50% of mothers struggle with anxiety and low mood
New magazine Motherdom launches to provide much-needed support
Over half (54%) of mums with children aged five and under have been struggling with anxiety since having a child, 45% have felt low, and over a third (35%) depressed, according to research commissioned by new mental wellbeing magazine Motherdom, launching on Mother’s Day (31st March).
Many are dealing with problems alone. One in five (20%) of those polled have not told anyone about their feelings, a quarter (25%) of whom just don’t feel able to. Well over half (59%) do not feel supported by their family with 45% saying they have to deal with everything alone, and one in five (22%) thinking they would appear weak if they asked for help.
The research also shows that 16% of mothers polled have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, and an additional one in 10 (10%) were not diagnosed but felt they should have been.
Former BBC journalist Anna Ceesay (33) experienced anxiety and low mood that left her unable to cope when she was pregnant with her second child. On Mother’s Day, she is launching Motherdom, a new mental wellbeing magazine for parents of little ones, drawing on her personal experiences and advice from a host of leading experts and other mums. She says:
“It’s clear that a shocking number of mums are struggling with anxiety and low mood. Worse still, many are facing these challenges alone. I was eight months pregnant when I started to feel anxious and low. I hid it very well from everyone around me. I didn’t tell anyone – not even my husband or parents.
“I called a charity helpline, then saw my GP and was fast-tracked to receive CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) with a perinatal psychotherapist. I was really lucky to get the care I needed. I remember how alone and scared I felt. As well as seeking professional help, there are things that we, as parents, can do to look after our mental health. Sharing how you feel is the first and most important step. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s the strongest thing you can do. You are not alone.”
The research also shows that only a quarter (24%) of mothers polled say they have a good support system around them to help deal with mental health issues. And two in five (40%) believe there needs to be more mental health support for new parents.
Dr Emma Svanberg, a Perinatal Clinical Psychologist with 10 years’ experience says:
“It is sad that so many mums struggle in silence. For some, it’s the fear of telling people how they feel. For others, it’s not having traditional support in place. Modern life means we’re often so separate from our families that new mums can feel very lonely. With sleep deprivation added to the mix, it can be a difficult time.
“We all know the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – and it’s true. It doesn’t have to be an actual village, it can be virtual, but it’s important to have a group of people around you when things get tough. That’s why spaces like Motherdom are so needed. Not only does it provide tools for improving mental wellbeing, but also space where we can talk openly about how we feel, which is so vital.”
Dr Rebecca Moore, a Perinatal Psychiatrist with 20 years’ experience adds:
“It’s important to go to your GP. But the first step is to pick the person you feel most able to speak with, and just start the conversation. If you can’t say it, it can be helpful to write it down. And some women find it easier to share on social media, where they can be anonymous and speak with peers about how they are feeling. The thing to remember is that there is a lot of support out there, and it’s about doing what’s right for you.”
Motherdom is a new quarterly magazine for parents with kids under five who want to maintain positive mental wellbeing. Issue one on the theme of ‘You’re not alone’ is packed full of interviews with healthcare and wellbeing experts, entrepreneurs, influencers and parents with a ‘lived experience’ of mental ill-health. It also includes lifestyle features like mindfulness activities for parents and kids, healthy (yet easy) recipes, and physical exercises you can do at home.
“I came out of my experience with maternal mental ill-health feeling much better. I’m not ‘cured’, but now I have the tools to understand my mind a bit more. I know what to look out for if I start to struggle with anxiety or low mood. I realised there were plenty of parenting sites as well as general wellbeing and mental health magazines, but nothing in the mainstream market that combined these two things. That’s when the idea for Motherdom came to me. It’s a space where mums and dads can talk openly about how they feel. Not just for those people who identify with having a mental health issue, but for any parent with kids under five who wants to look after their mental wellbeing.”
Motherdom is available in print (£3.99 plus postage) or through the Motherdom app (£1.99). You can get a year’s subscription to the magazine for £12 or the app for £5.99.
Visit www.motherdom.co.uk to order your copy or subscribe.
Follow @motherdom_mag on Instagram #WeAreMotherdom.
Where to go for help and support
PANDAS Foundation gives support to people coping with Pre and Postnatal Mental Illnesses, as well as their families, friends and carers. You can call PANDAS on 0843 28 98 401. The helpline is open every day from 9am-8pm. PANDAS’ dedicated volunteer team are on hand to offer support, advice and can help to signpost to other organisations if necessary. For more info please visit http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/helpline/
If you need support, please speak to your GP or another healthcare professional within or outside of the NHS. If you are seeking help outside of the NHS, make sure that you see someone registered with an appropriate professional body. There is also lots of information available online via MIND or NHS Moodzone.
If you are feeling in crisis, please speak to your GP, or you can call the Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123. In an emergency, please visit A&E.