rest, refresh or to know what that even looks like. I found that doing a little bit at a time made a huge difference to my mental wellbeing. Being better aware of my joys and challenges, my thoughts and things I was learning took me step by step into a lighter place. I just wish I had given myself the same time and breathing room when I first became a mother.
Going through those overwhelming seasons and realising that I hadn’t allowed myself the mental space to process motherhood or reflect on my mental health is what prompted me to make The Mama Book. It gave me permission, a place and prompts to give myself those five minutes on a daily basis and save everything from getting caught up in my head. It daily gives me a way to take a bit of time to take stock and prioritise my mental wellbeing.
So to help raise awareness of maternal mental health and the importance of spending time processing life and motherhood we will be launching the #mamatakesfive initiative.
The idea is simple-
- Take five minutes in your day for yourself. Whether that is lying on your bed in silence, doing something that fills you up or spending some time writing down your highs and lows from the day. Something that gives you a five minute mental break.
- Post a photo of your five minutes on social media. It can be your face or what you’re doing.
- Use the #mamatakesfive hashtag and encourage others to join in with taking five minutes out of their day. You can also use #maternalMHmatters to join in the week’s hashtag.
You can choose to post your five minutes each day during the week, or any time when you are taking some time our to refresh and regroup to encourage other mamas to be honest with their own mental health and take five.
The tide of mental health conversation is changing. There is no shame, no need to hide or assume. We spend so much time taking care of our bodies with food, clothing, exercise, showering, and we need to take care of our minds too. We are whole people, mothers who need to take care of our selves and our own mental health for our own sake and for the sake of all those who we love around us and their wellbeing. So go and take five.