Supporting the well-being of Mothers is something we all do, whether it’s being the friends and family support network, the health visitor or the midwife, and / or the amazing staff working in pregnancy and early years. Here we have some top tips from coach Arabella from Ascending Motherhood who attended Baby Week Leeds 2021.
Looking after a new-born and raising a child is a joyous experience but it is also a monumental task which draws upon significant emotional effort and personal resources. It is demanding on your energy and patience, often when your sleep is compromised, and the challenges faced can prompt us to reflect and question whether we are doing the right thing.
At Ascending Motherhood, I coach and support mothers to navigate the challenges of life with a baby or child. Having the space to air specific issues and talk through how they feel proves invaluable, enabling women to find the right strategies to change situations or to think differently. In my sessions I help mothers explore why they feel the way they do and how they can take positive steps to make lasting change to improve their well-being.
I often hear women describing the pressures and feelings they have as mothers, questioning what type of mother they want to be. Pressures such as, managing other people’s opinions and the feeling that ‘there is little time for me’. However, there are steps we can take to counter these issues and protect our own well-being. We can ask ourselves why it is a problem and whether we need to change something in our lives or change the way we think about the issue. Then we can create a plan and take action, for example:
1) Take a walk, read a book, or do a pastime even for a few minutes can be valuable ‘me time’ helping you rejuvenate. The scientific evidence is clear being active and out in nature can have a real positive impact on our well-being.
2) Having a routine is useful but allow it to flex to your baby’s or child’s needs so that you can feel relaxed and not pressured to do things in exactly the way and timeframe you expected.
3) Stay connected to friends and family but remember you can pick and choose what advice or information is helpful for you. You don’t have to take on board everything that everyone says.
4) Take it slow and enjoy being in the moment with your child. Your attention to him/her and their world, where the simplest of things are fascinating will remind you that you are doing just fine, and you can enjoy and share their curiosity.
5) Choose who you follow on social media and ask yourself if it is helpful for you. Evidence is mixed but it can be associated with worsening mood so balance screen time with other meaningful things in life.
For those in a position to support others there are simple things we can do that can make a real difference.
1) Listen to a mother – each phase of motherhood brings new challenges so just by asking how someone is, offering a chance to talk then sitting and listing, this can make a real positive impact.
2) Share experiences, it’s not a competition but it can be reassuring to know others have been through similar experiences. It helps mothers to not feel alone but also the lighter side of stories can bring laugher to a situation.
It is sadly the case that suicide remains the leading cause of direct maternal death in the year after pregnancy so it is vital women receive the support they need, if you have concerns for yourself or someone else you can find out the best sources of support by visiting the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.
It is important that mothers feel they can take the necessary steps to support themselves. Equally those surrounding them are reminded they can reach out a friendly hand to support each other for a happier journey through motherhood.
If you wish to find out more about my services or want to make contact visit Ascending Motherhood for more details.